06/04/2002 2:01 pm ET
Royals choose right-hander Greinke
By Robert Falkoff / MLB.com
Royals round-by-round picks
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Royals continued to emphasize young
pitching Tuesday when they selected right-hander Zack Greinke of Apopka
(Fla.) High School in Orlando with the No. 6 pick in the 2002 First-Year Player
"He's strong and durable," said Royals' director of scouting Deric
Ladnier. "He has four pitches we feel like are plus pitches. His fastball
we've (clocked) up to 96 mph and he pitches comfortably from 92 to 93. He
has a plus slider that he can throw for strikes at any time. He's got a
curve that's above average and he can throw for strikes. And he's got a
Greinke, 18, went 9-2 with an 0.55 earned run average for Apopka this
year. He fanned 118 while walking just eight in 63.0 innings. Opponents
hit only .107 against him. Greinke was named the Gatorade National
Baseball Player of the Year.
Greinke said he celebrated with friends and family when the news came
that the Royals had taken him at No. 6.
"He's very aggressive," Ladnier said. "We feel he can get up here to
the Major Leagues in a hurry."
"I was hoping the Royals would pick me," Greinke said. "When it
happened, everyone over here, including myself, absolutely went ballistic. It
Greinke has the option of attending Clemson on a baseball
scholarship if negotiations with the Royals don't work out. But Greinke
said his preference is to make a quick deal and start playing pro ball as
soon as possible.
"All indications are this kid wants to get started with his career,"
Greinke is the eighth consecutive pitcher taken by the Royals in the
first round over the last six years. He is the third high school pitcher
drafted by the Royals since 1977, joining left-hander Mike Stodolka, who
was Kansas City's first-round pick in 2000 and right-hander Colt Griffin,
the Royals' first selection in 2001. Griffin received a $2.4 million deal
as the No. 9 overall selection.
Greinke also played shortstop and first base at Apopka. He hit 31
career home runs and had 144 RBIs while hitting .444 or better in each of
his four high school seasons.
"We feel like this guy has a high upside to be a No. 1 starter,"
Ladnier said. "He has the makeup for it. He has the pitches for it. He has
the durability and the athleticism. There's a lot to like about this young
Ladnier said Greinke was the second-rated player on Kansas City's
board, behind only shortstop B.J. Upton, who went No. 2 overall to the
"I said we were going to line them up according to ability," Ladnier
said. "This kid was someone we had targeted and wanted. I was sweating it
out, hoping he would get to us."
Greinke has long admired former Royal Bo Jackson and Greinke mentioned
he simply likes the idea of wearing Royal blue.
"That's my favorite color," he said. "All my clothes will match it."
Narrow, sloping shoulders. Compact delivery. Strong, clean arm action, works well out front. Throws easy. Good arm action and delivery. Fastball with tailing action, but there's more there. Tight slider with tilt and depth. Feel for change with sink. Player has come long way from thrower to pitcher. Excellent makeup.
Greinke showed the Royals something last weekend when he pitched in
the Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Classic. He didn't worry
that a poor performance might lower his draft ranking.
"Actually, he was advised not to go," Ladnier said. "He said 'it's an
honor to be selected.' That's kind of his mentality."
Greinke not only went to the All-Star Classic but turned some heads
once he got there.
"He faced some of the best hitters, some of the guys who are going
quickly in this draft," Ladnier said. "He completely dominated them."
Shortly after his selection, Greinke received a congratulatory call
from the Royals. But a contract was not discussed.
"We haven't talked about that yet," Greinke said. "'We've just said we
want to be treated fair, no matter where we're picked. I am prepared to go
to Clemson, but I'm hoping that I do end up going to pro ball."
Greinke, 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, was a do-everything player for
Apopka. He hit .480 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs as a senior.
"I actually think I could be a great catcher down the line," Greinke
said. "But my quickest future, most people think, is pitching. I feel that
way, too. I love to pitch."
The only problem Greinke has with pitching is that you're not in the
action every day. To cope with periods of inactivity, he has picked up
golf as a mental discipline aid.
For a while, Greinke thought his baseball future would be tied to
"On Sundays, me and my father would go to the baseball fields and
spend about three hours hitting and taking ground balls," Greinke said. "I
thought then my goal was to be a hitter, because I had spent so much time
working on it. But I always had the pitching ability."
Whereas last year's No. 1 pick Griffin was more of a raw talent, the
Royals see Greinke as a polished high school pitcher. That means his first
pro stop would likely be the short season Northwest League rather than the
Gulf Coast League.
"This guy can go to Spokane easily, even as a high school kid,"
Ladnier said. "He'll have no problem whatsoever competing and maybe doing
better than competing in Spokane. This guy is going to move quick. If we
can keep him healthy, keep his number of pitches down and do our job on
the developmental end of it, he's going to go quickly through our
organization. He just needs experience. "
'I was hoping the Royals would pick me. When it
happened, everyone over here, including myself, absolutely went ballistic.
It feels great.'
|-- ZACK GREINKE
Robert Falkoff covers the Royals for MLB.com. This story was not subject to
approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.
||ROYALS 2002 DRAFT PICKS
||DONALD Z GREINKE
||ADAM M DONACHIE
||DAVID C JENSEN
||BRIGHAM YOUNG U
||DANIEL J CHRISTENSEN
||DONALD R MURPHY
||ORANGE COAST COL
||BRANDON L JONES
||JONAH J BAYLISS
||KENARD K SPRINGER
||MATHEW D TUPMAN
||U MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL
||ALONZO G ATENCIO
||KAINOA E OBREY
||BRIGHAM YOUNG U
||ADAM P KEIM
||COASTAL CAROLINA U
||WILLIAM R MEYER
||TEXAS A&M U
||STEPHEN G CHAMBERLAIN
||MICAH K KAAIHUE
||ERIC C ACKERMAN
||JASON C BARTZ
||U SOUTH FLORIDA
||DONALD R POLES
||ALEX I CROOKS
||SIERRA VISTA HS
||NATHAN J ZETTLER
||STEVE F MENA
||SOUTH MIAMI HS
||NICHOLAS J BATES
||MICHIGAN ST U
||MICHAEL S AGUILAR
||CARLOS J CABALLERO
||INES MARIA MENDOZA
||JOSEPH N BROWN
||ROBERT F GRANA
||CC SOUTHERN NEVADA
||MICHAEL E HONCE
||CLINTON F JOHNSON
||MATTHEW L CASTILLO
||LEON B STEPHENS
||VIRGINIA ST U
||MOUNT CARMEL HS
||ERIC M LONNQUIST
||MINNESOTA ST U-MANKATO
||ROBERT T KIMMONS
||CHRISTOPHER C TURNER
||EL DORADO HS
||JASON L WARD
||UTAH VALLEY STATE JC
||JUSTIN R TAYLOR
||ERIC L HULLINGER
||DREW D ENDICOTT
||ODELL R COSBY
||DAVID A NELSON
||NORTH CAROLINA A&T U
||BRYAN S MCCAULLEY
||SAN JACINTO JC
||DEVAN E EWELL
||TY C WALLACE
||NEWMAN SMITH HS
||LENNY R BAYS
||NORTHERN KENTUCKY U
||LUIS A RIVERA