06/06/12 12:25 AM ET
Royals keep focus on pitching on Draft Day 2
Vanderbilt lefty Selman taken with second-round pick
By Vinnie Duber / MLB.com
The Royals selected five left-handed pitchers on Tuesday and picked eight pitchers overall, continuing the trend they started Monday when they selected pitcher Kyle Zimmer with the fifth overall pick.
Right out of the gate on Day 2, the Royals snapped up a pair of southpaws. The first was Vanderbilt junior Sam Selman -- nicknamed "Crazy Legs" -- and the Royals were happy to land him in the second round.
"Young, big arm, left-handed arm. We got to catch him in the SEC Tournament, threw the ball real well, 90-95 [mph], good breaking ball. We felt like he was a guy that started to come on late, started getting a chance to get some innings and feel like he was heading in the right direction," said Royals director of scouting Lonnie Goldberg.
"We didn't think he was going to make it very far on Day 2. We were lucky."
Kansas City followed up the Selman selection by taking Colin Rodgers, another lefty, out of Parkview Baptist School in Baton Rouge, La.
"We have real good reports on Colin," Goldberg said. "As a scouting staff, we scouted him pretty thoroughly. We were on him for about two years now. We get another young lefty in the system. He's polished. He's got a breaking ball. He's got good command. He's got a good delivery, an easy arm action. So we were pretty happy that he was there in the third round."
Come round No. 9, the Royals opted for another lefty in Daniel Stumpf, a junior from San Jacinto College. The Humble, Texas, native went 8-2 this season, posting an ERA of 2.27 over 111 innings pitched. A sophomore, he struck out 108 batters, a high for a team that finished as the national runner-up at the Junior College World Series.
The Royals spent picks Nos. 403 and 463 on high school left-handers Hunter Haynes and Dylan Sons, respectively. Sons attended Halifax County High School in South Boston, Va., while Haynes is from Mexico, Mo., about a two-hour drive from Kauffman Stadium.
"He happened to come out here for our pre-Draft workout. And our area scout, Scott Melvin, and cross-checker, Blake Davis, they did a great job with him. They got in and saw him early and then they backed off. They didn't want to draw attention to possibly going to see him," Goldberg said. "Got to meet the family, great family. He's a guy who we think is a projection lefty, real athletic, great attitude, great personality. He was real excited when we called him and told him that we were selecting him. We're kind of thrilled to have a young, upside lefty."
Projectable. Upside. Lefty. The words seemed to be on repeat. But the Royals certainly accomplished their goal of adding more southpaws on Day 2.
"Five left-handed pitchers. It's something we wanted to address, and we were able to get some, a couple after the 10th round that we think are young and projectable, athletic kids. Not your now-stuff guys, but you look up in three years," Goldberg said.
Here's a look at the day's other picks.
Kansas City selected its first position player in the fourth round by taking Stanford shortstop Kenny Diekroeger. A second-round selection of the Rays in 2009, Diekroeger hit .269 this season for the Cardinal. He's improved his fielding, making just nine errors on the infield this season after committing 32 in his first two years at Stanford.
The Royals' second high school pick of the day was catcher Chad Johnson out of Galesburg High School in Galesburg, Ill. Johnson is 6-foot-1 and weighs 180 pounds. He hit a home run in a game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis earlier this year.
Zach Lavvorn, a right-handed pitcher out of Oxford High School in Alabama, was the Royals' sixth-round selection. He shined in the National High School Invitational, pitching the team's third game of the tournament and throwing a two-hit shutout.
Kansas City stayed in state for its seventh-round pick, selecting outfielder Fred Ford out of Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Mo. The O'Fallon, Mo., native put up big numbers for the Vikings this season, hitting .432 with a .529 on-base percentage and a .746 slugging percentage. He hit 13 home runs and racked up 68 RBIs. The sophomore is 6-foot-5 and weighs 200 pounds.
In the eighth round, the Royals took Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado, a high school outfielder from Puerto Rico by way of Florida. He played high school ball at the Pendleton School in Bradenton, Fla.
With their 10th-round selection, the Royals opted for another high school outfielder from the Sunshine State. This time around they picked Alexis Rivera from the Montverde Academy in Kissimmee, Fla.
The Royals began the "speed rounds" by taking another pitcher, right-hander Zeb Sneed from Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho. The Twins Falls native went 7-4 this season with a 5.00 ERA. He struck out a team-high 61 batters but also led the Crusaders with nine home runs allowed and 16 hit batsmen.
In the 12th, Kansas City selected Jackson Willeford, a second baseman out of Ramona High School in Riverside, Calif. The left-handed hitter is committed to the University of Arizona.
In the 14th round, it was Parker Morin, a catcher from the University of Utah. The Park City, Utah, native hit .314 this season with a team-leading 35 RBIs. He struck out just 29 times in 220 at-bats.
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.