Need-based draft approach puts focus on catcher
Assistant general manager J.J. Picollo says the Royals are taking an NFL approach to baseball’s annual Rule 4 (new-player) draft, a 50-round marathon that begins tonight and runs through Wednesday.</p><p> say what?</p><p> “It’s going to be more need-based,” Picollo explained, “than high ceiling.”</p><p> Picollo is running the club’s draft operations for the second year, and his priorities explain why the Royals, with the fourth overall pick, sought to reach a provisional agreement with Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal.</p><p> Such an agreement appears to be in place.</p><p> Grandal, 21, fills the organization’s need for a fast-track catcher, which club officials contend makes him the best fit in a year when a can’t-miss prospect isn’t likely to be available.</p><p> “Look, he’s a guy who projects as a solid major-league prospect,” a scout with a rival organization said. “will he be a star? maybe, but probably not. But he’s a guy with advanced skills who could get to the big leagues in a hurry.</p><p> “our evaluation is he’ll be ready soon to play regularly and help a club. The problem with Grandal is he wants to be paid like (Matt) Wieters and (Buster) Posey. We don’t like him at that price.”</p><p> Posey received a $6.2 million signing bonus in 2008 from San Francisco as the fifth overall pick. Wieters got $6 million a year earlier from Baltimore as the No. 5 pick. </p><p> Grandal’s demands to be paid similarly sent his draft stock into a sharp decline because of signability concerns. That led to a willingness to discuss signing with the Royals for a bonus believed to be between $3 million and $4 million.</p><p> “He’s a guy we like,” one Royals official acknowledged. “He’s had a great year this year offensively. Catching, he’s been about the same for three years. He’s thrown fine. No concerns with his throwing at all.”</p><p> The draft begins at 6 tonight and will be carried live on MLB Network from its studios in Secaucus, N.J. Tonight’s action is limited to the first 50 picks: 32 in the first round and 18 compensation picks between the first and second rounds.</p><p> The Royals do not have a compensation pick, so they will make just one selection. The draft resumes at 11 a.m. Tuesday with the start of the second round.</p><p> Washington is expected to open proceedings by taking junior-college catcher Bryce Harper with the first overall pick. Pittsburgh and Baltimore follow and figure to select the draft’s two premier high school players: right-handed pitcher Jameson Taillon and shortstop Manny Machado.</p><p> The Pirates continue to debate whether they prefer Taillon or Machado, but the Orioles appear ready to grab whichever one remains available with the third pick. </p><p> most scouts see Harper and Taillon as can’t-miss talents. some include Machado in that group. The general consensus is everyone else grades out a notch (or more) lower.</p><p> “when you evaluate the talent pool as it sits today,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said, “I can see how people would view that. But it’s been proven time and time again that three years from now you’ll evaluate this draft a little differently.”</p><p> The Royals spent the last several days sifting candidates on the assumption that Harper, Taillon and Machado will not be available. they kept coming back to five college players:</p><p>•Grandal, 6 feet 2 and 210 pounds, Miami. Defense has always been solid, but his offense spiked this year when he switched his emphasis to a hit-to-all-fields approach.</p><p>•Left-handed pitcher Chris Sale, 6-6 and 172, Florida Gulf Coast University. Slender side-armer whom many scouts project as a situational reliever.</p><p>•Left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz, 6-5 and 235, Mississippi. A workhorse starter who generally tops out in projections as a No. 3 starter.</p><p>•Third baseman Zack Cox, 6-0 and 215, Arkansas. Generally viewed as the draft’s most-advanced bat but lack of speed and range prompt concerns.</p><p>•Outfielder Bryce Brentz, 6-0 and 185, Middle Tennessee. A streaky hitter who shows projectable power and sufficient skills to play all outfield positions.</p><p> The Royals’ emphasis was clear: they wanted a fast-track prospect who filled an organizational need, i.e., what Picollo called an “NFL-type” approach.</p><p> Consensus pointed to Grandal as the best fit — at the right price. Sale emerged as the preferred alternative, though internal discussions on all five players continued through the weekend.</p><p> “You have a small window of opportunity to win as a group,” Moore said, “and you want to get that player, or players, who are going to blend in.” </p><p><hr class=”infobox-hr-separator” /><div class=”infobox”><strong><span class=”subhead”>Baseball draft</span></strong></p><p><strong>•WHEN: </strong>Tonight through Wednesday. Tonight’s draft will comprise the first 50 picks.</p><p><strong>•TV: </strong>6 tonight on MLB Network</p><p></div><hr class=”infobox-hr-separator” /><div class=”infobox”><strong><span class=”subhead”>Major League Baseball draft order</span></strong></p><p><strong> first round</strong></p><p> 1. Washington, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. Baltimore, 4. Royals, 5. Cleveland, 6. Arizona, 7. new York Mets, 8. Houston, 9. San Diego, 10. Oakland.</p><p> 11. Toronto, 12. Cincinnati, 13. Chicago White Sox, 14. Milwaukee, 15. Texas (for failure to sign 2009 first-round pick Matt Purke), 16. Chicago Cubs, 17. Tampa Bay, 18. Los Angeles Angels (from Seattle for signing Chone Figgins), 19. Houston (from Detroit for signing José Valverde), 20. Boston (from Atlanta for signing Billy Wagner). </p><p>21. Minnesota, 22. Texas, 23. Florida, 24. San Francisco, 25. St. Louis, 26. Colorado, 27. Philadelphia, 28. Los Angeles Dodgers, 29. Los Angeles Angels (from Boston for signing John Lackey), 30. Los Angeles Angels, </p><p>31. Tampa Bay (for not signing 2009 first-round pick LeVon Washington), 32. new York Yankees.</p><p><strong> Supplemental first-round picks</strong></p><p> 33. Houston (Valverde), 34. Toronto (for losing Marco Scutaro, A, to Red Sox), 35. Atlanta (for losing Mike Gonzalez, A, to Orioles), 36. Boston (Wagner), 37. Los Angeles Angels (Figgins), 38. Toronto (for failure to sign 2009 sandwich-rounder James Paxton), 39. Boston (for losing Jason Bay, A, to new York Mets), 40. Los Angeles Angels (Lackey). 41. Toronto (for losing Rod Barajas, B, to new York Mets), 42. Tampa Bay (for losing Gregg Zaun, B, to Milwaukee), </p><p>43. Seattle (for losing Adrian Beltre, B, to Boston), Detroit (for losing Brandon Lyon, B, to Astros), 45. Texas (for losing Ivan Rodriguez, B, to Washington), 46. St. Louis (for losing mark DeRosa, B, to San Francisco), 47. Colorado (for losing Jason Marquis, B, to Washington), 48. Detroit (for losing Fernando Rodney, B, to Los Angeles Angels), 49. Texas (for losing Marlon Byrd, B, to Chicago Cubs), 50. St. Louis (for losing Joel Pineiro, B, to Los Angeles Angels).</p><p><strong>Note: </strong>Teams lose their first-round pick when they sign a Type-A free agent unless that pick falls in the top half of the first round. Those teams lose their second-round pick. Teams that sign multiple Type-A free agents lose multiple picks.</p><p> Teams gain two picks when they lose a Type-A free agent; a pick from the player’s new team and a supplemental pick. Teams that lose a Type-B free agent gain a supplemental pick.</p><p>Teams that fail to sign a first-round or supplemental pick get a pick in that same approximate place in the following year’s draft.</p><p></div>
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