The Kansas City Royals crown logo, for an American League franchise born in 1969

Royals hit collegiate level talent with selections in 2020 draft

The Kansas City Royals selected a total of six players over five rounds in the 2020 Major League First-Year Players Draft, including the 4th overall selection, used on Texas A&M left-handed pitcher Asa Lacy.  The Royals are hoping that Lacy ends a streak of players taken by the franchise in that slot under-achieving in their pro career, with Christian Colon (2010), Mike Stodolka (2000), and Jeff Austin (1998) going 4th overall to KC in past selections.

The 21-year old Lacy becomes the highest drafted A&M player in the history of the draft, ahead of the #5 overall selection of Jeff Granger by the Royals in 1993.  As a junior with the Aggies, Lacy was sensational in limited action, with a 3-0 mark and 0.75 ERA, 46 strikeouts, eight walks, and an opponent batting average of .111.  He had four starts under his belt before the coronavirus outbreak slammed the season shut.

With the 32nd overall selection, the Royals, with a Competitive Balance Round A pick, chose Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin.  The 21-year old came into the spring season as the Big 12 Conference preseason player of the year selection by Baseball America, and was hitting .298 in 14 games before the suspension of the 2020 season.  As a sophomore last season, he hit .323 in 53 starts for the Bears, all at shortstop.

On the second day of the draft, Kansas City chose four more to complete the two-day process.  In the second round, with the #41 overall pick, KC went with right-handed pitcher Ben Hernandez of De La Salle Institute in Illinois, who was 4-2 as a junior, with a 1.81 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 45 innings.

With pick number #76, coming in Round 3, University of Alabama outfielder Tyler Gentry went to the Royals.  In the shortened 2020 season, Gentry hit .429 for the Crimson Tide, coming off a .310 average in his complete sophomore year, with 13 homers, 42 RBI’s, and 65 hits.

With the #105 pick, in Round 4, the Royals went back to pitching, taking Oregon State University southpaw Christian Chamberlain, who was 2-1 with a 0.82 ERA and 34 strikeouts in four starts with the Beavers early this spring.  He worked mostly as a reliever in his first two seasons in Corvallis, with 140 strikeouts in 105 innings.

With the #135 selection, coming in the fifth round, right-hander Will Klein went off the board to KC.  Klein is from Eastern Illinois University, where in four starts this spring, he was 1-2 with a 3.33 ERA and 33 strikeouts.  Last season, he was named the top pitcher in the Northwoods League by Baseball America, pitching for the Lakeshore franchise, earning All-Star honors with a 2-2 record and 0.86 ERA, with 38 strikeouts and seven saves.

University of Missouri right-hander Ian Bedell had a dream realized, selected in the fourth round by his favorite boyhood team, the St. Louis Cardinals.  The native of Davenport, Iowa made four starts for MU this spring, with a 2-2 mark and 3.70 ERA in 24 1/3 innings of work.  He was taken with the 122nd overall selection.

Peter Zimmerman of Mizzou was not selected in the draft, but quickly signed, following the selection process, with the American League champion Houston Astros.  By signing with the ‘Stros, Zimmerman is forgoing his senior season in Columbia with Missouri.

Zimmerman had four homers and 17 RBI’s in Missouri’s shortened 2020 season.  He likely would have been chosen in a typical 40 round MLB Draft, but the selections were shortened to just five rounds this year due to financial concerns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.