The Kansas City Royals will enter the 2014 first-year player draft in an unfamiliar position for them. Their first pick of the draft will come as the 17th pick overall. The Royals have picked lower than eighth just once in the last nine years, according to Dick Kaegel of MLB.com. That pick, which was used to select Aaron Crow, came as the No. 12 choice in 2009.
It creates a different strategy for general manager Dayton Moore. He will have to be ready to adjust quickly before that first pick, as selections before him could greatly impact who the team targets. Who the team may target seems to be anyone’s guess.
The team can stick with their tendencies and draft pitching early on. That tendency is not always set in stone and they have targeted hitting. The current makeup of the team would suggest that a high-value hitter would not be unwelcome. Of course, the team can always take the path of least resistance and simply draft the best player available at the time, regardless of position.
There are three clear-cut possibilities for the Royals that fit into those three strategies.
Grant Holmes May Be the Pitcher of Choice
Grant Holmes may be the best pitcher available by the time the Royals pick in the first round. That said, the team could do much worse than Holmes as a first-round pick.
If the Royals decide that pitching should be a priority, Holmes will be an intriguing option. A powerful right-hander out of Conway High School in South Carolina, Holmes touches the mid-90s with his fastball. In addition, many scouts feel his curveball is his best pitch and he already has a changeup that is judged to be average to above-average depending on who you talk to.
It is not often that a high school pitcher comes to the draft with three good pitches. His command of his curveball and changeup will make him a very attractive option to many teams in the draft. If he remains available at the 17th pick, the Royals may not be able to resist spending their pick on him.