The last two seasons the Royals have concentrated mostly on college players in the draft a strategy that definitely draws some mixed reviews among the fanbase. While in most seasons I wouldn't agree with that strategy either this season with a lack of talent I agree with taking college kids who are limited ceiling wise but cheaper and quicker to the big leagues for the most part. Two of the Royals Top 5 picks were High Schoolers and after reading info about both I must say I love the picks of Michael Antonio and Jason Adam. This week I luckily got a little more info into them by talking with a Royals insider on Antonio and Adam was nice enough to answer a few questions.
Jason Congratulations on getting drafted by the way it must be a huge thrill.
Were you watching the draft online when you got drafted?
My family and me were all huddled around the computer watching the draft and when we finally got that call it was incredible.
JJ Picollo stated that you and your family have a good relationship with the organization, were the Royals the leaders within your family for who you wanted to get drafted by?
The royals have been front runners in our minds because they are the hometown team and they have a great organization from top to bottom that we've been able to get very close to.
Being a local kid are the Royals your favorite team and if not who?
Yes definitely, I grew up watching them and going to their games.
What person has had the biggest influence on your pitching? When did you think you had a chance to get drafted out of High School?
My summer coach Jeremy Jones has helped me immensely these past years to improve my pitching and help me turn into a man. I didn't realize I was actually going to have this opportunity until right before my high school season when the attention really picked up.
As a Missouri commit will the rumors of the Big 12 possibly dissolving have any influence on your decision to sign a pro contract?
It doesn't really play a factor because it wont take effect until my junior year and I chose Missouri because I liked Mizzou not because I liked the big 12.
What do you think is your best pitch currently?
Probably my spotted fastball.
Finally what did you think of the scouting process and the draft process in general?
It has been very exciting and maybe a little stressful but I enjoyed every second of it.
Of all the Royals draftpicks the one that made people scratch their heads the most was the pick of Michael Antonio, a HS Shortstop from Manny Ramirez's Alma matter George Washington HS in New York. Antonio was projected to be picked anywhere from the late 3rd to 6th. His stock was said to be heading down going into the draft and to be honest I didn't know much about Antonio heading into the draft but after reading about him and checking out his swing on various sites I have to say I like the pick quite a bit. The kid has upside and almost seems like a poor mans Manny Machado in that he has a big growing frame at 6'3 190 where he possibly could grow out of the position of Shortstop but if everything went right could become a talent at the SS position that moves Colon over to second base eventually. A contact within the organization had this to say about Antonio:
Antonio is a strong, athletic kid but raw. He’ll need the full development time in the minors. He’s a dead fastball hitter and has a little difficulty recognizing off-speed stuff. Runs pretty well and is a solid defender…although he would get a little too cute/fancy from time to time in the field. I suspect that could be attributed to being a high school kid who’s the best player on his team. That attitude will probably go away once he’s around a bunch of players who are as good or better than him.
I can see him developing more power...that’s definitely a possibility. He has tremendous athleticism and upside if handled right and with patience.
In the end this draft didn't have the flash of Hosmer, Melville and Montgomery or the second 1st rounder like Myers but it has added some talent at the top end with the additions of Colon and Chapman while adding some upside potential in Eibner, Antonio and Adam. Hopefully like all drafts a diamond in the rough will be uncovered as well.