MLB Mock Draft 2020: Kansas City Royals

Hancock pitching at Georgia.

The 2020 MLB Draft will take place on June 10th and 11th. However, this will not be like any ordinary MLB Draft. Usually the draft has 40 rounds. But this years draft will only be 5 rounds. This plan allows teams to sign an unlimited amount of undrafted players for $20,000 each. The Kansas City Royals have a total of 6 picks in this years draft. (Picks 4, 32, 41, 77, 105, and 135.)

The Royals went heavy pitching two years ago in the 2018 MLB Draft, selecting Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, and Daniel Lynch. In the 2019 MLB Draft, they selected SS Bobby Witt Jr. with the second overall pick. This year has lots of good prospects and here is how I see the Royals drafting this year.

Round 1, Pick 4 : RHP Emerson Hancock, Georgia.

Hancock pitching for Georgia in 2019.

Emerson Hancock is one of the best pitching prospects out of this years 2020 class. The 6-foot-4, 215 lb. right hander from Georgia, Hancock presents the same four pitch mix as Texas A&M SP Asa Lacy (fastball, slider, curveball, changeup) with less electricity but more command and polish. He has a mid-90s fastball that goes well with his slider and curveball. During his sophomore season at the University of Georgia, he went 8–3 in 14 starts with a 1.99 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 90.1 innings. Before the 2020 season was cancelled, Hancock went 2-0 in 4 starts with a 3.75 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 24 innings.

Round 2, Pick 32 – RHP Max Meyer, Minnesota

Max Meyer pitching at Minnesota.

Max Meyer fastball tickles around 100mph and has a very good sweeping slider in his arsenal. He was voted First-Team Preseason All-American as two-way player as he played a little bit of outfield at the University of Minnesota. In 2018, Meyer was the Golden Gophers closer and had 16 saves with a 2-3 record and a 2.27 ERA. In 2019, he became their opening day starter and was even more impressive. He went 5-3 with a 2.11 ERA in 76.2 innings. He is a great competitor. However, that could also be a weakness for him because he always wants to strikeout hitters.

“He’s a fierce competitor,” Minnesota coach John Anderson said. “I think that’s his greatest strength and weakness. I think sometimes it gets in the way because he doesn’t want anybody to hit the ball sometimes.”

Round 2, Pick 41 – OF Robert Hassell, Independence High School (Tennessee)

Robert Hassell at All-American baseball game.

Finally, the Royals pick someone other than a pitcher and select OF Robert Hassell. Hassell mostly plays CF but has played all of the outfield positions throughout high-school. Standing 6-foot-2 190 pounds, Hassell hits and throws left-handed. He also recently performed well in an international tournament for players under 18. The bat doesn’t sound like a serious concern yet, and he seems to have a advanced approach. Hassell is a verbal commit to the University of Vanderbilt.

Round 3, Pick 77 – RHP Kyle Nicolas, Ball State

Kyle Nicolas pitching.

Kyle Nicolas pitched 3 years at Ball State University where he has bounced around from starting and coming out of the bullpen. Over these 3 years, Nicolas went 4-7 with a 5.12 ERA in 43 games. In 2019, he ranked 6th in the MAC with 82 strikeouts, fanning 13.34 per 9 innings. Nicolas watched Ball State’s No. 1 pitcher Drey Jameson enhance his draft stock, despite the pressure of pitching in front of a plethora of scouts every start. Nicolas believes watching Jameson, who was a first-round pick, go through the draft process last year has prepared him to handle the attention.

Round 4, Pick 105 – SS Zavier Warren, Central Michigan

Zavier Warren fielding a ground ball.

Zavier Warren was a sight to see at the plate at the University of Central Michigan. Durinig his freshman season in 2018, he hit .277 with 26 RBI’s and 36 runs scored in 52 games. However, his sophomore year in 2019 was one to remember, hitting .369 with 73 runs scored, 23 doubles, 8 home runs, 70 RBI, 14 stolen bases, and a .502 OBP. Warren also led the MAC in on-base percentage (.502), runs (73), doubles (23) and walks (54). He also played catcher a few times so that tells you how strong of an arm Warren has. He is also a switch-hitter which makes him an even more exciting prospect.

Round 5, Pick 135 – 3B Jordan Walker, Decatur High School (Georgia)

Walker running the bases.

Jordan Walker is a verbal commit to Duke University. He stands at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds and is a very accomplished player at Decatur High School. During his junior year, he batted .519 with 17 home runs, 60 RBI, 43 runs scored and 24 stolen bases on his way to being named 2019 Region 6AAAAA Offensive Player of the Year. He participated in the 2019 Perfect Game All-American Classic, which was held at Petco Park—home of the San Diego Padres—in August 2019. He also competed in the Major League Baseball High School All-Star Game, while also taking part in the All-Star home run derby.

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