It was confirmed earlier in the month that Major League Baseball decided to trim this year's draft from 40 to five rounds amid the coronavirus crisis. A 10-round showcase was negotiated by the players' union, but both sides were unable to reach an agreement.
While numerous teams will feel screwed by the settlement, the Kansas City Royals, who are in the midst of a rebuild, should be able to bolster their farm system. The club holds a total of six selections, including two in the first round: No. 4 and No. 32 overall.
Here are three players that Royals fans should keep an eye on as we inch closer to the June 10-11 event.
3. OF Zac Veen (Spruce Lake HS)
Zac Veen is projected to be a top 10 pick, and he could go as high as No. 4 overall. Heck, we wouldn't be surprised if some clubs rate him higher than that. The Florida native is all the rage among Royals fans on Twitter, so don't be surprised if GM Dayton Moore is buying into the hype with the Draft a little less than two weeks way. Not only is Veen just as comfortable in the outfield as he is at first base, but he's also a proven contact hitter and will only develop more power as the years go on.
2. RHP Emerson Hancock (Georgia)
At one point in time, draft scouts tabbed Emerson Hancock as the potential No. 1 overall pick. However, he did little to boost his stock in his outings before COVID-19 prompted the NCAA to cancel the season. Across four starts, the Georgia star posted a 3.75 ERA while surrendering 22 hits in 24 innings of work. Where Hancock did improve was the strikeout department -- he fanned 34 batters to give him a solid K/9 ratio of 12.75. At 6-4, the former Bulldog is everything that a club should want in a pitching prospect. The Royals would be wise to nab him if he's still available.
1. INF Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State)
Royals fans should be loving the prospect of deploying Adalberto Mondesi and Nick Gonzales as their middle infield of the future. The latter was an absolute beast as a sophomore for New Mexico State. He led Division I in hitting with a .432 average, ranked second in OPS (1.305) third in slugging percentage (.773) and fifth in OBP (.532). The Cape Cod League is nothing to write home about, but it's not often that a player threatens to hoist its Triple Crown. Kansas City should absolutely target Gonzales with the No. 4 overall pick.