Sometimes, it works out perfect.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
The Royals wanted an advanced college pitcher Monday in Major League Baseballs First-Year Player Draft and, picking fifth, got exactly the guy they wanted in University of San Francisco right-hander Kyle Zimmer.
He was the No. 1 pitcher on our board, scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said. I think its important that everybody know that. He was our guy. He was the guy we wanted, the guy we targeted.
We were real fortunate, real happy and real lucky that he was there.
Zimmer, 20, zoomed up draft boards this spring before tailing off late after suffering a strained hamstring. Scouts say he possesses clean mechanics and two plus pitches a fastball, which touches 99 mph, and curveball. His changeup shows potential.
I feel like I command all of my pitches pretty well, Zimmer said. I feel like my curveball is an out pitch, and I feel like I do a really good job of staying on top of my fastball and moving it to both sides of the plate.
I feel like my changeup is a good pitch. But like any other pitcher at this level, I think youve got to polish off all of your pitches. Youve got to be consistent every time you go out on the mound.
Baseball America reports Zimmer has a businesslike approach on the mound and pitches with a bit of a mean streak, which scouts love. (His) athleticism also helps him on the mound. He repeats his delivery well and fields his position like an extra infielder.
Houston opened the draft by surprising most observers in selecting high school shortstop from Carlos Correa from Puerto Rico. Minnesota followed by taking outfielder Bryon Buxton, a high school senior from Baxley, Ga.
Seattle selected catcher Mike Zunino from the University of Florida with the third pick before Baltimore chose Louisiana State right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman, one of three college arms generally viewed as being in the drafts top tier of prospects.
That left the Royals with a choice between Zimmer and Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, whom many analysts expected to be one of the top two selections. The Royals preferred Zimmer, a converted third baseman.
Thats very important, Goldberg said. You know we try to get a lot of high school arms. We look at this as a fresh arm that hasnt had a lot of work. And he was a position player, so we know hes athletic.
The drafts first day consisted of only the first 60 selections the first round and the first compensation round (where teams received additional selections for losing qualified players last winter through free agency).
The second round starts at 11 this morning Central time via teleconference from Major League Baseballs corporate offices in New York. Todays selections will conclude with the 15th round. The draft concludes Wednesday with rounds 16 through 40.
This years draft is the first conducted since baseball overhauled the rules last winter as part of its new labor agreement. Club now operate with a hard cap on bonuses covering all picks through the first 10 rounds.
The new procedure sets a proscribed dollar amount for all picks through the first 10 rounds. The accumulative total for those picks is the clubs bonus pool.
Clubs may spend that amount in any manner as long as they dont exceed the total. The penalties for spending beyond the allotted pool range from penalty taxes on the overage to the loss of future picks.
The Royals have a bonus pool of $6,101,500 for their 10 picks through the first 10 rounds or roughly $1.4 million less than the franchise-record $7.5 million that outfielder Bubba Starling received last year as the fifth overall pick.
The slotted amount this year for Zimmer, as the fifth overall pick, is $3.5 million, although he and the Royals can reach agreement on any amount prior to the 4 p.m. signing deadline on July 13. (That deadline is also roughly a month earlier than previous years.)
For example: The Royals could sign Zimmer for, say, $4 million and not be subject to a penalty as long as they trim that $500,000 overage from the slotted amounts of other drafted players in the first 10 rounds.
They could also sign him for less than the slotted $3.5 million and use the extra amount on other players.
Just because our slot is $3.5 million, general manager Dayton Moore admitted, that doesnt mean were going to pay the fifth player in the country $3.5 million. We might pay more, or we might pay less.
There are two caveats to remember:
A club loses the slotted bonus for any player it fails to sign through the first 10 rounds. For example: the Royals fifth round pick is slotted for a $259,500 bonus. If he doesnt sign, the Royals lose that amount from their pool.
Bonus amounts exceeding $100,000 for any player selected after the 10th round count against a clubs pool total.
How the new system will play out is anybodys guess, but there is speculation that clubs might select college seniors, who have minimal negotiating leverage, in the eighth-through-10th rounds and underpay them to create greater flexibility with higher picks.
Were not going to try to beat the system, Moore said. Were going to work within the system. There certainly is a ceiling on the finances in this current CBA, but were going to continue to put the dollar sign on the player.
The Glasses (owner David Glass and club president Dan Glass) have shown and proven theyre willing to play for talent, and its our job to decide what the particular player is worth. Thats why were here. Thats what well continue to do.
To reach Bob Dutton, call 816-234-4352 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/Royals_Report.