Thirty teams took several hours Saturday to complete the final 30 rounds of the baseball draft, and backstories abound among the blur of names.
Names like Nathan Webb, the Royals’ 34th round selection from Lee’s Summit North High School. Safe to say he is the only member of the draft class who already has been presented with a World Series ring from the team.
That’s right, Webb, a right-handed pitcher, is one of four members of his high school team who works on the Royals’ grounds crew. The crew received rings.
“More than a replica,” said Lee’s Summit North baseball coach Mike Westacott. “They were really nice.”
Webb, who signed with Central Missouri, also played quarterback for the Broncos.
The Royals made Taylor Kaczmarek, a right-handed pitcher from the University of San Diego, their 40th round selection and final pick — for the second time.
After a junior college career in Phoenix, Kaczmarek passed on the Royals’ offer in 2012. Only days earlier he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and was hospitalized for a month.
A year later and with the cancer in remission, Kaczmarek enrolled at San Diego. The illness cost him his 2013 and 2014 seasons.
This spring, Kaczmarek struck out 31 and issued eight walks in 42 2/3 innings in 18 appearances — mostly in relief — for the Toreros.
“He challenged (cancer) and beat it,” Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said. “We told him we were excited about giving him another chance.”