Royals to draft late, often on Thursday

Baseball’s draft day arrives Thursday, and for the first time in several years, the Royals will have to wait a while to make a selection.

The Royals pick 17th, a product of finishing with 86 victories last season. It marks the longest wait to make a first selection since 1995, when they picked 19th.

But with four picks in the first 56 slots, the Royals will be busy Thursday. They added another first-round slot, No. 28 overall, when they lost Ervin Santana in free agency to the Braves.

The Royals also have the 40th and 56th overall selections.

Could they go local?

Lee’s Summit West standout Monte Harrison is being projected as a late first-round selection by draft analysts. Harrison, an outfielder, has a football scholarship from Nebraska.

If that sounds familiar, it should. In 2011, the Royals made Gardner Edgerton star athlete Bubba Starling the fifth overall pick. Starling, who had agreed to a Cornhuskers football scholarship, went the baseball route and plays for Class A Wilmington.

MLB First-year player draft

Thursday, 6 p.m.: Rounds 1-2 (MLB Network, MLB.com)

Friday, noon: Rounds 3-10, (MLB.com)

Saturday, noon: Rounds 11-40 (MLB.com)

July 18: Signing deadline for drafted players

Royals projection

MLB.com projects the Royals to select Derek Hill, an outfielder from Elk Grove High in California. If they go with pitching, the best projected player around their slot could be Vanderbilt’s Tyler Beede, Texas Christian lefty Brandon Finnegan or Virginia’s Nick Howard.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.