On the second day of the Major League Baseball draft, the Royals loaded up on left-handed pitching, drafting four southpaws from the college ranks.
The haul included third-round pick Daniel Tillo of Iowa Western Community College and 10th-rounder Jordan Floyd, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound Topeka native and senior reliever at Kansas State. The club also selected left-handed pitcher Evan Steele with a compensation pick following the second round on Monday, bringing the total to five lefties in their first 11 picks.
The Royals have historically put a premium on left-handed pitching, though the philosophy is not uncommon among organizations.
“As we line up the board and measure the players and evaluations that we had on each player,” Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said, “it just kind of fell that way.”
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Tillo, a 6-foot-5 lefty, is a former Mr. Basketball in the state of Iowa. He began his college career at Kentucky before transferring to Iowa Western. In addition to the left-handed pitchers, Goldberg also heaped praise on the club’s fourth-round selection, center fielder Michael Gigliotti of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn. Gigliotti, a junior, hit .308 with 31 doubles, 11 homers and 69 RBIs in three seasons. He led the nation in bunt singles in 2015 and 2016 and profiles as a solid defensive player in center field.
“In our opinion, he’s one of the best center fielders in the draft this year,” Goldberg said, adding: “In our ballpark, it’s a true asset to what we do.”
Another intriguing selection was fifth-round pick Charlie Neuweiler, a right-handed high school pitcher from McClancy Memorial High School in Queens, N.Y. The draft will conclude on Wednesday with rounds 11 through 40.
Royals’ 2017 MLB first-year player draft selections
Note: With round, overall selection, player name, position and high school/college.
1 (14). Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach (Calif.) HS.
2 (52). MJ Melendez, C, Westminster Christian School, Miami.
Competitive Balance Round B (73). Evan Steele, LHP, Chipola College.
3 (90). Daniel Tillo, LHP, Iowa Western CC.
4 (120). Michael Gigliotti, CF, Lipscomb.
5 (150). Charlie Neuweiler, RHP, Monsignor McClancy Memorial HS, East Elmhurst, N.Y.
6 (180). Tyler Zuber, RHP, Arkansas State.
7 (210). Brewer Hicklen, OF, Alabama-Birmingham.
8 (240). Holden Capps, LHP, Central Oklahoma.
9 (270). JC Cloney, LHP, Arizona.
10 (300). Jordan Floyd, LHP, Kansas State.