Royals Select 3 Players on the Opening Day of MLB Draft
The Royals selected three players on the opening day of the MLB draft — Nick Pratto, MJ Melendez and Evan Steele.
The Kansas City Royals made three selections on the first day of the 2017 MLB Draft, opting for first baseman Nick Pratto with their first pick (14th overall) out of Huntington Beach High School (California).
The two-way talent Pratto pitches and hits well for Huntington Beach, but it is his offensive abilities that impressed the Royals. Pratto was a Little League World Series hero in 2011 when he batted in the game winning run against Hamamatsu Minami of Japan. While Pratto has committed to playing baseball at USC, it’s likely he accepts a Royal deal.
In the second round, the Royals selected catcher MJ Melendez from Westminster Christian High School (Fla.). Melendez, age 18, hit .391 with eight home runs and 29 RBI his senior year of highschool. Melendez is the son of Mervyl Melendez, who coaches for the baseball team at Florida International University. The young catcher is athletic and has a quick release. Melendez could grow into a solid backup for Salvador Perez over time, or perhaps function as a trading chip in acquiring talent.
In the Competitive Balance Lottery Round B, the Royals selected left-handed pitcher Evan Steele with the 73rd overall pick out of Chipola College (Fla.). A Vanderbilt transfer, Steele, age 20, went 5-0 with a 2.01 ERA in 10 starts for the NJCAA Division I National Champs, winning the Most Outstanding Pitcher of the Tournament award. The 6’5, 201 pound pitcher has a fastball reaching 95 and throws both a two and four-seamer. Steele also employs a slider and a low 80’s changeup.
GM Dayton Moore and the Royals will hope these three young talents can progress quickly through the minor leagues. Pratto in particular could be the Royals’ first baseman of the future. Fan favorite Eric Hosmer is likely to leave KC by the end of the season, and with the Royals low budget, it is important that Moore maintains control over young talent.