Royals' Draft picks have homecoming feel

Royals' Draft picks have homecoming feel

KANSAS CITY -- Day 3 of the 2016 MLB Draft was a meaningful one for the Royals. From their 11th-round pick to their 40th-round selection, there was no shortage of stories to be told along the way.

With their first pick Saturday, the Royals selected Stetson's Vance Vizcaino, a left-handed hitter with speed who is capable of playing both the outfield and infield. He also has ties to the Royals' organization, as his father is national scouting supervisor Junior Vizcaino, who has worked with the team since 2000.

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Vance was previously drafted by Kansas City in the 29th round in 2014. As '16 rolled around, the Royals made the call to pick him again.

"I thought it was kind of special. They liked me enough to stick with me and follow me over the years," Vance said. "I thought it was really cool."

Vance wasn't the only draftee familiar with Kansas City. With their 38th-round pick, the Royals selected shortstop Joey Fregosi from Murrieta Valley High School in California. Fregosi's father, Jim Fregosi Jr., has worked in the Royals' front office for five years.

In between those picks, the Royals took five local prospects, each with a different connection to the Kansas City area. However, perhaps none were as closely affiliated with the team as right-hander Nathan Webb, who has spent a bit more time at Kauffman Stadium than others, albeit in a position other than pitcher.

"He's connected, yes, to the grounds crew," Royals director of scouting Lonnie Goldberg said with a laugh.

Twenty-one of the players the Royals selected were pitchers, with 31 out of the 39 players being college selections.

However, as the Draft wound down, Royals legend Art Stewart, who is a senior advisor to the general manager, announced the team's last pick, which may have been the most memorable one of the day.

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The name Taylor Kaczmarek may likely be only recognizable by the most diehard of fans, yet the meaning behind the pick was immeasurable.

"We drafted Taylor [in 2012]. He came down with cancer," Goldberg said. "We stayed very close with him and his family. And fortunately enough, he beat it."

In the same year that the Royals originally drafted him, Kaczmarek found out he had been diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. The right-hander pitched at the University of San Diego while undergoing treatments.

As the Royals closed the book on another Draft, Kaczmarek is on to an entirely new chapter in his career as well.

"That one's very special to a lot of people in our room," Goldberg said.

Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.