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Royals seek balance from '09 Draft

Royals seek balance from '09 Draft

With the 2009 season and Arizona Fall League (where several 2009 draftees got their first taste of pro ball) in the books, we take a look at the early results of each club's '09 Draft class: how their top picks did; late-round picks that fared well; which picks are likely to move up the ladder quickest; and which picks clubs were unable to sign.

The 2009 Draft was the equivalent of a changeup for the Kansas City Royals.

Over the past few years, Kansas City has gone after premium high-school talent, especially at the top of the Draft. It hasn't been afraid of being aggressive with high-bonus demands and the result has been an ever-growing system.

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NL East
ATL | FLA | NYM | PHI | WAS

AL East
BAL | BOS | NYY | TB | TOR

NL Central
CHC | CIN | HOU | MIL | PIT | STL

AL Central
CWS | CLE | DET | KC | MIN

NL West
ARI | COL | LAD | SD | SF

AL West
LAA | OAK | SEA | TEX

A concerted effort was made to bring some more balance to the system by adding advanced college players, those who could help out more quickly while allowing the younger players a little more time to develop if needed. Eight of the first 10 players taken came from college (or post-college in the case of first-rounder Aaron Crow). Seven were pitchers.

They did manage to take a high-ceiling high-school bat in the third round and add a few more athletes later on, but it was pretty clear where the emphasis was in 2009. While the Royals didn't spend as much in the Draft this past year as they had in the previous couple, they also weren't shy, going above slot to ink their first three selections.

Top five picks

The Royals forfeited their second-round pick to the D-backs for signing free agent Juan Cruz last offseason.

1. Aaron Crow, RHP: A year after not signing with the Washingotn Nationals, the former Missouri right-hander did come to terms with the Royals, though not until the middle of September. After going to instructional league, Crow got his feet wet in the Arizona Fall League. In 15 1/3 innings, he allowed 10 runs on 17 hits, though he walked just two while striking out 12. He finished off with four one-hit innings and showed his sinker is working just fine with a 2.30 GO/AO rate.

3. Wil Myers, C: Myers slipped to the third round because of signability, but the Royals were able to bring him into the fold right at the signing deadline with a well-above-slot deal. One of the better high-school bats in the class, Myers rushed off and played in 22 games, most of them with Idaho Falls in the rookie-level Pioneer League. Myers hit .369/.427/.679 in 84 at-bats to get his pro career off on a strong note. While he played all over the diamond in high school, it's looking like catching will be for him, at least for now. He threw out 5-of-11 would-be basestealers in the Pioneer League.

4. Chris Dwyer, LHP: The Royals added another intriguing lefty to their system when they were able to sign this Draft-eligible freshman from Clemson at the deadline. Dwyer got in four starts with Idaho Falls, allowing four earned runs on 12 hits and eight walks over 8 2/3 IP. He did strike out 15 using his plus fastball and curve to help rack up the K's.

5. Louis Coleman, RHP: A senior sign from LSU, Coleman signed in early July and went straight to full-season Burington in the Midwest League. After just four relief outings there, he moved up to Wilmington in the Class A Advanced Carolina League. Combined, he went 4-1 with a 1.66 ERA and two saves. Over 21 2/3 innings, he allowed just 10 hits (.137 batting average against) while walking four and striking out 22.

6. Cole White, RHP: A converted third baseman, White's move to the mound seems to be paying off. He split his summer between Idaho Falls and full-season Burlington and combined, finished with a 1.67 ERA and three saves in 20 relief outings. Over 37 2/3 IP, the right-hander out of New Mexico, allowed 31 hits while walking 22 (yes, he needs to improve his command) and striking out 36.

Best of the rest

One of many top-flight athletes the Royals have taken recently, outfielder Lane Adams (13th round) hit just .233 in the rookie-level Arizona League, but was successful in 14 of 15 stolen-base attempts. ... Twentieth-rounder Patrick Keating went from the University of Florida to Idaho Falls then up to Wilmington. In total in his pro debut, he went 6-1 with nine saves and a 1.64 ERA over 33 IP. He had a .183 batting average against while walking 10 and striking out 47. ... Right-hander Scott Kelley (23rd round) came out of Penn State and ended up making stops at three levels. Oveall he had a 1.94 ERA and three saves in 41 2/3 innings of relief work. He held hitters to a .186 average, walked 13 and struck out 46. ... Left-hander Claudio Bavera (33rd round) may have been a touch old for the AZL, but he was still impressive with a 4-0, 0.44 ERA over 15 relief innings. In 20 2/3 innings there, he allowed just 14 hits and 11 walks while striking out 21.

Fast risers

In taking Crow in the first round, the hope is he can leap from the Arizona Fall League onto the fast track and to Kansas City sooner rather than later. As a senior sign, Coleman made it to the Carolina League in his pro debut. It shouldn't take him too long to get to the big leagues, especially if he continues as a reliever.

Unsigned

Kansas City was able to sign its first 22 picks. Zack Jones, a right-handed pitcher taken in the 24th round, was the first not to agree to a deal. He opted to attend San Jose State instead. The Royals signed 28 of their first 33 picks and overall brought 32 of their 49 picks into the system. Right-hander Mike Morin (40th round) pitched well in a summer league, but the University of North Carolina recruited him late and he's now a Tar Heel.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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