After using their first 10 picks in the MLB Draft on college players, the Kansas City Royals continued that trend at the start of Day 3 with their selection of Oklahoma right-hander David Sandlin with their first pick of the day.
A 6-foot-4 215-pound Oklahoma native, Sandlin went to the Royals with the 325th overall pick in the draft. That made him the seventh pitcher selected by the Royals in this year’s draft.
Sandlin headed up a Day 3 group for the Royals that included six pitchers, three hitters, one two-way player, seven college players and three high school players.
With the exception of maybe getting a really high-ceiling high school player early in the draft — that likely would have come with a high price tag — Royals scouting director Danny Ontiveros came away from the three days of the draft feeling like his staff accomplished its objectives.
They targeted college hitters early as Ontiveros said the goal was to get at least three. They got four, two being middle-of-the-field players with “upside.”
“As a whole in our draft, I feel like we built kind of a rotation out and we built a good bullpen out with guys that are strike-throwers with good metrics, that was something Lonnie always kind of preached to me,” Ontiveros said , referencing his predecessor Lonnie Goldberg.
“If anything, if we didn’t get the high-ceiling high school guys early, my mind was going to be set to build a rotation, build a bullpen and get some impact, middle-of-the-field players, and we that accomplished. So I’m very proud of our whole staff and the effort that they put in.”
MLB.com ranked Sandlin the 206th-best draft prospect in this year’s class. He reportedly features a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, topping out around 97-98 mph, but what stands out is the fact that his curveball and slider are considered to be above-average pitches.
The other nine picks that rounded out the Royals draft class on Day 3 were:
- Round 12, No. 355: Jack Pineda, SS, Baylor
- Round 13, No. 385: Ryan Ramsey, LHP, Maryland
- Round 14, No. 415: Ben Sear, RHP, Houston
- Round 15, No. 445: Javier Vaz, OF, Vanderbilt
- Round 16, No. 475: Cooper McKeehan, LHP, BYU
- Round 17, No. 505: Chazz Martinez, LHP, Oklahoma
- Round 18, No. 535: Milo Rushford, OF, Walden Grove HS (Ariz.)
- Round 19, No. 565: Tommy Szczepanski, RHP, Garber HS (Mich.)
- Round 20, No. 595: Austin Charles, INF/RHP, Stockdale HS (Calif.)
Day 3 tidbits
In Pineda, the Royals staff saw similar traits to their current major-league infielder Nicky Lopez because of Pineada’s competitiveness, being an undersized left-handed hitter who can play multiple positions on the infield and one who has a high baseball IQ.
Ontiveros described Vaz, listed at 5 feet, 9 inches and 151 pounds, as a kind of “Swiss army knife” because of his versatility, speed, and bat-to-ball skills. He can play the middle infield or outfield. His father also played professional baseball. The comparison he draws is to current Oakland Athletics infielder/outfielder Tony Kemp.
Ontiveros said he was “shocked” Martinez was still on the board when they picked up in the 17th round, and they felt he could either start or relieve.
The Royals view little-known high school outfielder Rushford out of Arizona as “steal” with high upside, a lean frame with power who can play center field and impressive makeup and intelligence.
Szczepanski is a 6-foot-5 right-hander with velocity up to 96 mph and with the ability to spin the ball, though his delivery will need some “clearing up.”
It remains to be seen if Charles, a 6-foot-6 shortstop/pitcher, will sign with the Royals or college attendee (committed to UC Santa Barbara). But the Royals have familiarity with the family. They drafted his older brother, Art, in the 39th round in 2009. Art did not sign, but was drafted again the following year and signed with Toronto as a 20th-round pick.
This story was originally published July 19, 2022 1:48 PM.