Just like last year, the 2012 draft was turned upside down. In 2011, it was the Mariners selecting a starting pitcher with the second overall pick. This time, it was the Astros passing on a starting pitcher.
By the time the Royals were on the clock, two college arms they thought to have targeted remained on the draft board – Kyle Zimmer and Mark Appel.
Appel was the one generally thought to be the top selection overall, so it looked as though the Royals struck gold… Yet they selected Zimmer. The Royals say he was their top pitcher in the draft all along. So if that’s the case, good for them.
Surely some of this has to do with Appel, his agent (Scott Boras) and his demands. Under the new rules, the Royals have a total budget of $6.1 million for their selections in the top 10 rounds. That includes $3.5 million budgeted for the fifth overall pick. Had Appel been selected number one overall, the Astros have $7.2 million to spend. Or $1.1 million more for that pick than the Royals have for the entire first 10 picks. Do you think a Boras client will happily accept $3.7 million less? Don’t think so.
(Appel went to the Pirates who have a total draft budget of $6.5 million and $2.9 slotted for their top pick. Good luck, Pittsburgh.)
Anyway, congrats to Lonnie Goldberg and the Royals scouting department, who got the arm they coveted. Under the new rules he should be signed by July and hopefully the Royals will have him start his professional career later this summer.