Royals load up on college pitchers

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 | 7:56 p.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY — Looking over their list of potential picks in this year's baseball draft, the Kansas City Royals quickly came to a conclusion: It was loaded with quality college pitchers.

The Royals followed that belief and loaded up on arms on the second day of baseball's draft Wednesday, using their first five picks and 13 of 27 overall on college pitchers.

"When we put our board together, it was really clear to us that this was a year when college pitching was the strength of the draft," Royals scouting director J.J. Picollo said. "It was obvious to us when we had completed our board that was probably the way it was going to go."

Kansas City used its first-round pick on a college pitcher on Tuesday, taking former Missouri righthander Aaron Crow with the 12th overall pick. The Royals opened the second day by taking another college pitcher, using a fourth-round pick on Clemson lefthander Christopher Dwyer, the first freshman from a four-year school selected in the draft.

Kansas City continued the trend through the next four rounds before taking Texas State University catcher Benjamin Theriot in the ninth round.

The Royals closed out the second of three days in the draft by using a 30th-round pick on Indiana Wesleyan University righthander Josh Worrell, son of former St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Todd Worrell and the nephew of former Major League pitcher Tim Worrell.

Arms? The Royals will have plenty of 'em for a while.

"There were a couple of high school players and you might want to mix them in with those college pitchers, but with high school players it gets difficult to sign them after a certain round — they basically eliminate themselves," Picollo said. "That's the way we thought it would fall and it did."

Dwyer became eligible for the draft after turning 21 in April and the Royals made him the first freshman from a four-year school to be selected since the institution of the draft in 1965. He played two years at a prep school and was 5-6 with a 4.92 ERA in 17 starts this season for Clemson.

The Royals picked Dwyer up in the fourth round after having no pick in the third.

"We liked him last year, but went a different direction and he obviously ended up at Clemson," Picollo said. "He's a quality pitcher and when we looked at the board, as I'm sure a lot teams probably did, with the break we had after three rounds he was a guy we liked and was still on the board."

In all, the Royals took 20 players from college and seven high schoolers on the second of baseball's three-day draft.


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