Royals were tempted to draft Johnny Football
JUN 09, 2014 2:14p ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's not like the Royals never have drafted a Heisman Trophy winner before (Bo Jackson).
And it's not like they never have drafted high-profile college quarterbacks before (Dan Marino and John Elway in 1979).
So it probably isn't a shock that the Royals admitted they were tempted to draft Johnny Manziel on the last day of the draft Saturday.
Johnny Football did get selected in the 28th round by the San Diego Padres, for whom he once threw out a ceremonial opening pitch last year.
"It's funny when you see someone get picked in the 28th round ahead of you and you see your whole room get upset," Royals senior director of scouting Lonnie Goldberg said. "That tells you they're locked in."
Apparently, the Royals had the same notion the Padres did -- why not take Manziel, a great athlete, and take a chance his football career doesn't work out?
"Yes, we thought about doing that ourselves," Goldberg said. "So I was honestly a little disappointed when he got taken. I had that idea down in the Winter Meetings and we talked about doing that.
"We didn't pull the plug on it, though."
Manziel played high school ball but although he wanted to, he didn't play baseball at Texas A&M under the strong recommendation of the football department.
Asked what kind of baseball player Manziel was before college, Goldberg said: "As far as I know he played center field, but he's listed as a shortstop. We did a little research into him. But in the end we decided to stay away from it."
Actually, Manziel played shortstop and second base in high school and wore No. 2 out of respect for Derek Jeter, his favorite player.
The Royals, though, simply had too many legitimate players left on the board to draft ahead of Manziel when he got taken.
"Our (scouts) still had players they really liked at that point of the draft, so we backed off," Goldberg said.
The Royals, as it turned out, were still hungry to draft more pitching, particularly left-handers.
In all, the Royals selected 19 pitchers, 12 of them left-handed.
"Yeah, we got a lot of left-handed pitching," Goldberg said. "I'm not sure that was by design, but it just worked out that way.
"We thought we could get a lot of left-handers in this draft if it fell our way. Some of them are straight bullpen-type arms. Each of them adds something different, whether it's deception, a good breaking ball, a good changeup."
That includes their top pick, left-hander Brandon Finnegan, whom the Royals' scouting department got to see pitch Saturday on television for TCU, which was in the super regionals of the College World Series.
"I thought he looked great," Goldberg said. "I'm just glad they took him out after six innings to save his arm and he still got the win."
The Royals took a local player -- outfielder Logan Moon, a Blue Springs, Mo., native who went to Missouri Southern -- in the sixth round. He was at Friday night's Royals-Yankees game and already has signed.
"He's just got good tools," Goldberg said of Moon. "He runs well, throws well, can hit. Very strong kid."
Another interesting pick came late. In the 38th round the Royals took Cole Way, a 6-foot-11 punter from Tulsa University. He last played baseball in high school as a left-handed pitcher.
"He came to our predraft workout and looked good," Goldberg said. "Not sure what we're going to do with him if we sign him. But he's got a good fastball, 86-89 (mph)."