Royals obtain two pitchers in Rule 5 Draft

The Kansas City Royals acquired a pair of right-handed pitchers — one by selection, the other via trade — in the major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.

The Royals selected Sam McWilliams from the Tampa Bay organization with the second overall pick. Five picks later, Chris Ellis was taken by the Texas Rangers, who then traded him to Kansas City for cash considerations.

The Rule 5 Draft requires selected players to remain in the major leagues all season. Otherwise, they must be offered back to their respective clubs for $50,000. The original cost of selecting a player is $100,000.

McWilliams, 23, went a combined 7-9 with a 4.38 ERA (67 ER in 137.2 IP) and 133 strikeouts in 137 2/3 innings for three Rays minor league affiliates in 2018. He spent most of the season with Double-A Montgomery. McWilliams was an eighth-round draft pick out of high school by the Phillies in 2014.

Ellis, 26, pitched for Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis in the St. Louis Cardinals organization last season, going a combined 10-4 with a 3.93 ERA in 31 appearances (21 starts) totaling 132 2/3 innings. He was named a Texas League All-Star after going 4-0 with a pair of saves and a 4.19 ERA in 15 games (seven starts) at Springfield. Ellis was a third-round draft pick out of Ole Miss by the Angels in 2014.

The Royals also made catcher Chris Rabago of the Yankees organization the second overall pick of the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft, then traded him to the Colorado Rockies for cash considerations.