Royals select four players on second day of MLB Draft

The Royals opened their portion of Day 2 of the MLB Draft with another pitcher, this time a high school right-hander, Ben Hernandez from Chicago.

Hernandez was the fourth pick of the second round, 41st overall.

The Royals selected a college left-hander, Texas A&M’s Asa Lacy, with the fourth overall pick Wednesday, followed by Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin in Competitive Balance Round A at No. 32 overall.

Hernandez, a 6-foot-2, 205-pounder, was ranked 72nd in MLB Pipeline’s top prospect rankings. The 18-year-old has committed to Illinois-Chicago. According to MLB Pipeline, Hernandez showed a devastating changeup, the best in the 2020 prep class, at De La Salle Institute. The scouting service also reports that he has a low-90s fastball with sink and good location.

In the third round, Kansas City selected Tyler Gentry from the University of Alabama at No. 76 overall. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound outfielder was stellar during the shortened 2020 season, hitting .429/.554/.750 with four homers in 74 plate appearances. Scouts praise him for his power and believe he’ll have the ability to play all three outfield positions as a pro.

In Round 4, the Royals selected lefty Christian Chamberlain from Oregon State University. While Chamberlain is undersized compared to most major league pitchers at 5-foot-10 and 173 pounds, he was dominant throughout his college career and posted a 0.82 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 11 walks over four starts (22 innings) as a junior. He pitched primarily out of the bullpen with the Beavers, as 37 of his 47 career appearances came in relief, but MLB Pipeline — which ranks him 174th among the prospects in this draft class — writes that his three-pitch mix could give him a chance to start as a pro.

The Royals’ final addition was Will Klein, a right-hander from Eastern Illinois University. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound pitcher posted a 5.74 ERA in 33 appearances — 30 in relief — over his first two collegiate seasons but was promising over four starts in the abbreviated 2020 season, posting a 3.33 ERA with 33 strikeouts and 13 walks in 24 1/3 innings. Klein, who was ranked 177th on Pipeline’s list of draft prospects, flashes a mid-90s fastball and a plus curveball.

The 2020 draft was shortened to just five rounds, a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.