Royals 3rd Round Draft Pick: Michael Antonio, SS, George Washington HS, N.Y.
The obtainment of 18-year-old shortstop Michael Antonio marked the first high school draft selection for the Kansas City Royals in the 2010 first-year player draft.
Unlike first-round draft pick Christian Colon, Antonio doesn’t represent a player who is likely on the fast track to the Major Leagues.¬† Indeed, the 6’2″, 190 pounder is a bit of a high-end project.¬† However, in showcase games, he drew rave reviews from scouts.¬† Nonetheless, his value declined this spring when he became too pull-happy in his swing, generating long strokes that increased strikeout numbers.¬† Though he is tall and certainly bigger than I was at his age, he still needs to mature into his own body.¬† He could become a legitimate power source but due to his frame and makeup he might need to move to another position in the future.¬† According to scouting reports, he possesses above average hands but only mediocre speed and arm.¬† Like current Royals shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, he seems to have a knack for making scenic, flashy plays on the left side of the infield but loses focus and botches routine plays.
This year, Baseball America ranked him the fourth best player in New York State and just outside of the Top 200 prospects list.¬† He played at the Summer Rivalry Baseball Classic Invitational last August at Fenway Park and wowed scouts.¬† This spring, his stock drop.¬† He seemed to square up well on baseballs some days but lose focus on others.¬† He has a wide open batting stance and a big leg kick before hitting.
Antonio seems to have become thicker and slower than he was in previous seasons.¬† He was only clocked at 4.6 seconds from home to first base this spring.¬† He tends to get himself in the wrong position to field the ball.¬† He will probably outgrow the shortstop position in full-season baseball, especially if he continues to bulk up.
Selections like Antonio seem wiser and savvier for organizations who can afford to rely heavily on high school players and toolsy players with only theoretical potential.¬† I believe whether the organization can harness his potential will once again prove the ultimate test.¬† Some organizations, like the Los Angeles Angels, have been able to coax excellent results from theoretical talent.¬† Others, like the Royals in recent years, have been far less successful.¬† I understand that the organization needs an injection of shortstop talent and as a fan I hope Antonio progresses into a big-league quality player.¬† I would have probably gone with a more polished college athlete in this round.
By Jack Dempsey
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