With the 135th pick overall, the Kansas City Royals selected right-hander Will Klein of Eastern Illinois University.
The Kansas City Royals finished their excellent 2020 draft on Thursday. Their fourth and final pick on day two was 135th overall and they added a varsity throwing perspective that throws the torch.
Will klein is a 6’5 ”, 230-pound, 20-year-old right-handed pitcher with more fastball, an above-average curveball and a developing shift. He hit 99 mph with his fastball in the Northwoods League last year en route to a less than 1.00 ERA season.
Klein had a fantastic season in the Northwoods League last summer with a 0.86 ERA, 0.762 WHIP, 38 Ks in 21.0 innings racking up 7 saves. He converted to a starter in 2020 and struggled before the end of the season.
According to screening report on mlb.com;
“As a rookie in 2020, Klein worked at 92-94 mph and passed 96 with his four-seam fastball, which is pretty straight but has some driving action. He also flashed a solid curve ball with power and depth. He has started to incorporate a change into his repertoire, but he lacks separation in the speed of his heating and is well behind his other two offerings.
Klein is a power reliever, able to handle high leverage situations. It has an over pronation release and generally works out of the stretch. Upon release, it falls to the first basic bag, but generates speed with little effort.
Klein’s overhanging mechanics allow his big, curved loop ball to dig well with his fastball elevated to 90 mph. His curved ball has a 12-6 swing and is at the height limit. The change was implemented as Klein moved into a starter role and needs more development.
I don’t think he currently has the confidence to pitch the pitch in game situations. Without a solid three-length shuffle it would be best to allow Klein to focus on improving his fastball to big. speed and curve ball above average outside the bullpen.
The fastball is usually found between the middle and the top of 90 mph, it dials it up to 99 mph. The fastball is more pitch with some late movements on the side of the arm.
Klein’s scouting notes project him as a number five (4.50 FIP) type starter or end-of-round lifter. He appears to be physically at his peak and has to work to fine tune his order. If Klein develops a consistent change that has more of a speed difference to his fastball, he could become a solid starter.
As it stands, he’s more of a flame reliever. As a reliever, his fastball and curveball complement each other well. Klein had enough batting stuff to generate a 12.8 K / 9 career rate with Eastern Illinois.
Klein will be outside the Royals’ top 30 prospects after signing. He could be an elite reliever later if he becomes a more consistent striker.
Klein will have a little more time in the minors to see if the Royals attempt to make him a full-time starter. He could make his debut in the majors around 2024, if he converts to reliever, we could see him as early as 2023 if he shows constant command.
Don’t overlook the fifth round picks some of them have gone on to become stars and Hall of Fame members. Klein could be an elite reliever with a very powerful fastball and a devastating curveball.