KC selects LHP Steele with 73rd pick in Draft

JUCO product throws strikes, commands breaking ball

KC selects LHP Steele with 73rd pick in Draft

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals selected left-hander Evan Steele with their Competitive Balance Round B pick (No. 73 overall) in the 2017 Draft on Monday night.

The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage beginning at noon.

Steele started his college career at Vanderbilt, but he transferred to Chipola College, a junior college in Florida, where he helped win the 2017 JUCO World Series. He went 5-0 this season with a 2.01 ERA in 40 1/3 innings. He held opponents to a .208 batting average with 16 walks and 58 strikeouts. Steele's fastball tops out at 95 mph.

"To get a big, 6-foot-6 left hander who throws strikes, who can command his breaking ball, we thought it was a really good day," Royals director of scouting Lonnie Goldberg said.

Royals' 14th overall pick: Nick Pratto

Royals' 52nd overall pick: MJ Melendez

The Royals took first baseman Nick Pratto with their first-round pick (No. 14 overall) and catcher MJ Melendez -- both high school players -- with their second-round pick (No. 52). The club's first selection on Tuesday will be the No. 90 overall pick.

The Royals broke a five-year trend with their first three selections. In each of the previous five Drafts, at least two of their first three picks were pitchers. Steele was the only pitcher the club selected on Monday.

According to MLB Pipeline.com, Steele missed a month of the 2017 season with thrombosis before returning for the state tournament and JUCO World Series, where he was named Most Outstanding Pitcher.

"We felt good about where he's at medically," Goldberg said. "We saw two performances, and I think you guys know we're very fond of left-handed pitching."

Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.