Royals agree to terms with all six Draft picks and seven undrafted free agents


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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (June 23, 2020) – The Kansas City Royals announced today that they have agreed to terms with 13 players, including all six who were selected in the 2020 First-Year Player Draft on June 10-11: Asa Lacy, a left-handed pitcher from Texas A&M University in the first round (No. 4 overall); Nick Loftin a shortstop from Baylor University in Competitive Balance Round A (No. 32 overall), Ben Hernandez, a right-handed pitcher from De La Salle Institute (Ill.) in the second round (No. 41 overall); Tyler Gentry, an outfielder from the University of Alabama in the third round (No. 76 overall); Christian Chamberlain, a left-handed pitcher from Oregon State University in the fourth round (No. 105 overall); and Will Klein, a right-handed pitcher from Eastern Illinois University in the fifth round (No. 135 overall).

The Royals also agreed to terms with seven undrafted free agents, including: left-handed pitcher AJ Blockfrom Washington State University; outfielder Tucker Bradley from the University of Georgia; catcher Kale Emshoff, from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock; catcher Saul Garza, from Louisiana State University; right-handed pitcher John McMillon from Texas Tech University; infielder Matt Schmidt from the University of Michigan; and right-handed pitcher Chase Wallace from the University of Tennessee.

Block, 22, went 2-0 with a 3.25 ERA (10 ER in 27.2 IP) and 34 strikeouts (11.1 K/9) to just five walks (1.6 BB/9) in four starts this season at Washington State, prior to the season being suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. He led all Pac-12 pitchers in innings and tied for second in strikeouts, and had double-digit strikeout performances in each of his last three starts, becoming the first Cougar to accomplish that feat in at least 33 seasons. He was selected by Detroit in the 17th round of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft, but chose to return to Washington State for his senior season. He was also selected in 2016 by the Chicago Cubs in the 39th round out of Newport High School in Washington, but did not sign.

Bradley, 22, was batting .397 (25-for-63) with six home runs, 23 RBI and eight stolen bases in 18 games when Georgia’s 2020 season was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. He also recorded 4.1 scoreless innings on the mound over three relief appearances. Bradley’s performance led the Bulldogs to a 14-4 record and a national ranking of No. 2 in the USA Today Sports Top 25 poll.

Emshoff, 22, hit .417 (25-for-60) with seven home runs in just 17 games at Arkansas-Little Rock prior to the season being canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. He led the Sun Belt Conference in home runs and slugging percentage (.800) and ranked second in batting average, while starting 13 games at catcher and four as the designated hitter. Emshoff missed the entire 2019 season due to injury. He was the No. 146-ranked prospect in the 2020 Draft per MLB Pipeline.

Garza, 22, led LSU with three home runs in 14 games prior to the 2020 season being suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Royals selected him in the 32nd round of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft, but he choose to return to LSU and was named to the SEC All-Tournament Team in 2019, after batting .303 (44-for-145) in 50 games (42 starts). Prior to attending LSU, Garza hit. 378 with 23 home runs at Howard Junior College, where he was selected to the NJCAA Division I All-Region Team. He was selected by St. Louis in the 31st round in 2017 out of Edinburg North High School in Texas, but did not sign.

McMillon, 22, pitched in relief during his junior and senior seasons at Texas Tech, including 9.1 innings over seven outings this spring, in which he struck out 20 batters (19.3 K/9). He was a two-way player in his first two collegiate seasons, going a combined 7-3 with a 3.36 ERA (33 ER in 88.1 IP) in 41 appearances (12 starts) on the mound, while hitting nine home runs in 74 games at the plate. McMillon was selected by Detroit in the 11th round of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft, but chose to return to Texas Tech for his senior season. He was selected by Tampa Bay in the 21st round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of Jasper High School in Texas, but did not sign.

Schmidt, 23, played in just 46 games during his collegiate career at Michigan. The fifth-year senior hit his first career home run this spring, a go-ahead shot in the eighth inning vs. 2019 National Champion Vanderbilt. Prior to his time with the Wolverines, Schmidt played the 2016-17 seasons at Cypress College (Calif.). He was selected by the New York Yankees in the 37th round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of Regis Jesuit High School (Texas), but chose to attend the University of Texas, where he was enrolled prior to his transfer to Cypress. Matt is the son of Colorado Rockies scouting director, Bill Schmidt.

Wallace, 21, went 1-1 with a 3.50 ERA (7 ER in 18.0 IP) in four starts at the University of Tennessee this spring as a junior. He missed most of the 2019 season due to injury, but did record a 2.74 ERA (7 ER in 23.0 IP) in 14 relief appearances in the Cape Cod League.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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