Time to take our amateur signing bonus series to Kansas City...
- Eric Hosmer, 6MM (2008)
- Alex Gordon, $4MM (2005)
- Mike Moustakas, $4MM (2007)
- Luke Hochevar, $3.5MM (2006)
- Christian Colon, $2.75MM (2010)
You're looking at five of the Royals' last six first round picks, with the lone exception being 2009 pick Aaron Crow. He received a $1.5MM signing bonus as part of his $3MM major league deal.
Hosmer, the third overall pick two years ago, was touted as one of the best high school bats in recent memory. He has lived up to that hype in the minors, crushing Single-A and Double-A pitchers to the tune of .338/.406/.571 with 20 homers as a 20-year-old in 586 plate appearances this season.
Gordon was the best college player in the country when the Royals selected him second overall in 2005, but so far he hasn't delivered on the unrealistic and unfair George Brett comparisons. In parts of four seasons with the big league team, Gordon is a .244/.328/.405 hitter in 1,641 plate appearances, moving from the hot corner to the outfield in 2010. He's still just 26 though, plenty of time left for him to figure it out.
Drafted with the second overall pick in 2007, Moustakas holds the California high school record with 52 career homers. He's continued to mash in the minors, hitting .322/.369/.630 with 36 homers split between Double-A and Triple-A as a 21-year-old this season. Moustakas is Kansas City's third baseman of the future, and he and Hosmer represent prospects 1 and 1A in the game's best farm system.
The lone pitcher on the list, Hochevar was the first overall pick in the 2006 draft after spending a year in an independent league. The Dodgers selected him in the supplemental first round the year before, but after much drama the two sides were unable to work out a contract and he went back into the draft the next year. Hochevar has made 65 starts (and four relief appearances) for Kansas City over the last three-plus years, posting a 5.60 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 387.2 innings.
Colon was the fourth overall pick in this year's draft, and his pro debut consisted of a .278/.326/.380 batting line in 271 Single-A plate appearances. His coming out party is set for 2011.
The Royals have the best farm system in baseball, and it's easy to see why. They spend the money needed to sign elite amateur talent, and that extends beyond the first round. Over the last three years, they've spent over $24MM on draft picks, the fifth most in baseball.