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06/05/06 10:00 AM ET

KC's first pick to go down to last minute

Royals favor both college pitchers Miller and Lincoln

KANSAS CITY -- Deric Ladnier, Royals senior director of scouting, wasn't being coy or evasive.

Quite honestly, he believes the Royals' decision on their first No. 1 overall draft choice will go down to virtually the last minute on Tuesday.

Ladnier had just dismissed his scouting supervisors for lunch on Sunday. The discussions had been hot and heavy on pitchers Andrew Miller and Brad Lincoln.

"I have a mixed bag," Ladnier declared. "Really, it's 50-50."

Miller, a 6-foot-7 left-hander from the University of North Carolina, and Lincoln, a 6-0 right-hander from the University of Houston, were the finalists.

The Royals' hope, of course, is to make a choice that can help their starting rotation within a short period.

Both pitched over the weekend in the NCAA regionals.

Lincoln went 6 2/3 innings in Houston's 2-1 loss to Wichita State at Norman, Okla. He gave up seven hits and both runs with five walks and five strikeouts.

For the season, Lincoln was 12-2 with a 1.69 ERA in 17 games. He had 152 strikeouts and 32 walks in 127 2/3 innings. Opponents hit .198 against him.

Lincoln throws a fastball at around 96 mph with a curveball and a changeup.

Miller beat Winthrop, 14-4, with eight innings of work at Chapel Hill, N.C. He gave up nine hits, four runs with six strikeouts and three walks.

He also has a 12-2 record and a 2.26 ERA for 15 games so far. In 103 2/3 innings, his bag is 108 strikeouts with 35 walks. Opponents have hit .217 against him.

Miller's fastball reaches about 95 mph and he also throws a slider, considered his out-pitch. He doesn't use a changeup.

"I told my guys, 'We come up first and believe it or not, we're going to pick somebody,' " Ladnier said.

Right now, the Royals just aren't certain which somebody that will be.

"From the start, I've said there's no consensus No. 1," Ladnier said.

The Royals have scouted both Miller and Lincoln extensively. They sent out two of their top front-office evaluators, Louie Medina and Donny Rowland, to make final assessments over the weekend.

Once the Royals make their No. 1 selection, they've got a while to catch their breath. Their next choice doesn't come until No. 45.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.