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06/06/08 10:56 PM EST

Future bright after Royals' youthful Draft

GM Moore 'confident' about strategy of developing talent

KANSAS CITY -- Yes, the Royals are struggling this season. That doesn't mean general manager Dayton Moore is drafting like he's in a hurry to fill the big league roster.

In fact, it's quite the opposite. The Royals leaned heavily on high school players in this year's Draft. Six of their first seven picks were kids straight out of high school and 12 of their first 19. Eleven of the team's last 21 picks were also high school players.

"We are extremely confident in how we're going about what we're doing," Moore said. "I feel we're set up to nurture the young player through all that they are dealing with, all the programs we have in place, the patience we require from our coaching staff."

In the past, Kansas City had no reason to be so confident. The Royals struggled to develop their talent from the Draft. On the 25-man roster, only six of the players were drafted by the Royals. Of those six, only two were picked straight out of high school -- pitchers Jimmy Gobble and Zack Greinke.

This year's approach to the Draft is all part of the plan of making the Royals as competitive as possible. Kansas City management used to be notorious for picking players that would sign for less money. Moore insists signability is never a major issue. He said Kansas City just wants the best players.

"Every time we sign a player," Moore said, "somebody better expect him to be a big leaguer, and they better have some type of tool that can possibly carry them and give them a chance to be successful in the Minor Leagues. There have been several players that are late-round picks or signed after the Draft that end up making the Major Leagues."

Some of the names that went to Kansas City late should be familiar for Royals fans. Kansas City drafted Jacob Kuebler of Lincoln Southeast High School in the 17th round. Kuebler, a pitcher, is a cousin of third baseman Alex Gordon.

Royals' top five selections
3.1BEric HosmerAmerican Heritage Sch. (Fla.)
36.LHPMichael MontgomeryHart HS (Calif.)
49.2BJohnny GiavotellaU of New Orleans
80.RHPTyler SampleJ.K. Mullen Prep
115.RHPTimothy MelvilleWentzville Holt HS (Mo.)
Complete Royals Draft results >

"He's tall, 6-4, a shortstop and a pitcher," Gordon said. "He's good at both. I think he could play anywhere except obviously catcher."

The Royals' pick in the 29th round is also related to a third baseman who played for Kansas City. Beau Brett, a first baseman from Joel E Ferris High School in Spokane, Wash., is the nephew of George Brett. He's the son Bobby Brett, George's brother.

Although the Royals didn't select him, Greinke had a younger brother get drafted. Luke Greinke, who pitched at Auburn, was taken by the Yankees in the 12th round.

Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.