Watson: The Kansas City Royals and the 1968 expansion draft

From SABR member Darin Watson at Baseball Prospectus on October 17, 2018:

For an expansion team, there are so many important steps. Assembling a front office, building and staffing a scouting department, and determining which farm teams to affiliate with are all vital processes. That leads up to the team’s first amateur draft, the first real chance to stock that farm system. But the step that gets the most attention is likely the expansion draft, when a new franchise gets to build the team that will take the field in the first season of major-league play.

Fifty years ago this week, the Royals participated in the 1968 expansion draft with their fellow new franchises, the Seattle Pilots (you now know them as the Milwaukee Brewers), San Diego Padres, and Montreal Expos (and you now know them as the Washington Nationals). While many players on expansion teams are quickly forgotten, Kansas City managed to snag a few names I think most Royals fans would recognize even now. One of them was even a future Hall of Famer, although he never played for the Royals. Several other players were later traded for some of the really big names in team history, although for the most part the Royals got the best of both worlds from those guys: good performance in Kansas City, then dealt for even better talent. All in all, the 1968 expansion draft was the springboard for the Royals’ excellent showing in the 1970s.

Read the full article here: http://kansascity.locals.baseballprospectus.com/2018/10/18/u-l-s-toothpick-the-royals-and-the-1968-expansion-draft/

Originally published: October 18, 2018. Last Updated: October 18, 2018.