First off, if you aren't getting prepared for the Amateur draft by keeping and eye on Pine Tar Press, you definitely need to do it. Clint Scoles and Greg Schaum are killing it, and you can read the rest of the quoted article here.
"Pre draft deals are not uncommon.. the Royals have done this in the past with players (had one with Bundy last year) and it is not uncommon for that player to not be drafted by the team who has the deal. It is done as a way to budget out for future picks. But, I know JJ Piccolo prefers HS arms and since he has taken over the draft he has not gotten this wish... ...I will say if you are goin to Vegas and have to place money on the Royals pick there is too much smoke to not lay it on McCullers." -Greg Schaum
Since Greg is so confident that Lance McCullers Jr. is the most likely candidate for Kansas City at this point, I thought I would give my thoughts. Most mock drafts have McCullers going in the mid-teens, but as Greg and Clint point out, one reason for this could be because he hasn't continued to breakout since he was deemed a top end type of player.
So here's my thoughts, if the Royals can arrange a pre-draft deal with McCullers that will make him richer than he would have been should he have been selected in the mid-first round and will save the Royals a bit of money from their draft pool, I can live with that. However, this is only true if the Royals believe that he is their guy and that they aren't reaching just for the sake of 'getting cute' and saving a bit of money for later.
Baseball America currently rates McCullers as the 13th best prospect entering the draft. He has the second best stuff out of any high school arm. BA states that his mid to upper 90s fastball and power slider are both 70 pitches and that those grades might sell McCullers short. This all sounds great but here is the comment that really caught my eye: "The majority of scouts still believe he's a future reliever."
Obviously the Royals aren't going to take a guy fifth overall if they view him as a future reliever. For me to be on board they better be totally sure and they better truly believe that he is the top arm available for them. If the Royals and their scouting department are truly committed to these beliefs, then I'm not going to pretend like I know more about drafting and development.
Make no mistake, if Zimmer, Gausman, or Appel are available at 5 and the Royals select McCullers it could be very bad. Hypothetically, if the aforementioned pitchers produce in the next couple of years and McCullers either busts or winds up in the pen, it will be one of the easier draft decisions to second guess. It would be the type of decision that could cost people jobs.