Second rounder Giavotella ready to go

With the club's second round pick, the Royals on Thursday selected second baseman Johnny Giavotella out of the University of New Orleans. RC's James Pinick spoke with Giavotella about his game, expectations, and thoughts on being selected by the Royals.

Johnny Giavotella, the 2nd round pick out the University of New Orleans, was still trying to get everything to settle in just one day after being selected by the Kansas City Royals.

"It seems surreal now," said Giavotella. "It hasn't soaked in yet".

Giavotella was sitting at home with his friends and family watching the draft on the Internet yesterday, and he said the place went nuts after they heard the news. Johnny had previously heard that he would go between rounds two and rounds five, so when he saw the Kansas City Royals took him in the second round, Giavotella was grateful for the opportunity, even if he didn't know much about the team that just selected him.

"No, I don't really know much about them, but I am thankful they gave me a chance to play," Giavotella said.

A Royals scout had called Giavotella prior to the draft to tell him that he liked how he played, and Tom Walter, head coach at the University of New Orleans, told him the Royals were looking at him as well. Giavotella felt he had a good college career and is grateful for how much the University of New Orleans has prepared him to take those skills into pro ball. Walter agreed with Giavotella's assessment.

Walter said that Giavotella was amazing during his time at UNO. He can hit to all fields, but his best power days are ahead of him, according to Walter. He feels that Giavotella is ready to hit at the next level.

While Walter was raving about Giavotella's bat, he did say that Johnny still needed to work on some things. He said that most of Giavotella's power is pull power at this point in his career. He needs to work on driving the ball the other way, but Walter feels that will be achieved in pro ball.

And Walter raved about more than Giavotella's bat.

"His intangibles are off the chart," said Walter.

Walter has strong feelings about Giavotella's work ethic, and he said he had never coached a better player. Giavotella is the most tenacious player he has ever coached, and his desire to win, leadership skills and plate discipline are amazing, according to Walter. Walter thinks that the Royals will be thrilled with him and his leadership skills.

Giavotella has produced with his bat while on the field, amassing a .354 batting average with 16 doubles, 12 home runs and 56 RBI's in his final season at the University of New Orleans, but some scouts still have some concerns. The knock is that at 5-foot-8, Giavotella might be too short to perform at the major league level.

When asked about scouts' concerns, Giavotella laughed and said that he has been told he is too short to play most of his career, but it just motivates him to be a better player.

Giavotella claimed his defense at second base has improved much over the last few years. He posted his best defensive season in 2007, committing just seven errors and compiling a .978 fielding percentage. This spring, his numbers fell off a bit as he committed 11 errors, but Giavotella doesn't seem concerned. He feels comfortable with his defense and hopes to continue getting better.

The Royals seem to like Giavotella's total package, including his defense, his bat and his makeup. Giavotella agrees and feels that he could be a fast riser through the system.

"I have high expectations," said Giavotella. "The Royals think I can make it to the majors in a few years, and I have the same outlook."

Giavotella said that he is a well-balanced hitter at this point in his career. He looks for anything he can put the barrel of the bat on and do some damage with it. Giavotella said he would start out being more of a gap shooter in his professional career, but his power will come as he gets stronger.

The Royals scout who called Giavotella told him to take the next few days off to just let things soak in. Afterward, Giavotella will meet with the Royals to figure out where he will start playing after his contract is worked out.

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