SAN FRANCISCO —The Royals selected high school first baseman Nick Pratto with the No. 14 overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft on Monday night, acquiring a potential building block for their next wave of talent.

Pratto, a native of Huntington Beach, Calif., entered his senior high school season drawing attention from scouts as both a position player and a pitcher. He was ranked as the 17th overall prospect in the draft, according to Baseball America.

In a pre-draft scouting report, Baseball American described Pratto, 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, as "a left-handed hitter with strike-zone awareness and plate discipline well beyond his years."

"Pratto stands close to the plate and covers it well," Baseball America noted. "He has exceptionally loose wrists and creates separation in his swing, giving himself time to adjust to pitches late and keep himself alive in counts. Pratto has advanced pitch recognition and timing."

For the Royals, the selection comes as the franchise's major-league club sits at a crossroads of sorts. With a large percentage of their championship core set to reach free agency at the end of the season, the Royals struggled for much of April, suffering through a nine-game losing streak. As the team enjoyed a day off in San Francisco on Monday, they sat at 28-34 on the season, 5 { games behind the first-place Minnesota Twins.