Kansas City Royals 2021 MLB Draft Report Card

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Best Pure Hitter: Catcher Carter Jensen (3) was a highly-regarded hitter out of high school with an ability to handle velocity and quality secondaries. He has always shown a knack for finding the barrel and has strength that could turn into more in-game impact as he learns to elevate the ball more consistently. Jensen hit .281/.388/.404 during a 19-game pro debut in the Arizona Complex League.

Best Power Hitter: The Royals didn’t take a ton of massive sluggers, but they did sign catcher Luca Tresh (14) for $423,000 on the third day. Tresh was one of the hottest hitters in college baseball out of the gate and finished with 15 home runs. He posts big exit velocities and has plenty of power to the pull-side.

Fastest Runner: Second baseman Peyton Wilson (2) is a twitchy athlete who’s at least a plus runner and has turned in double-plus times. He stole 10 bags in 13 attempts (77%) with Alabama last spring and then went 7-for-9 (78%) in his pro debut. Shortstops Ryan Cepero (8) and Brennon McNair (11) also received plus running grades out of high school. 

Best Defensive Player: Wilson could fit here thanks to his impressive versatility. The Royals played him exclusively at second base in his pro debut, but he has played both middle infield positions, center field and catcher in the past. Cepero is likely the best defensive shortstop of the group.

Best Fastball: Righthander Eric Cerantola (5) has a massive fastball that’s been into the upper 90s and touched triple digits. Righthander Harrison Beethe (18) has also touched 100 mph in the past but last spring was more in the 95-97 mph range with improved control. 

Best Secondary Pitch: Lefthander Frank Mozzicato (1) has a separator curveball in the mid-to-upper-70s that features tight spin and impressive top-to-bottom shape that racks up whiff after whiff. It’s a no-doubt plus offering and was one of the best prep breaking balls in the class. Cerantola has also received double-plus grades for a low-80s curveball, but his usability of the pitch is behind where Mozzicatos is.

Best Pro Debut: McNair played in just 10 games in the Arizona Complex League, but his performance was extremely loud. He hit .323/.432/.548 with two home runs, a double and four stolen bases.

Best Athlete: Wilson’s athleticism allows him to play all over the field and get down the line quickly. He has impressive hand speed in the batter’s box that translated into more power last spring.

Most Intriguing Background: Wilson comes from a family of athletes. Both of his brothers played for Alabama—one as a quarterback, one as a baseball player—and his brother-in-law, Will Lowery, also played football for the Crimson Tide.

Closest To The Majors: There aren’t many obvious fast-movers in this draft class, barring Wilson just clicking as a hitter and being able to play whatever defensive position is necessary at the next levels. Cerantola has the stuff to pitch in a big league bullpen this season, but that won’t happen barring massive steps forward in his control.

Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): Tresh had a chance to go much higher than the 17th round the Royals signed him in, while lefthander Tyson Guerrero (12) has an exciting three-pitch mix with a high-spin curve, athleticism and some deception from the left side.

The One Who Got Away: Kansas City signed each of its 21 draft picks.

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