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Kansas City Royals 2022 MLB Draft Report Card



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Best Pure Hitter: OF Gavin Cross (1) should have the highest offensive upside in the Royals’ 2022 draft class, and he made some strong adjustments in his approach during the spring with Virginia Tech and also had an impressive pro debut: 186 wRC+ in 26 games. But 3B Cayden Wallace (2) has the better pure contact skills right now and might be the better pure hitter at the moment.

Best Power Hitter: Both Cross (1) and Wallace (2) produced solid exit velocities in their pro debuts this summer, but Cross has a bit more raw power and a swing that seems more ready-made for fly ball impact compared to Wallace.

Fastest Runner: OF Levi Usher (10) is a double-plus runner who managed double-digit stolen base totals in each of his three seasons with Louisville, capped off with a 36-steal season in 2022. In total, he stole 73 bags with excellent efficiency—a 92.4% success rate.

Best Defensive Player: Usher (10) has the speed and arm strength to be an impactful defender, whether he’s playing center field or right field (he spent most of his pro debut in right). Wallace (2) has a chance to be an above-average defender at third base with a huge arm to go with it.

Best Fastball: The Royals have a number of pitchers in the 2022 draft class with intriguing fastball characteristics: RHP Mack Anglin (7) has one of the harder fastballs, touching upper 90s regularly, in addition to having high raw spin rates on the pitch; LHP Ryan Ramsey (13) doesn’t have the velocity—he pitches 88-90 mph and touches 94—but he gets tons of riding life and around 20 inches of induced vertical break that allows the pitch to play up; RHP Mason Barnett (3) has a 93-95 mph fastball with a flat approach angle; and RHP Brandon Johnson (9) sat around 94 mph with 20 inches of induced vertical break in a brief pro debut.

Best Secondary Pitch: RHP Steven Zobac (4) has an above-average slider with power and depth that he’s shown an ability to manipulate, while Anglin (7) has multiple breaking balls that reach the 3,000 rpm range and have monster potential.

Best Pro Debut: Cross (1) had no problems with his hitting ability and power translating to pro ball in a 29-game debut between the Arizona Complex League and Low-A Carolina League. He slashed .312/.437/.633 with eight home runs and seven doubles. While there was some swing and miss (24.4 K%), he also had the walks (17.8 BB%) to go with it.

Best Athlete: Usher (10) has the quick-twitch speed and power combination that makes him a natural selection for this category.

Most Intriguing Background: Zobac (4) comes from an athletic family (his twin sister Kacey was a catcher for California’s softball team) and also played outfield before focusing exclusively on pitching in 2022.

Closest To The Majors: Cross (1) and Wallace (2) should be the top candidates for this category as accomplished hitters from major college conferences with physicality and power.

Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): Kansas City made a couple of splash signings on the third day of the draft. RHP David Sandlin (11) signed for $400,000 and offers a deep mix of solid pitches that were on display during the College World Series. RHP/SS Austin Charles (20) pushed himself up draft boards and was viewed as one of the top two-way players in the class. He signed for $429,500.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Tommy Szczepanski (19) was the only player the Royals failed to sign in 2022. He ranked as the No. 256 player in the draft class and is a projection righty who showed increased fastball velocity in the spring with a funky arm action. He will be a draft-eligible sophomore in 2024 with Virginia Tech.

Hotsheet Copy (1)

Hot Sheet: Baseball's 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (8/23/22)

Three 2022 draft picks lead this week's Hot Sheet.

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