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Revisiting the 2023 Royals MLB Draft class after the conclusion of the minor league season.
Best Pure Hitter: Outfielder Spencer Nivens (5) has quick hands and a quiet swing, and he did a nice job doing damage with 92+ mph velocity this spring with Missouri State. He didn’t have the greatest performance in his pro debut, but he rarely swings and misses or expands the strike zone. Outfielder Jared Dickey (11) has a bit more noise in his swing, but he could be an above-average hitter and consistently puts the barrel on the baseball.
Best Power Hitter: Catcher Blake Mitchell (1) is advanced physically and has impressive raw power that should allow him to leave the yard with consistency if he can make enough contact. Third baseman Trevor Werner (7) is probably the best in-game power hitter of the class right now, and he put up huge exit velocity numbers in his pro debut and also homered nine times in 35 games.
Fastest Runner: Outfielder Carson Roccaforte (2s) was a consistent double-digit stolen base threat in college. He’s an above-average runner who can play all three outfield positions, and in his pro debut he went 16-for-19 (84.2%) on the base paths.
Best Defensive Player: Mitchell (1) has the tools to become an above-average defender at catcher. He has strong hands and when he’s locked in can receive the ball nicely, with a good ability to fold up behind the dish and block as well. His carrying defensive tool is his double-plus arm that should allow him to hold down the running game.
Best Fastball: Righthander Blake Wolters (2) opened some eyes early during the 2023 season when he touched 97.7 at PBR’s Super 60 indoor showcase. He was consistently in the upper 90s early in his outings and settled into the 93-95 mph range.
Best Secondary Pitch: Righthander Hiro Wyatt (3) has a plus slider in the low 80s that has a lot of sweep and sharp biting action away from righthanded hitters. Lefthander Hunter Owen (4) also has a plus slider with sharp, two-plane bite that generated nearly a 50% whiff rate with Vanderbilt during the spring.
Best Pro Debut: Werner (7) was far and away the most impressive Kansas City draftee this summer. He hit for average, got on base, hit for power and also added 10 stolen bases. He is old for the level, but for a seventh-round pick it’s a loud debut.
Best Athlete: Roccaforte’s (2s) speed and athleticism should allow him to be a solid-average or better defender at all three outfield positions.
Most Intriguing Background: Righthander Logan Martin (12) had a strong three-year career with Division III Suwanee (Tenn.), and he was named conference pitcher of the year in 2022. He followed that up by transferring to Kentucky, where he pitched well early in the season before going down with an injury. He has a mid-90s fastball that has been up to 98 mph with impressive riding life.
Closest To The Majors: If healthy, Owen (4) has the physicality, pure stuff and above-average control to move quickly through the minors. He dealt with some shoulder soreness in 2023, but he has three solid-average or better pitches when he’s on the mound and was one of the better college lefties in the class.
Best Day Three Pick (Or NDFA): Dickey (11) was one of the top available players on the BA draft board entering day three, and the Royals wasted no time selecting him and then signed him to a $572,500 deal. He was viewed as a top five–round talent.