Kansas City Royals 2023 MLB Draft Review


See Also: 2023 MLB Draft Database

Draft Theme: No Risk, No Reward. 

The Royals invested three of their first four picks into two demographics that the industry views as the most risky in the draft: high school righthanders and high school catchers. C Blake Mitchell was the pick at No. 8, and Kansas City also grabbed a big fastball with RHP Blake Wolters in the second and a Northeast arm with a deep pitch mix in RHP Hiro Wyatt in the third. Even Kansas City’s top college players come with a bit of risk, as OF Carson Roccaforte is a small school hitter who struggled on the cape and LHP Hunter Owen dealt with injuries this spring. 

Most Interesting Day 2 Pick: LHP Hunter Owen, 4th round

Owen is a massive lefthander with a 6-foot-6, 261-pound frame who took a big step forward from his 2021 to 2022 seasons. After struggling with control as a freshman, Owen posted a 2.05 ERA over 26.2 innings and lowered his walk rate from 16.7% to 7.1%. He continued to pitch well in 2023 and posted a 3.52 ERA through 12 starts and 64 innings, with a 28.9% strikeout rate and 6.5% walk rate. He throws from a three-quarter slot and has a bit of a crossfire landing that could add some deception. Owen sits 92-94 mph with his fastball and has been up to 97. The pitch has solid riding life and he’s throwing it for strikes at a 70% clip this spring. His go-to secondary is a plus slider in the mid 80s that occasionally looks like a cutter and has generated nearly a 50% whiff rate. He’ll also mix in an upper-70s curveball and a mid-80s changeup—both of which are fringy to average offerings. Owen’s size, stuff and above-average control make him an appealing starter prospect and one of the best college lefthanders in a class that’s lacking at the demographic, but he missed time down the stretch with shoulder soreness and his health status could complicate his draft stock.

Most Interesting Day 3 Pick: OF Jared Dickey, 11th round

Dickey has battled his fair share of injuries over the last few years. During the fall of 2022 he had hand surgery and this spring he dealt with a shoulder injury that kept him off the field at times, but when he’s been in the lineup for Tennessee he’s been excellent. The 6-foot-2, 204-pound lefthanded hitter slashed .323/.392/.530 with 12 home runs, a 12.7% strikeout rate and 7.7% walk rate this spring in 60 games. He’s not the best athlete, but Dickey finds a way to barrel the baseball consistently with impressive pure bat speed and a swing that has a lot of moving parts and a late trigger. He hits the ball hard and has homered to the pull side, but there’s some belief that with a swing modification at the next level Dickey could tap into more home run power in games. He was an aggressive hitter this spring who expanded the zone a bit too much, but he made contact at an 81% clip. Prior to the season, there was some thought that Dickey had a chance to catch, but in brief looks behind the plate this spring he didn’t look like a pro catcher. His most likely defensive home is left field, where he could be a fringy defender with fringe-average speed and below-average arm strength. Dickey has a bat-first profile that fits in among the top five rounds.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone