Late-Blooming Blake Wolters’ Potential Excites Royals


Righthander Blake Wolters looked at the opposing lineup he was about to face in his second and final instructional league appearance in early October. He noticed the names of Brewers first-rounder Brock Wilken and third-rounder Eric Bitonti.

He especially knew that facing Wilken, one of the top college hitters during his career at Wake Forest, would be a challenge, but he was ready and not intimidated.

“You’ve got to be prepared, no matter who it is you’re facing,” Wolters said.

Wolters wound up striking out Wilken on what one scout called a “nasty slider.”

Wolters’ scoreless inning that day was a nice ending to the Illinois prep’s draft year after being selected by the Royals in the second round and signing for an above-slot $2.8 million.

The Royals typically bring their high school pitchers along slowly. Despite game action limited to instructs, the 19-year-old Wolters made the most of his first pro exposure as he eyes his official pro debut in 2024.

“(I was) just getting accustomed to the everyday life of pro ball, having patience, and just showing up every day with a good work ethic and attitude,” Wolters said, “just wanting to get better each and every day.”

As a rising senior, Wolters didn’t participate in many of the bigger high school showcases, so he was regarded as a late-blooming prospect for the 2023 draft.

“I just didn’t really know about those events earlier,” Wolters said, “and to be honest, I probably wasn’t really ready for them at that point.”

It was the annual PBR Super 60 Showcase in February that put Wolters firmly on the radar of area scouts. His 97.7 mph fastball broke the event’s velocity record. 

Wolters attributes the velocity jump to the work he had been doing in the weight room and improvements in his diet, allowing him to add muscle and stay mobile. 

Wolters seldom used his changeup in high school, so working on that pitch in his fall sideline throwing and bullpen sessions was a priority and will continue to be so in spring training.

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