Royals Find Carter Jensen In Their Backyard
Carter Jensen grew up in the Kansas City area, attended games at Kauffman Stadium with his family over the years, and played travel ball with the Royals' scout team.
Being drafted by his hometown team, an experience that Jensen described as a surreal feeling, was quite fortuitous for many reasons, but especially one.
“It was almost like a sigh of relief,” Jensen said, “because I’ve been a Royals fan, and now it means I don’t have to stop.”
A catcher at Park Hill High in Kansas City, Mo., Jensen was drafted by the Royals in the third round this year. After signing he reported to the organization’s complex in Surprise, Ariz.
The fact that the Royals drafted a local player is no coincidence.
“We pay a ton of attention to our backyard,” Royals scouting coordinator Jack Monahan said. “It’s something that (general manager) Dayton (Moore) has preached, and we’re lucky to have an excellent area supervisor in Matt Price.”
Monahan said that Jensen has been on the Royals' radar since he was 15.
What the Royals are getting in the 18-year-old Jensen is an athletic lefthanded hitter with an impressive hit tool and a knack for finding the barrel. He’s been catching for just over four years, but he’s already got a strong catcher’s body, good hands and an arm that gives his throws good carry.
“(He’s a) sneaky athlete for the size he is,” Monahan said of the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Jensen. “He carries himself very well, and we really think there’s more to unlock with who he is as a prospect.”
With so much to learn about how to be a professional athlete and continually improve in his craft, Jensen has discovered in his short time at the Royals' complex that he can take away more than just baseball skills as he meets a diverse set of teammates.
“The amount of people who have different backgrounds, different histories and different cultures,” Jensen said, “being able to expand from what I know and learn from other people and what they grew up with has been awesome.”
— Jensen isn’t the only Kansas City-area product in this year’s Royals draft class. Second-round righthander Ben Kudrna played with Jensen on the Royals' scout team and attended high school in Overland Park, Kan. Both Jensen and Kudrna were committed to Louisiana State and planned to room together had they made it to Baton Rouge.
“(We’ve) become super close in the year and a half or two years, playing against each other and playing with each other,” Jensen said about Kudrna. “We’ve been able to stick together through all of this and have each other’s back . . . It helps a lot.”
— The Royals signed their entire class of 21 draft picks, with North Carolina State Luca Tresh, a 17th-round pick, agreeing to terms for a $423,000 bonus just one week before the signing deadline.
— The only prospect acquired by the Royals at the trade deadline was reliever Kasey Kalich, the return in the deal that sent outfielder Jorge Soler to Atlanta. The 23-year-old righthander was the Braves fourth-round pick from Texas A&M in 2019 and had posted a 3.26 ERA and five saves in 20 relief appearances with High-A Rome.
The Royals will also receive a player to be named in the trade that sent veteran southpaw Danny Duffy to the Dodgers.