With the Kansas City Royals having potentially 7 of the top 100 picks in next June’s draft (currently own numbers 18, 31, and 37), we’re going to be doing a ton of draft coverage here at Royals Farm Report. Part of our draft coverage will include draft targets for the Royals for the upcoming draft. Our fifth draft target comes from a mock draft done by Taylor Blake Ward over at 247sports.com.
Slade Cecconi is a 6′ 4″, 193′ pitcher that will be 19 years old when the draft rolls around in June. Still a bit slender for his height, Cecconi uses his long arms to his advantage by creating a lot of leverage on his fastball, allowing him to reach the mid-90’s consistently. Cecconi has been gunned throwing 96 mph off the mound, but tends to sit 93-94 during his outings.
Here’s what Taylor Blake Ward had to say about Cecconi in his mock draft article:
“Though bonuses haven’t been shared and in this mock, the initial pick may require a high load, the Royals should venture into the highest ceilings they can to bolster their farm system. Coming from an elite program in Florida, Slade Cecconi is already sitting in the mid-to-high 90’s with his fastball and has shown steady improvement of his slider. A power arm never hurts, and Kansas City saw a trio help win them a title not too long ago.”
The funny thing about Taylor’s mock draft is, he has the Royals taking another prep pitcher at 18, and Cecconi at 31. I for one like Cecconi far more than the pitcher he mocked to KC at 18 (we’ll write him up soon enough). Regardless, I would actually really like the pick for KC. Let’s break down Slade Cecconi a little bit.
As you can see, even with Cecconi’s slender frame, he uses a super smooth and easy delivery to reach back and get a mid-90’s fastball. Cecconi’s make up is super impressive for a kid his size. Given that he’s still 18 and only weighs 193′, Cecconi should have plenty of room to grow into his body, making 94-95 that much easier in his future.
In addition to easy power with the fastball, check this thing out:
That is one nasty slider. I mean, that thing is absolutely filthy. These aren’t JV hitters he’s facing in a Perfect Game competition either. That is probably a really good hitter that Cecconi made look absolutely ridiculous. Cecconi’s changeup and curveball would both still be described as “developing,” but his + fastball and + slider ought to have scouts drooling at the mouth.
The Royals have a bit of a recent track record when it comes to drafting prep pitchers with their first round picks. Foster Griffin, Nolan Watson, Mike Montgomery, and Ashe Russell were all first round picks out of high school. Cecconi could be next in line for this Royals draft trend.
I’d really never given Cecconi much thought as far as this draft goes. I’d heard his name and seen his numbers but never the video. The video may be the most impressive part of Cecconi’s resume. Thanks to Taylor Blake Ward for putting this kid on my draft radar. Foster Griffin is certainly a recent example of drafting prep pitchers successfully, we’ll see if the Royals decide to roll the dice again in 2018.
Photo Credits: Brace Hemmelgarn – Getty Images