A couple new mock drafts have come out with Royals targeting upside high school players. Baseball America’s recent mock draft has the Royals selecting third baseman Noah Naylor at 18, pitcher Kumar Rocker at 33, and shortstop Jeremiah Jackson at 34. All three are high upside players.
The biggest problem with this BA mock is that they have the first six players off the board as college players. I don’t see that happening. Someone is going off the board early and someone is dropping. I imagine the Royals could use the same strategy they used last year and draft the best high school hitter they can. In this scenario BA has that as Noah Naylor. His older brother is Josh Naylor, who I watched play against the Naturals a few weeks ago. The older Naylor is hitting .351 with 8 HRs for San Antonio in the Texas League. There is a pedigree of hitting here and there is probably is a pro approach as well. The ability to lean on his older brother to help him out adjust to the pro game could be very beneficial for Noah.
If Kumar Rocker drops to us at 33 I will be ecstatic. And so will he because that means he is about to get paid. I imagine that if he drops this far it’s because the Royals would have a pre-draft deal with him on a specific dollar amount most teams won’t be able to match. However, that still means he has to drop to the Royals by asking for a huge bonus to scare teams off and straight out telling teams not to draft him. Rocker has ace potential and is arguably the best high school pitcher in this draft.
The third pick from BA’s mock is Jeremiah Jackson. Jackson is a stretch to stay at short but he does have a plus arm and big power. He could end up at second or third. If Naylor is drafted ahead of him, it’ll probably be as a third baseman which means Jackson will play second when they all get to the big leagues together. Because in our scenario everything is perfect!
This is a good draft mocked to the Royals. If this is the class we get, we will all be very excited and the future will be bright. BA didn’t pick all the way to the end of the CBA round but we will still get 3 more players before pick 100. What a great year to be a fan of the Royals minor leagues as we have such a huge influx of talent coming and Royals Farm will be right there to give you everything you need to know.