If I had to guess the player the Royals were most likely to land with one of their picks on day one, two particular names would come to mind. Jordan Groshans… and Cole Wilcox. A possibility for the Royals at picks 18, 33, and 34, Wilcox is one of the more intriguing arms in this draft class.
Part of the group of loaded Georgia prep pitchers, Wilcox kept his name afloat other prospects such as Kumar Rocker and Ethan Hankins. Ever since I started looking at prospects for this draft class, Wilcox has always been one of my favorite arms.
The arsenal is about as good as it gets for a high school pitcher. Wilcox tops out with the some the best velocity in this draft, possessing a heater that can touch 99 MPH. What becomes even more intriguing is the thought of him filling out his large 6’5″ 220 lbs frame. We’re definitely looking at elite velocity here.
Paired with the velocity, the fastball also features some natural horizontal action on it.
The signature offering for Wilcox is his plus-plus changeup. It’s a hard one, sitting in the mid-80s, featuring some beautiful fade. It’s incredibly polished for a prep arm, flashing plus command. I love these fastball/changeup guys coming out of high school and Wilcox perfectly fits that bill.
Wilcox also throws a slider that is a bit of a work in progress. It also runs on velocity (82-85 MPH), but he’s had trouble throwing it with consistency and control.
I guess if you were going to look for a concern on Wilcox, it would be with the arm path. The arm speed for him is terrific, but he throws from that aggressive, taxing 3/4 arm slot. The mechanics and effort are simple though. It’s unbelievable how effortless he throws upper-90s.
He’s projectable, durable, and he repeats his delivery well enough to ease some concern for injuries down the road.
I love Wilcox and he’s easily my number one prep target for the Royals. If they really wanted to make sure they got him (and they have been linked to him), they’d pick him at 18. If not, it’s still very possibly he’s available for their picks at 33/34, but I’d be scared about the Rays at picks 31 and 32.
Photo Credits: Robin Rudd—Time Free Press