The college baseball season is upon us as games will begin tomorrow, February 19th. There is an awesome tournament taking place in Arlington, Texas, that features six teams currently ranked in the top 10. Those involved in the tournament include Texas (#9), Mississippi State (#7), Ole Miss (#6), Arkansas (#8), TCU (#10), and Texas Tech (#3). Elsewhere, #1 Florida will take on #21 Miami in a battle of prospects that I think are both in play for the Royals at #7 in this year’s draft: Miami C Adrian Del Castillo and Florida CF Jud Fabian. Before this weekend gets kicked off, I wanted to run down a short list of names that I expect to be in play for Kansas City with the #7 overall pick in this year’s MLB Draft. Keep in mind that this is not a ranking of any kind, just a list of prospects in play for #7. Our official rankings will be out in a few months.
RHP Kumar Rocker, Vanderbilt
I would give this a 5% chance of happening at present but if he falls to #7 you can be certain that KC will be interested. Vanderbilt takes on Wright State in Nashville this weekend and I would imagine that Rocker will be on the mound for Opening Day on Friday at 4:30 pm.
RHP Jack Leiter, Vanderbilt
I know there are some that have Leiter as a sure-fire top-5 pick, but I’m not so sure. I think there’s a 50/50 shot he’s there at #7 and we know the Royals front office has been in love with college arms lately.
SS Matt McLain, UCLA
McLain is a guy that I’m not nearly as high on as others, but he’s a defensive stalwart at SS and he runs well so you know the front office will be interested. We’ll see how he hits this year, maybe he can change my mind, but there’s a lot of other guys I’d rather have than McLain at present. UCLA takes on the University of San Francisco this weekend in Los Angeles.
C Adrian Del Castillo, Miami
Similar story to McLain here. National pundits love him, I’m not as sold. Del Castillo can make himself a lot of money with a strong spring. Miami takes on Florida in Gainesville this weekend.
CF Jud Fabian, Florida
I am all in on Fabian. He’s a similar case as Rocker for me, where I don’t think he’ll be around at #7, but if he is, I absolutely expect the Royals to be interested. He’s a very good defender in CF, runs well, and posted a 1.010 OPS in the first 17 games of 2020 before the season was cancelled. If he’s too good this spring he’s a candidate to go 1.1.
RHP Jaden Hill, LSU
Jaden Hill is a guy that I would LOVE for Kansas City at #7. The athleticism is off the charts and his fastball is among the best in this class. LSU takes on the Air Force for their first game on Saturday, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tigers saved Hill for Notre Dame on Sunday. Either way, he’s a guy who I will certainly be keeping tabs on this weekend.
3B Alex Binelas, Louisville
Binelas is a sneaky prospect that I think could be a huge addition to the Royals system. If you read our recap of the Royals current 3B prospects, you know that it’s not a position of strength for Kansas City. Binelas is a big kid, standing 6′ 3″ 210 lbs., hits left-handed and moves well around the bag at 3B. As a freshman at Louisville, Binelas hit .307/.396/.651/1.047 with 14 HR and 33 XBH in 55 games. His BB/K ratio is spectacular and he’s currently my favorite name for Kansas City at #7. 100% a guy Royals fans should become acquainted with before the draft.
RHP Ty Madden, Texas
My second favorite name for KC right now (assuming Rocker and Fabian are gone) is a guy they already drafted. Madden was a 34th round pick back in 2018 and has since turned himself into a top 10 prospect in this draft. Madden had a 1.80 ERA with 26 K and just 4 BB in his first 25 IP last year before the season was cancelled. There have been reports of his fastball consistently sitting in the upper-90’s this fall and I love what I’ve seen from him in the past. Madden is certainly capable of pitching his way into the top 5, but he’s a guy I expect KC to be sniffing around on a lot this spring.
OF Colton Cowser, Sam Houston State
I don’t think Cowser is in play for #7 just yet, but felt he was worth mentioning. He posted a 1.052 OPS with 7 HR and 31 XBH as a freshman and should hit his way at least into the conversation at #7 as an underslot type of signing. Sam Houston State takes on 20th ranked Oklahoma State this weekend in Huntsville. The first game Friday night will be on ESPN+.
LHP Jordan Wicks, Kansas State
Wicks is a fast riser up these draft boards and pitches at KSU so I couldn’t not mention him. His changeup is the best in the class, his fastball reaches 96 mph, and he’s certainly got the ability to pitch his way into the conversation at #7. KSU will take on Oregon State, Gonzaga, and New Mexico at the Royals complex in Surprise, AZ, this weekend. Royals should be getting a great first look at Wicks early on.