SS Matt McLain, UCLA
Matt McLain didn’t take long to make me think twice about not liking him very much for KC at #7. The Bruins SS is currently slashing .304/.484/.522/1.006 with 3 XBH, 7 BB, and just 2 K through his team’s first 7 games. McLain is a plus runner and a great defender, so you know the Royals will like that, but it was the bat that concerned me a little heading into this spring. McLain is trying to remove those concerns quick fast and in a hurry.
RHP Kumar Rocker, Vanderbilt
I’m not going to waste a ton of time here. 0.00 ERA in 9 IP with 14 K so far this spring.
RHP Jack Leiter, RHP
Not wasting a ton of time here either. 0.00 ERA, 10 IP, 15 K. Who will be the #1 pick? It’s gonna be a fun spring.
C Adrian Del Castillo, Miami
Del Castillo is a guy that I’m not personally very high on, but I’m coming around a little bit. He is a guy however that I expect the Royals are pretty high on. He’s hitting .320/.433/.400/.833 with 2 XBH, 3 BB, and 4 K through the first 6 games for “The U” this spring. The power hasn’t really come along just yet, but it’s certainly in there and the plate discipline looks to be in good shape at the moment. Definitely one to keep an eye on this spring.
CF Jud Fabian, Florida
Unlike the first two guys on this list, Fabian was a guy that I was in love with coming into this spring. It seems unlikely that he’s still around for KC at #7, but I’m going to keep listing him anyway because he’s still my favorite option for KC here. Fabian is currently hitting .257/.366/.600/.966 through Florida’s first 8 games with 4 HR, 6 BB, and 13 K…it’s definitely been an interesting spring for the young man to this point, but sort of on brand as well. We’ll be keeping a very close eye on Fabian all spring.
RHP Jaden Hill, LSU
Jaden Hill is trying to make himself some money this spring. He’s thrown 10 shutout innings to this point with 9 K and no walks. The big righty has run his fastball into the upper-90’s with regularity and shown off a couple of lethal offspeed pitches. I don’t know how likely it is that he’s still available at #7, but if he is, the Royals would be getting one of the most electrifying talents in the draft.
3B Alex Binelas, Louisville
The Louisville Cardinals are 6-1 but it’s not really been much thanks to Binelas at this point. Binelas was my favorite bat that I thought KC could realistically wind up with at #7 preseason, but he’s taking his lumps so far this spring. Binelas is currently slashing just .077/.194/.115/.309 with 1 double, 3 BB, and 7 K. I’m not going to be looking too much into his numbers until April. He broke his hamate bone last spring and between the hamate injury and COVID, I’m really not super worried about hitters’ stats just yet. Binelas doesn’t look totally overwhelmed at the plate despite a lack of overall success. If he bounces back later this spring, he’d be a great addition to KC’s system.
RHP Ty Madden, Texas
My favorite pitcher that I think we can reasonably expect to still be around at #7 had himself a hell of a weekend. After looking a little rusty in his first start, Madden went out and fired 7 shutout innings against BYU allowing just 1 hit, 1 BB, and striking out 11. Madden’s fastball ran up to 98 mph and his slider looked filthy. At the moment, he may be my favorite “realistic” option for KC at #7 until Binelas bounces back a little bit. Remember that the Royals already drafted Madden once back in 2018.
LHP Jordan Wicks, K-State
Wicks had another 10 K effort this past weekend against a feisty Western Michigan group. His changeup was absolutely gross and his slider looks to have made some strides since last spring. Wicks’ fastball still sits 90-91, which could raise a red flag for teams in the top 15, but his pitchability and offspeed stuff sure look the part of a top 10 pick so far. In 13 IP this spring, Wicks’ ERA sits at 2.77 with 9 hits allowed, 3 BB, and 20 K.
OF Christian Franklin, Arkansas
Our first newcomer to the list. Franklin has simply been too good to ignore so far this spring. The Razorbacks are currently the unanimous #1 team in the country and Franklin is hitting .276/.344/.655/.999 with 4 XBH (3 HR) for the undefeated Hogs. The national prospect folks are pretty split on Franklin at the moment. Our guy Mason McRae has him #5 overall on his draft board. Most major publications have him somewhere between 15 and 45. Meanwhile, FanGraphs doesn’t even have him in their top 100. He’s certainly kind of polarizing, but he plays with Dayton Moore’s son at Arkansas and he’s a Rockhurst High School graduate. Even if he’s not a realistic option at #7, his tools certainly make him an attractive option for the Royals second pick at #43, if he falls that far….