2021 college draft prospects update: April 6

SS Matt McLain, UCLA

McLain has started all 25 of UCLA’s games at SS and is currently slashing .284/.385/.471/.856 with 4 HR, 10 XBH, 19 K, 17 BB, and 3 SB. McLain was never my favorite option for KC at #7 this summer, and he hasn’t done a whole lot to sway my opinion either. However, he is a fantastic defender at SS and he has some good raw tools, so I expect the Royals will be at least keeping an eye on him for the remainder of the spring. With the way the top of the draft class is shaping up, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Royals tried to sign someone like McLain under slot value at #7 to save some money for their next pick at #43.

RHP Kumar Rocker, Vanderbilt

Rocker is currently sporting a 0.84 ERA with 61 K, 12 BB, and 20 hits allowed in 43 IP. There’s been some mild concern about his fastball veto over his last couple starts, but I still wouldn’t hesitate to take Rocker at #7 if I were KC. If he’s there for any reason at all, take him at all costs.

RHP Jack Leiter, Vanderbilt

Rocker’s teammate, Leiter’s ERA is currently 0.43 with 71 K, 16 BB, and 10 hits allowed in 42 IP this spring. Unless he demands like $9M, there is a 0% chance that he’s going to be there at #7 at this point.

C Adrian Del Castillo, Miami

Del Castillo wasn’t my favorite hitting prospect coming into the spring, but he’s actually been pretty solid for the Hurricanes through their first 24 games. Del Castillo is slashing .323/.407/.505/.912 with 3 HR, 10 XBH, 12 K, and 10 BB. I’ve personally been most impressed with his ability to keep the strikeouts down while still posting an ISO of .182. I would certainly expect the Royals to have Del Castillo, who has a cannon behind home plate, high on their radar.

CF Jud Fabian, Florida

Unlike McLain and Del Castillo, Fabian was my favorite option for KC at #7 coming into this spring. In fact, I never even really considered the fact that he would even be there at #7 for a while. The poor kid is having a rough go of things lately, and his season slash is a weird .234/.333/.523/.856 with 9 HR and 4 doubles to go with 16 BB. Sounds pretty good. The problem is he’s also struck out 46 times in 123 PA. That’s good for a 37.4% K%. That’s less than great. The tools are no joke. The kid is great in CF and has all kinds of power, but the Royals shouldn’t be gambling with his swing and miss issues at #7 unless it’s at a discount.

RHP Jaden Hill, LSU

After struggling over his last couple starts, it was announced that Jaden Hill will need Tommy John Surgery to repair a torn UCL in his throwing elbow. I’m not entirely sure what his future will look like at the moment. 50/50 chance he signs and rehabs with a pro team or returns to college.

3B Alex Binelas, Louisville

Alex Binelas did not look the same earlier this spring while coming back from hamate surgery. Binelas’ power looked zapped early, he struck out a bunch, and had been playing more 1B than I’m comfortable with for a guy at #7. Binelas is slashing just .212/.317/.424/.741 with 4 HR, 11 XBH, 26 K, and 12 BB. With that said, Binelas looks like he’s getting back to his old self lately. If Binelas fell to #43 and KC could swoop him up there, I would be ecstatic. I just expect there will be better options available at #7 at the moment. There’s still plenty of time for Binelas to reinsert himself into the conversation at #7.

C Henry Davis, Louisville

You wanna talk about a guy that launched himself from a borderline first rounder to a top 10 conversation? Henry Davis has been absolutely crushing baseballs this spring while playing brilliantly behind home plate for the Cardinals. Davis is slashing .385/.492/.677/1.169 with 7 HR, 7 doubles, 17 BB, and just 10 K through Louisville’s first 26 games. Davis’ appearance will remind folks of former Astro Evan Gattis, but unlike Gattis, Davis is a legitimately good catcher as well. I don’t want to make too much of 115 PA, but my goodness has Davis been impressive this spring.

RHP Ty Madden, Texas

My (realistic) favorite arm for KC heading into this spring has dominated through his first 7 starts. Madden, a 2018 Royals draftee, has a 1.52 ERA with 55 K and just 15 BB in 47.1 IP. His fastball has run up into the upper-90’s and his slider has been unhittable. Depending on how the first 6 picks fall, Madden could legitimately be the best player left on the board when KC picks at #7.

LHP Jordan Wicks, Kansas State

Jordan Wicks is probably only an option at #7 if he’s willing to sign under slot value, but I wouldn’t rule it out yet either. His ERA is currently 3.40 through his first 42.1 IP (7 starts), with 60 K to just 12 BB. His changeup may be the best in the draft class, but his fastball works in the low-90’s and could scare off teams in the top 10.

OF Christian Franklin, Arkansas

Franklin, a Rockhurst High School grad, is currently slashing .302/.422/.604/1.026 through Arkansas’ first 26 games. He’s struck out 28 times (~25% K%), but he’s also got 14 walks and his tools are just too loud to ignore at the moment. I think Franklin has the ability to stick in CF through the minors and could instantly provide a jolt of upper level intrigue for the Royals farm system.

RHP Sam Bachman, Miami-Ohio

Bachman may have the best raw stuff in the 2021 draft class after Leiter and Rocker. The 6′ 1″ RHP gets the most out of his body, running his fastball into the upper-90’s with regularity and offering up an absolutely filthy hook. His ERA is 0.90 through his first 20 IP of the 2021 season with 32 K and just 7 BB. He’s going to have to prove he’s healthy in order to keep his name in the conversation for a top 10 pick, but you can’t question the raw stuff Bachman offers.

OF Sal Frelick, Boston College

Like Henry Davis, Frelick has launched himself into top 10 conversations by being a flat stud in the what looks like a weaker draft class at the moment. Frelick is currently hitting .381/.445/.619/1.064 with 5 HR, 16 XBH, 6 SB, 12 BB, and just 14 K through the Eagles’ first 26 games of the year. Frelick is a phenomenal athlete with a compact swing that could stick in CF and continue hitting for legitimate power as he moves through the minor leagues. We’re going to need to see him prove it against better competition, but my gosh does this kid look good early on.

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