If you missed it last night, here is the link to the full 4.5 hour mock draft that was streamed live on the Prospects Live YouTube channel.
If you want to jump ahead and hear me talk with the Prospects Live guys about the two picks I made for the Royals, pick #7 comes at the 45:07 mark and pick #43 comes at the 3:15:12 mark. We also decided to do 2nd round comp picks on Twitter, so I’ll have write ups for you here on pick #7, pick #43, and pick #66.
Really quick, here’s how the first 6 picks of the mock draft went:
- Marcel Mayer – PIT
- Jackson Jobe – TEX
- Jack Leiter – DET
- Jordan Lawlar – BOS
- Colton Cowser – BAL
- Kumar Rocker – ARI
I’ve started to soften on Rocker a little bit, and I’ll have more about that in another post at another time, but I was still anticipating him being the best player available on my board at #7. I was shocked that Henry Davis fell all the way to my pick.
Pick #7: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
Henry Davis is THE best college bat in this draft class and he just happens to have a 70-grade arm behind home plate. This spring at Louisville, Davis slashed .370/.482/.663/1.145 with 9 doubles and 15 HR in 50 games. He walked more than he struck out (31 BB to 24 K) and posted some of the best batted ball data in all of college baseball. He hit some absolute laser beams into parking lots and he hit some moon shots off scoreboards. He also stole 10 bases. To be fair, there is approximately a 10% chance, at best, that Davis is actually available for Kansas City on July 11th. The first 6 guys off the board in this mock draft could all certainly find their way into the top 6, leaving Davis for KC at #7, I just can’t imagine it actually happening. Should KC wind up with Davis, however, they’ll be getting the best college hitter in the draft class that could potentially join the core of their prospects in Kansas City by the end of 2023.
Given that we got the best college bat in the draft at #7, there could be some questions about how much money we’ll have left in our bonus pool. As we got down the board, I really thought we would still be in a position that we could afford a prep player if it came to it. As it was, Will Taylor, Lonnie White Jr., and Izaac Pacheco and James Wood all went in round 2, as did my favorite college bat left, Ethan Wilson. So at #43, we wound up with…
Pick #43: Matt Mikulski, LHP, Fordham
We had Matt Mikulski at #20 on the most recent edition of our draft rankings, so we were obviously thrilled to see him there at #43 still. Mikulski went undrafted as a junior in 2020, and totally reworked his delivery upon his return for his senior season at Fordham. He made himself a bunch of money in doing so. Mikulski’s new delivery is just about impossible to pick up, especially for left-handed hitters. His fastball has been clocked as high as 100 mph, and he legitimately commands three offspeed pitches with remarkable consistency, considering the funkiness of his delivery. He’s the type of college arm that could fly through a MiLB system. Maybe not quite as fast as Garrett Crochet did for the White Sox last year, but I could see a contender drafting him and seeing if he could pitch in a big league bullpen by season’s end. Obviously the Royals wouldn’t need to do that, but Mikulski is another guy that, like Davis, could join the Royals core in the big leagues by the end of 2023.
Given the nature of Mikulski being a college senior, the Royals should be able to save a decent amount of money in signing bonus money here. And since we’re saving money after going with the two best college players on our board at #7 and #43, with the 66th overall pick, the Kansas City Royals select…
Pick #66: Ben Kudrna, RHP, Blue Valley Southwest High School (KS)
And now for some prep upside. Ben Kudrna may be my favorite prep arm in the draft after Jackson Jobe. It’s close, and there are a ton of good options, but Kudrna can really spin it and his delivery is impressively smooth compared to other prep arms. He’s got an infinite amount of projection left and would immediately have one of the highest ceilings of any pitcher in the Royals system. You’d be banking on the Royals ability to develop a prep arm, but we’ve seen good strides from Ben Hernandez this summer and I think there’s reason to be optimistic about the Royals PD moving forward. It’s certainly not the Dodgers or Indians staff, but it’s definitely improving. If Kudrna is still on the board at #66, expect the Royals to take a real look at the local kid with a chance for him to begin next year in Columbia, similarly to Ben Hernandez this year.
What you should take away from this exercise is not that the Royals will wind up with these three exact players. I started this thing off with the fact that Henry Davis almost surely won’t actually be available for Kansas City at #7. What you should take away, however, is that regardless of who does fall to the Royals at these picks, they are going to get three really talented players this July. This is one of the deepest draft classes I’ve seen in a while in terms of viable prospects that could immediately land in any given team’s top 30 prospects list. Ben Kudrna is listed as FanGraphs’ 50th best prospect and he was still there at #66. Regardless of who GMDM and company select, they’re going to walk away with an improved system this summer.