Alright, I’m officially done with the lockout. The only real news that we’ve had for the Royals so far this offseason are as follows:
- Grant Gavin and a handful of other prospects were lost in the MiLB Rule 5 Draft.
- MJ Melendez won a Homerun Derby in the Bahamas with at least a few big league players in it, including Jazz Chisholm (MIA), Dom Smith (NYM), and Lewis Brinson (MIA). That’s a pretty powerful group, so for Melendez to go down there and win the damn thing speaks a bit to the legitimacy of his raw power.
- Nick Pratto, MJ Melendez, Jonathan Bowlan, Maikel Garcia, Nate Webb, and Collin Snider were added to the 40-man roster.
I mean. That puts a bow on things pretty nicely. The Royals elected to sit out of the pre-lockout free agency frenzy and thus we have the slowest offseason ever so far in Kansas City. Luckily the Chiefs are back in first place and have been a blast to watch the last 8 weeks or so. Can you imagine if it was still they Matt Cassel days and all we could do was sit around and wait for Bobby Witt Jr. and spring to roll around? Thanks, Patrick Lavon Mahomes II.
Anyway. MLB Pipeline wisely used the lockout as a chance to shine as the only relevant baseball news for the moment and released their top 100 draft prospects for the 2022 draft class. I tweeted out a thread of thoughts on Twitter (@royalsfarm), but I figured I’d go a little more in-depth, seeing as there’s not much else worth talking about at the moment.
Carter Young, SS, Vanderbilt
Carter Young is an outstanding draft prospect. He’s a great defender at a premium position and he has one of the best offensive skillsets in the draft class. He struck out a bunch during his sophomore campaign at Vandy, but you have to remember too that he only had 18 games as a freshman before the season was cancelled and he was hurt for a good portion of the year last year. He looked out of sorts when Joel and I saw him in Omaha, and then he absolutely blistered a ball over the fence in RCF when his team needed a big hit. His ISO last year as a sophomore in the SEC was .307. He hit 16 HR, 15 doubles, and 5 triples in 61 games for the Commodores.
MLB Pipeline listed Young as their 26th best prospect for the 2022 class when they released their rankings the other day, despite saying this about him: “He’s the best 2022 prospect among college shortstops guaranteed to stick at the position.” I mean…what? The best college SS and he’s #26 on your board? It’s a strong draft class but it ain’t THAT strong. If you told me today that Carter Young would be available for Kansas City at #9 I would be ecstatic. There’s plenty of time for him to change my mind in that regard but I think this drop in the rankings is a gross overreaction to a shoulder injury that Carter suffered last spring. I know the Royals have some great MIF talent right now but you can never have too many SS with 25+ HR power.
Noah Schultz, LHP, Oswego East HS (IL)
Noah Schultz is a 6′ 9″ prep LHP with a low-to-mid-90’s fastball from a low 3/4 arm slot. That should be all you need to know to know that the Royals are probably going to be very interested in this kid this spring. This kid is going to be an absolute weapon against LHH. I have no idea how lefties are supposed to pick up the angle he creates on the mound. He’ll remind you a bit of Randy Johnson with the length and arm angle. He doesn’t throw nearly as hard, yet, but that isn’t necessarily indicative of his ability to develop velocity later and scouts actually seem to think he’s more polished than Johnson was in high school. For my taste, Schultz doesn’t “need” to add any velocity for the Royals to give him over slot money with their second pick in the 2022 draft. I don’t think he’s necessarily in play at #9 just yet, unless he took a Mozzicato type of deal, but I guess I wouldn’t be shocked if he added a couple mph and pitched his way into that conversation either. MLB Pipeline currently has Schultz at #37 on their board, but I can tell you he’ll almost certainly be higher than that on our first rankings sometime in the spring.
Reggie Crawford, LHP/1B, UConn
The Royals drafted Crawford back in 2019 so I think it’s fair to consider him in play at any point (after their pick 9th overall) for the Royals next summer. Crawford is going to be something of a wildcard in the 2022 draft. He was a two-way guy at UConn, hitting 13 HR as a first baseman and also popping 100 mph in the Cape last summer. Then he tore his UCL this past fall and will now miss the entire 2022 season. What do you do with a guy like that? Gamble on the tools? Hope he goes back to UConn and try again in 2023? I think the Royals have put themselves in a great position to gamble on Crawford if he’s available in round 3 or later next summer. He’s going to want over slot value, which is fine, but would dictate a bit of how the Royals ran the rest of their draft. The Royals developmental team has certainly earned the right to be trusted with a guy like Crawford, and it would certainly be a huge ceiling to play with when he gets healthy. This will probably be the most I write about Crawford until right before the draft next summer, but I’ll continue to mention him periodically as a potential draft candidate for KC. MLB Pipeline has Crawford ranked #32 on their preseason list.
Peyton Pallette, RHP, Arkansas
Pallette plays with Dayton Moore’s son, Robert, at Arkansas, so he’ll get to pitch in front of the Royals former GM a ton between 2021 and 2022. Pallette might wind up being the best college arm in the draft class and we know the Royals are willing to load up on college arms when given the opportunity. Pallette’s fastball sits in the mid-90’s but has been as high as 99 and has some really good life and carry to it. His curveball has some great spin rates to it which is something the Royals have invested pretty heavily in the last couple of drafts. I love Pallette, and would generally be a fan of taking him as high as #9, but I think this draft class is really strong in other areas and I’m not 100% certain that Pallette is a top-10 player in this class just yet. Again, all of these guys have time to prove me wrong. MLB Pipeline actually mocked Pallette to the Royals at #9 in their first way-too-early mock last week. They have him ranked 13th on their board which actually is about right, I think. Anyway, definitely an arm to watch this spring.
Robert Moore, MIF, Arkansas
I know Moore plays 2B for Arkansas but I wouldn’t be shocked if a team let him play SS so I’ll give him the “Middle Infield” tag until further notice. We’ll talk about Moore in general as it relates to draft stuff, but this will be the last time I mention him as it relates to the Royals 9th overall pick. There is no chance that Dayton Moore allows Picollo and company to draft his son. None. Go ahead and screen shot this if you want to, because I’d be more than happy to be wrong. Moore is an outstanding player. He’s got a ton of pop in his bat despite being a bit undersized and he is a freaking wizard at second base. The kid could seriously win a handful of Gold Gloves if he reaches the big leagues and has some success with the bat. There’s just no way the Royals would put Dayton Moore in a position where his kid’s future was directly in his hands. That would create more problems internally than it’s worth having Robert as a player. Moore has earned the utmost respect of everyone in the organization, and I expect they won’t even consider Robert at #9 to avoid putting Dayton in any bad situations. It’s unfortunate, but it’s reality. MLB Pipeline has Moore ranked #11 on their preseason list.