College prospects to watch for KC at #9: 3/24/22

This is the fourth article we’ve written about college draft prospects for the upcoming 2022 MLB Draft. The goal is to give you an idea of some guys who could be available for Kansas City with the 9th overall pick in the draft. Here are the links to the first two that I wrote:

There are a few names that I’ve begun adding and removing to the list based on a number of factors. Carson Whisenhunt is suspended for the season, Landon Sims had Tommy John Surgery, Blade Tidwell still hasn’t pitched, etc. So, we’re a little over a month into the college season. Here’s about how I think the draft is lining up at the moment in terms of college prospects in play for KC at #9.

Carter Young, SS, Vanderbilt

  • + Defender
  • Good power traits
  • Good runner
  • Decent approach
  • Decent hit tool

Young is still striking out in nearly 25% of his PA at Vanderbilt, but he’s turned on the offensive production of late and is currently slashing .324/.448/.634/1.082 with 11 XBH and a .67 BB/K ratio. Young may not exactly be the 9th best prospect in this draft class, but he’s got tremendous upside and if you can save a million dollars or two on his signing bonus, you could set yourself up well for your second pick in the Comp. A round.

Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly

  • ++ Hit tool
  • + Raw power
  • Switch hitter
  • Might have to move to 3B long-term

This might be the last time that I include Lee on this list. He’s simply hitting way too well to think he could still be available at #9. Lee is slashing .430/.531/.785/1.316 with 4 HR and 14 doubles. He’s walked 18 times and struck out just 5. The big three prep bats may go first, second, and third overall in June, but Lee has as good a chance as anyone right now for the fourth pick.

Jacob Berry, OF, LSU

  • ++ Hit tool
  • ++ Raw power
  • Great approach
  • Not much of a defender

Berry has moved from 3B to the OF while at LSU, but it hasn’t slowed his bat down one bit. Berry is hitting .345/.420/.690/1.110 with 8 HR, 14 XBH, 8 BB, and 9 K on the season for the Bayou Bengals. I’m starting to feel more confident that questions about Berry’s defense and apparently raw power could have him available for KC at #9. Unless someone else drops, Berry would be an obvious choice for KC and shouldn’t be passed up on. He’s simply too good of a hitter.

Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech

  • + Hit tool
  • ++ Approach
  • ++ Raw Power
  • Not a great defender

Jung and Berry are pretty similar in a lot of ways, Jung is just a little bit better of an overall athlete and should defend well enough at 2B to not be a total liability. Jung is hitting .388/.538/.650/1.188 with 4 HR, 12 XBH, 23 BB, and just 13 K on the season for the Red Raiders. Again, this bat is too good to pass up if he’s there at #9 for some reason.

Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison

  • + Runner
  • ++ Arm
  • ++ Raw power
  • + Hit tool
  • Chance to stick in CF

DeLauter started off a little slow, missed some time with an injury, but he’s back in the lineup and raking as we get into conference play. DeLauter is hitting .440/.561/.760/1.321 with 8 XBH and 6 SB in 14 games this season. There’s a few different ways the draft could fall for DeLauter this spring, but he would be a fantastic get for KC at #9 if he’s still available for some reason.

Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech

  • + Runner
  • + Hit tool
  • ++ Raw power
  • + Defender in the COF

Cross has been mocked to the Royals at #9 in both of Baseball America’s mock drafts so far, and while I was a little skeptical at first, I’d feel way better about that pick now than I did in the preseason. Cross has struck out just 6 times this year in 80 PA (7.5%) and is slashing .319/.410/.597/1.007 with 2 HR and 12 XBH. I don’t think Cross is a center fielder long-term anymore, which is fine, but he’s got a ton of raw power and has shown an ability to cut down on strikeouts this spring which is a great development for his draft stock. Definitely a name to keep watching for KC.

Dylan Beavers, OF, California

  • + Runner
  • + Hit tool
  • ++ Raw power
  • Chance to stick in CF

Beavers is going to have to hit a little more if he wants slot value at #9, but I still think he could potentially be in play for Kansas City for a number of reasons. He hits for a TON of power, evidenced by his 18 HR last spring and his 7 HR already this spring, and he runs really well for a guy who is 6′ 4″ 205′. He’s slashing .272/.388/.580/.968 on the season with 16 BB (16.3%) and 18 K (18.4%). A guy with that much power, that much speed, and can keep his K% under 20% is certainly worth keeping an eye on. The rest is up to how scouts feel his swing will play at the next level.

Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola College

  • ++ Raw power
  • + Hit tool
  • ++ Athlete
  • Chance to be good at 3B

Collier has cooled off a bit after setting the world on fire earlier in the season, but he’s still handling his own as a 17-year old playing JUCO baseball. Collier left high school early to play for Chipola this spring, reclassifying himself for the 2022 draft class instead of 2023 (a la Bryce Harper) and it looks like it could pay dividends for him this July. Collier doesn’t have the same floor as guys like Berry, Jung, Cross, or even Beavers, but he’s got so much upside thanks to his raw athleticism and youth compared to the field. He’s a high school-aged kid playing against college kids, after all. Anyway…I don’t know if I expect Collier to be in play at #9, but he absolutely should be.

Cade Doughty, 3B, LSU

  • + Hit tool
  • + Raw power
  • + Approach
  • + Athlete
  • ++ Intangibles

Only on a Royals-centric website would we be talking about a college player’s intangibles. Doughty is praised as a leader in the LSU dugout and is the type of person you know the Royals want in their organization. I also think he’s being wildly underrated as a player. For all the praise I gave Berry earlier, Doughty is out hitting him at the moment, slashing .375/.475/.738/1.212 with 6 HR and 11 doubles with 14 BB and just 15 K in 21 games. I’m not entirely sure he has the tools you typically look for with the 9th overall pick, but he’s certainly hitting and if you can save some money on him at #9, he would move QUICK through the lower levels of the minor leagues. Interesting guy to watch moving into SEC play.

That’s nine college hitters I’d be more than okay with in a Royals uniform in July and doesn’t even include the big three prep bats or Dylan Lesko, the top arm in this draft class. 13 players that the Royals would be lucky to add to the system this summer with that 9th overall pick. As long as everyone keeps hitting and stays healthy, the Royals should be in a great spot to add an impact bat to their organization.

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6 thoughts on “College prospects to watch for KC at #9: 3/24/22

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