College prospects to watch for KC at #9: 4/7/22

This is the fifth 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 is back, but I’m in a holding pattern with him, 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 a bunch, but he absolutely hammers baseballs and is maybe the best defensive SS in this draft class. He’s got a .516 SLG% and .412 OBP at the moment, so his strikeouts are the only concern of mine because he does a ton of other things well. He may have to sign for under slot value at #9 at the moment, but that would be more than fine with me for Kansas City.

Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly

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

This will be the last time I feature Brooks Lee on this article. He’s got 26 BB, 6 K, and 6 HR on the season and there is just no way he’s still available for Kansas City at #9. So, we’ll go ahead and move on from him after this.

Jacob Berry, OF, LSU

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

If the rumors I’m hearing are true about Berry falling out of the first round, it would be a classic example of teams overthinking the bat. Berry is hitting .371 with 9 HR and just 12 K on the season and we’re a few weeks into SEC play. He’s got more BB (13) than K and a 1.112 OPS. Maybe teams are worried about the defensive ability, and I get that, but even if Berry is just a 20 HR guy in the big leagues, he’ll probably run into 40 doubles too and his hit tool is going to keep him from every having issues with strikeouts. Would love to see Berry get to KC at #9.

Cade Doughty, 3B, LSU

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

Doughty has exploded up draft boards this spring and is out hitting Berry in almost every way so far. He’s got a 1.123 OPS, 21 XBH, 3 SB, and while he does have 22 K in 136 PA (16.2%), he also has 18 walks and is a legitimate defender at 3B. I don’t think he’s probably an option at #9 but if he’s willing to come in at a discount…I’d be for it.

Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech

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

This will also be the last time Jung appears on this list because he has also hit his way into probably a top-5 pick. Literally five minutes after I wrote that sentence, Baseball America dropped their second mock draft of the year with Jace Jung to the Royals at #9. I cannot tell you how excited I would be to have him in Royal blue. He’s legitimately probably the best college player in the class. He may be a little bit homeless on defense, but who freaking cares when you can hit like that. He’s batting .412 at the moment with a 1.328 OPS, 17 K, 31 BB, and 9 HR. This is simply one of the best college seasons any player from a Power 5 conference has had in a while. He would be a NO BRAINER at #9.

Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison

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

DeLauter is absolutely hammering baseballs after a slow start to his season where he looked a little overmatched against what has been a dominant Florida State pitching staff. He’s got a1.296 OPS with 6 HR and a 25:20 BB:K ratio after being the best player on the Cape last summer. I think there’s a good chance he’s still there for KC at #9, but the way some mock drafts are falling, it’s kind of a toss-up at this point.

Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech

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

Cross was mocked to the Royals in Baseball America’s first mock draft earlier this year, and he’s since been mocked down to the Tigers at #12. Cross has dramatically improved his decisions at the plate this spring, with 12 BB and just 10 K in 23 games. The tools are fun, but I think he’s a corner OF long-term and…I don’t know. The exit velocities are loud but I’m not sure how much I love the profile overall. Definitely prefer a couple other guys to him at the moment, but wouldn’t mind him at #9 either.

Dylan Beavers, OF, California

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

Beavers was one of my favorite under-the-radar candidates heading into this season and nothing he’s done this year has changed that. The 6′ 4″ LHH has some of, if not THE, best power in the college draft class and has his strikeout rate at a VERY manageable 18.8% this season to go with a 14.5% BB% and 11 HR in 28 games. I *think* he’d have to be under slot at #9, but honestly I’d be okay with this pick regardless at the moment. The Royals need outfielders and Beavers would move quickly through the lower minors.

Jud Fabian, OF, Florida

  • ++ Raw Power
  • + Defender in CF
  • + Runner
  • Good Approach
  • Average Hit Tool

Fabian slipped out of the first round last year after being one of the favorites to go in the top 10 early on. His strikeout rates were more than worrisome and didn’t quite justify the power. This year, Fabian has 13 HR, a 1.155 OPS, and 27 BB (20.2%) to 24 K (17.9%) in 29 games for the Gators. His defensive ability in CF and offensive potential at the plate absolutely makes him a candidate for KC at #9 as long as he keeps hitting like this through SEC play.

Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola College

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

Collier started the year on absolute fire, but has since cooled off a bit. The only reason he’s still here is that he is 17 years old and should be playing in high school right now. Instead, he graduated early to enroll at Chipola College before and classify himself for the 2022 draft class. He’s got some of the most upside of any college hitter in this class and should absolutely be in play at #9, though I understand being cautious and wanting a safer bet, which there are a lot of in this class.

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9 thoughts on “College prospects to watch for KC at #9: 4/7/22

  1. Interesting that you leave off Daniel Susac of Arizona in this list. I think he has a strong case to go in the top 10. Royals are deep at catcher but you can always trade later on to get major league talent.

    At this time, if it was me I would draft Cam Collier and sign him for about $4mil and then have some extra cash to give to later picks. I also REALLY WANT Justin Crawford with one of the Royals picks in the comp round or round 2. We must find a long term solution to centerfield at the K.

    Last thing – with Cooper Hjerpe dominating college baseball and being left-handed, what are the chances the Royals find him too hard to pass up at #9? They love LH pitching and they love the Oregon State program.

    Liked by 1 person

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