College prospects to watch for KC at #9: 5/10/22

This is the seventh 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 six that I wrote:

I did not realize it has been almost a month since we released our initial top-10 draft prospects write up. Didn’t mean to go that long without a little draft coverage on the site. Will try to be more consistent with that.

For this article, I’m taking Carter Young off the list. The Vanderbilt SS is still extremely talented and is worth a look with every pick after #9, he just isn’t hitting anywhere near good enough for a top-10 pick right now. Cade Doughty has come off the list for similar reasons. I’ve also removed Brooks Lee because there is a precisely 0.0% chance the Cal Poly SS is still there at #9 at this point. This leaves us with Lee and four prep bats that could all go in the first nine picks, meaning the Royals should have their pick of one of those top prep bats and one of the following college hitters available at #9 if they choose to go the offensive route…

Jacob Berry, OF, LSU

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

In our last write up in April, Berry was hitting .370 with a 1.101 OPS. One month of SEC play later and he’s hitting .378 with an OPS of 1.134 and now has more walks than strikeouts for the season. I know he’s not a phenomenal athlete, and it’s going to cause him some issues defensively, but not taking him in the first seven picks or so would be a classic example of over thinking. Remember when people were concerned about Andrew Vaughn’s defense? He’s currently got a 180 wRC+ in the big leagues. I get it, the Royals value athleticism and defense, passing on Berry would be a massive mistake.

Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech

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

Teams have just all together stopped pitching to Jace Jung. The kid has 52 walks and just 27 strikeouts for the Red Raiders this spring and still has 30 XBH despite getting duck-all to hit for the last month. Baseball America actually mocked Jung to the Royals at one point, and I guess if you include the four prep bats (Green, Jones, Holliday, Johnson), Lee, Jung, and Berry, there’s at least a decent chance that one of these seven players gets to the ninth overall pick. Dylan Lesko tearing his UCL is bad news for the Royals, because he would’ve helped one of these bats get to them, but I still think there’s a chance Jung gets there anyway.

Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison

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

DeLauter broke his foot and won’t play anymore this spring, but I’m still a believer in the overall tools. There aren’t 10 prospects in this draft with more upside in my opinion and if you don’t have to pay him full slot at #9, well then that’s just a bonus at that point.

Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech

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

The strikeouts have picked up for Cross a bit in ACC play, which isn’t totally unexpected, but he still has 27 XBH, 24 BB, and just 28 K on the season for the Hokies. He’s also 9-9 in stolen base attempts with an OPS north of 1.000. Someone’s gotta go #9, and while I haven’t been Cross’ biggest fan, he’s got huge exit velocities and if he’s the best guy available, you could certainly do worse.

Dylan Beavers, OF, California

  • + Runner
  • + Hit tool
  • ++ Raw power
  • Good defender in the corners

I still think Beavers is one of the 12 or 13 best prospects in this draft class. He’s got huge power potential, legitimate 30 HR power, and doesn’t swing and miss as much as you might expect from someone with his profile. He’s got 15 HR, 32 XBH, 42 BB (18.2%), and 46 K (19.9%) in 231 PA for the Golden Bears this spring to go with a .297 batting average and 1.083 OPS. I haven’t seen him near the top of many boards, but he’s right in the range of being a good option at #9 for me.

Jud Fabian, OF, Florida

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

Fabian now has 19 HR for the Gators this spring to go with a 22.1% BB% and 20.1% K%. He’s got some similar upside as Beavers offensively, though that comes with a little more volatility, but he is an extremely gifted defender in CF with a cannon for an arm. If the Royals really wanted to take a gamble on their potential CF of the future, this is where I would turn.

Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola College

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

Cam Collier’s batted ball data is nuts. The kid is supposed to be a senior in high school this year and instead was a 17-year old terrorizing some of the best JUCO arms in the country earlier this spring. He’s slashing .343/.432/.550/.982 with a K% around 15% and a BB% around 12%. Did I mention the kid is supposed to be playing high school baseball right now? You want to take a gamble on a “college” bat that has the most upside of nearly anyone in this draft? Take Cam Collier. It’s a little untraditional, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. This is exactly what Bryce Harper did his senior year before he was the #1 overall pick. Collier could probably play in Low-A later this year and would make that lower tier of hitters (Jensen, Collins, Pena, etc.) dynamic as all get out.

2 thoughts on “College prospects to watch for KC at #9: 5/10/22

  1. Pingback: MiLM for 5/11/22: Vinnie homered again | Royals Farm Report

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