On this day in which we remember things, let's remember that the MLB draft is coming up. To refresh your memory, assuming you've read our other previous posts pertaining to the draft, you'll find the links below for your refreshment.
Of course as we near the draft, pundits start "mocking" those drafts. Not mock as in make fun of, but mock as in creating a potential unauthentic but attempted creation. Below, you'll find the Royals centric results of some of those contemporary mocks by pundits.
Kansas City remains tied to Cornelius Randolph, despite his potentially difficult signability. His bat remains one of the best in the prep class.
Selection: Cornelius Randolph, ss, Griffin (Ga.) HS
MLB Draft Countdown
21 Kansas City Royals
Cornelius Randolph 3B Griffin HS (GA)
Fueled By Sports
21 Kansas City Royals
D.J. Stewart OF 6'0" 230 Florida State
Through the Fence
21. Kansas City Royals — Garrett Whitley, OF, Niskayuna HS (NY)
Whitley was soaring over the last month but has leveled off a bit lately. He has some of the best tools among the prep bats, and he is a terrific athlete with a lot of upside. At 6'-2" and 200 pounds, the right-hander has raw power to all fields, as well as an advanced approach at the plate. His speed grades out as plus and his arm is strong enough to hold down any outfield spot. He was a beast on the summer circuit and continued to impress this spring. Committed to Wake Forest.
33. Kansas City Royals — Justin Hooper, LHP, De La Salle HS (CA)
Hooper has the type of future stuff scouts dream of. At 6'-7" and 230 pounds, the southpaw has the frame to be an intimidating force on the bump. He can also touch 96 mph, which is silly from the left side. He doesn't maintain velocity, however, and his command can get the best of him at times. His secondary offerings are average but show promise, but the upside is there for a team willing to pay a little extra. As a junior, he had 58 K/35 BB over 44.2 innings. This season, he had 56 K/25 BB over 40 innings. Committed to UCLA.
64. Kansas City Royals
Cole Sands, RHP, North Florida Christian HS (FL)
21. Kansas City Royals
Cornelius Randolph, SS, Griffin (Ga.) HS
Though the industry generally believes Randolph won't get past the Royals, they're also bullish on the top tier of high school arms. Kansas City also strongly considered taking Bickford at No. 8 two years ago, so he could be in their mix again.
21. Kansas City Royals - RHP Ashe Russell, Cathedral Catholic HS (IN)
The Kansas City Royals are going to be really good for a long time, and adding Ashe Russell would only reinforce that point. Russell has top-notch talent, but there have been some reported maturity issues. He'll have four or five years in the minor league system to get those ironed out.
ESPN (Keith Law)
Phil Bickford, College of Southern Nevada
Analysis: The Royals had great success with their first-round pick last year, taking TCU lefty starter Brandon Finnegan and using him in their major-league bullpen in September and the playoffs; they could do the same with Bickford, who can reach the upper 90s in relief, this fall.
You may notice one name oft-recurring: Cornelius Randolph.
Here you'll find an article I wrote about him, but to recap:
Potential plus hit tool
Above average raw power that could play in game through the hit tool
Below average defense at SS
Moving to 3rd eventually
Average or better arm
Also mentioned is Ashe Russell, who I'll recap via the Draft Names to Know thread (that's not out just yet).
Ashe Russell, RHP Cathedral High School (IN)
Some have Russell pegged as a reliever immediately. He's got excellent stuff that would play very well in the rotation, but his delivery/mechanics are worrisome. It's a low 3/4 arm slot and the arm speed is faster than you'd like, creating some spotty command. Keith Law mentioned Chris Sale as a mechanical comparison.
Others are much higher on Russell though, citing his really effective arsenal and room for growth/projection.
He's been able to beat high schoolers based on his fastball and slider alone, so the changeup is still raw, but when used it flashes average.
The other potential name on a lot of tongues (if the Royals don't take Randolph) is Phil Bickford, who I wrote about in the first potential pick article.
Bickford was linked to the Royals back in 2013 in the draft the Royals took Hunter Dozier and Sean Manaea. Bickford was a helium guy who shot up the charts based on great velocity he started showing in the spring. In the summer he was still impressive in the low-90's, but after winter came through, Bickford cranked it up into the 95-96 MPH range. He was taken by the Blue Jays early on in the draft, but his bonus demands were too strong (commitment to Cal State) and the Jays failed to sign him. Bickford enrolled at Cal State, but transferred after his junior year to Southern Nevada to bump up his draft eligibility a year.
Bickford is polarizing. Some scouts think he's perhaps the best starter in this draft citing his 70 grade fastball, decent command, and future stuff. Others though see him as a reliever in the end given his inconsistent slider and changeup that oscillates from flashing potential plus to flashing potentially average.
Possible comp: Nathan Eovaldi - mid-90's average FB velo, with a meh slider and changeup.
As the mock drafts continue and we get closer to June 8th, we'll have more analysis.