The Royals seem to be most strongly attached to high school hitters for this draft, both outfielders and infielders. The team has had success with high school hitters before, most notably with Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, but they were both top five picks, while the Royals will be selecting at #18 this year. Some of the recent high school bats they have found like Nick Pratto, Khalil Lee, and M.J. Melendez are off to very promising starts.
Here are the prep hitters that may be available when the Royals make their picks at #18, #33, #34, or #40.
Brice Turang, Santiago HS (California)
Baseball America rank: #14
MLB.com rank: #25
Turang was considered one of the best players of this draft class last year, but he did not manage to meet expectations and his stock has fallen a bit. The infielder possesses good defensive skills and a strong arm and is considered a polished bat for a high school player, according to Baseball America. He features a smooth, left-handed swing with high contact and a patient approach. The Royals will love his elite speed which will allow him to be a threat on the bases. MLB.com writes “most feel he is a long-term shortstop, though some don’t see it as a slam dunk.” Turang has a small frame, which could be a knock on him, and he is committed to LSU.
Nolan Gorman, O’Connor HS (Arizona)
Baseball America rank: #15
MLB.com rank: #12
Gorman has the best raw power out of any prep star in this draft, winning numerous home run derbies last year. He will be drafted at third base, but some feel he will have to move across the diamond to first eventually. Some have knocked Gorman’s ability to hit breaking pitches, noting he whiffs a bit more than other elite prep hitters. MLB.com writes the lefty bat had an “up-and-down” senior season, but at his best he could be a top-ten talent. Gorman is committed to the University of Arizona.
Noah Naylor, St. Joan of Arc Catholic SS (Ontario)
Baseball America rank: #20
MLB.com rank: #27
Noah doesn’t have quite as much power as his older brother Josh, a prospect in the Padres’ system. However he could be a better hitter, as Baseball America writes, “some scouts who would say Naylor has the best hit tool among all prep hitters in the 2018 class, led by a pure swing and the ability to adjust pitch-to-pitch, while also manipulating the barrel in each part of the strike zone.” The left-handed hitting Naylor did win the High School Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game in Miami last summer, besting Gorman. MLB.com notes he’ll have to improve his receiving skills to stick at catcher, and third base could be where he eventually ends up. The Royals have been linked to Naylor, who is committed to Texas A&M.
Tristan Casas, Ameritan Heritage HS (Florida)
Baseball America rank: #25
MLB.com rank: #20
Casas hails from the same high school as Eric Hosmer, and like Hosmer was as a prep star, the 6’4’’ Casas is a left-handed power bat. Casas was the MVP of the Under-18 World Cup last year and has “70 grade raw power” according to Baseball America. MLB.com notes that he has some holes in his swing, although he has a patient approach and has shown power to all fields. Casas plays third base at Heritage, but most expect him to play first base as a pro. Casas is committed to the University of Miami.
Nander de Sadas, Montverde Academy (Florida)
Baseball America rank: #28
MLB.com rank: #55
The switch-hitting shortstop is a pretty raw player that some scouts love, but has yet to produce the results others would like to see. He comes from the same high school that produced Francisco Lindor, drawing inevitable comparisons, but de Sadas hasn’t shown the same aptitude for switch-hitting as Lindor. MLB.com writes he has “plus raw power” but needs a lot of work on his swing from the left side. Baseball America writes the “footwork, throwing ability and glove actions are all there to give him a chance to be an above-average defender” but that he may out-grow the shortstop position.
Jordan Groshans, Magnolia HS (Texas)
Baseball America rank: #38
MLB.com rank: #31
Groshans hails from the Houston area but is committed to the University of Kansas, where his brother Jaxx plays. Groshans “makes consistent hard line-drive contact” according to MLB.com that could generate more power once he develops loft to his swing. Baseball America notes that Groshans has a big leg kick that has led some scouts to question whether it will affect his timing at higher levels. Groshans is a smooth defender with a strong arm that plays shortstop now, but will probably move to third or possibly even second at the pro level.
Anthony Seigler, Cartersville, HS (Georgia)
Baseball America rank: #41
MLB.com rank: #46
Seigler is a switch-hitting catcher that has the tools to stay behind the plate and be a solid defender. Baseball America writes he “might not be any one plus tool with Seigler, but he does everything well and scouts rave about his makeup and personality”, a profile that the Royals are sure to love. His power is more gap power at this point, but he hits the ball hard to all fields. Seigler is committed to the University of Florida.
Xavier Edwards, North Broward Prep (Florida)
Baseball America rank: #43
MLB.com rank: #28
Edwards stands at just 5’10’’ and 155 pounds, but Baseball America writes that pound for pound he “might be the most skilled player in the class.” Edwards is praised for his range, footwork, and quick hands at shortstop although there are doubts he has the arm for the position. The Vanderbilt commit can fly around the bases and projects as a contact hitter at the top of a lineup.
Jeremiah Jackson, St. Luke’s Episcopal School (Alabama)
Baseball America rank: #44
MLB.com rank: #57
Jackson has the power to be a plus bat as a middle infielder, with the quickness and range to stick up the middle, although it may be at second rather than where he plays now at shortstop. MLB.com writes he has a “quick bat and wiry strength could translate into 15 or more homers per season.” He has an advanced approach, decent plate discipline, and hits the ball to all fields. Baseball America writes he has a deep leg kick that could cause timing issues. Jackson has been linked to the Royals, although he would probably be taken with one of their supplemental picks, and is committed to Mississippi State.