The Royals suffered through an awful 104-loss season last year, but the upside comes this June, when the club will get the second-overall pick in the amateur draft. With five weeks to go until the Royals make one of the biggest decision of this rebuild, let’s take a look at the potential prospects the Royals could be looking at.
Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman is considered a strong favorite to go first overall to the Orioles, but a number of names have been discussed for the second pick, including University of California-Berkeley first baseman Andrew Vaughn, Mizzou outfielder Kameron Misner, Texas prep infielder Bobby Witt, Jr., and Georgia high school prospect C.J. Abrams. Today, we’ll take a look at Abrams.
If the Royals are looking to remodel this team based on speed, Abrams would fit in quite well with the club philosophy. Playing at Blessed Trinity High School in Roswell, Georgia, 30 minutes north of Atlanta, Abrams has 70-grade speed and was clocked in the 60-yard dash with a time of 6.29 at Perfect Game. Standing at 6’2’’, 185, Abrams draws a lot of comparisons to Dee Gordon with a high-contact approach with what Baseball America calls a “simple, clean stroke” from the left side. They rank him as the fourth-overall prospect on their board, behind Rutschman, Vaughn, and Witt.
Jonathan Mayo calls Abrams one of the “toolsiest” players in the draft with “some serious offensive upside.” Baseball America writes he has below-average raw power, and “rolls over on the ball at times”, but with a tall frame he could project to improve in the power department. MLB Pipeline calls his strength “deceptive” and notes he could hit 10-15 home runs per year. Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel at Fangraphs noted Abrams looked stronger this year, grading him a 55 in power.
Abrams plays short now, but there seem to be a difference in opinions on his defensive abilities there. He is noted for having a strong arm, and Baseball America says he has excellent range with a “fast exchange.” But MLB Pipeline says he “doesn’t have the most fluid actions” and may end up at second or centerfield, where he has played on occasion.
Abrams is committed to the University of Alabama, but will almost certainly go pro as he is universally ranked in the top five of this draft. The Royals certainly value speed and defense, but the question will be whether or not they feel his bat will develop enough to justify taking him this high. The Royals were linked to Abrams pretty strongly earlier this spring, but more recent reports have them attached to Bobby Witt, Jr.