With the ninth overall selection in the 2022 MLB amateur draft, the Kansas City Royals selected outfielder Gavin Cross from Virginia Tech. The left-handed batter hit with .318/.399/.627 and socked 14 home runs with the Hokies in 2022. Baseball America ranked Cross as the 10th best player overall and Keith Law at The Athletic also ranked Cross as the 10th best player overall, while Fangraphs ranked Cross as the 15th best player overall.
Standing at 6’3” and 210 pounds, Cross is a physically imposing power hitter who played center field at Virginia Tech but will profile as a more traditional corner outfielder in professional baseball.
The Royals take lefty slugger Gavin Cross No. 9 out of Virginia Tech.— Roundin’ Third (@RoundnThird) July 18, 2022
Baseball America had this to say about him:
While Cross has made improvements, scouts still view him as a power-over-hit lefthanded bat, thanks to a long-striding, low bat path that has been exploited at times and a tendency to chase out of the zone—though he showed progress in this area in 2022. While most of his power came to the pull side, Cross has easy plus juice and can homer to the opposite field, with exit velocity numbers that stack up with (and in many cases surpass) the elite college hitters in the class. Cross has annihilated fastballs—including impressive results against 93-plus mph velocity—but does swing and miss against breaking stuff and offspeed offerings, which could cap his overall hitting upside at the next level. Cross profiles as a corner outfielder at the next level despite his impressive showing in center with Virginia Tech, where he is an average runner and fielder with a big, plus throwing arm that could allow him to profile as a classic powerful, lefthanded-hitting right fielder.
Cross has been mocked to the Royals before on multiple occasions, so this isn’t out of left field. Notably, this is not likely to be an underslot deal like the Royals enacted last year with Frank Mozzicato, as Cross’ selection fits right with his overall talent evaluation.
The 2022 draft started off without much drama—until the third pick, when the Texas Rangers selected Kumar Rocker and throwing a wrench into everyone’s draft predictions. As a result, two players fell to the Royals who were not expected to: Cam Collier, the youngest hitter in the draft, and Kevin Parada, a top-five or so talent who slid all the way to 11th. But the Royals stuck to their guns and picked Cross.
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