Outfielder Gavin Cross was the lone Royals player on Baseball America’s top 100 prospect list released this week, coming in at #97. Last year, the Royals had three players in the top 50 - Bobby Witt Jr., MJ Melendez and Nick Pratto - but all three graduated off the list this year.
Cross was the ninth overall pick in the 2022 draft out of Virginia Tech. He got his professional career off to a terrific start, hitting .293/.423/.596 with seven home runs and 22 walks in 26 games for Low-A Columbia. The left-handed hitter turns 22 next month and features a strong arm that could be in the big leagues quickly, with Baseball America writing:
He’s a promising right fielder who could be a fast mover in an organization that could use help in the outfield.
The previous two Royals first-round picks - pitchers Asa Lacy (2020) and Frank Mozzicato (2021) did not make the list. Lacy was a disaster last year with 42 walks in 28 innings and a 10.61 ERA and suffered from back injuries. The 19-year-old Mozzicato had mixed results with a 4.30 ERA and 11.6 strikeouts but 6.7 walks per-nine-innings at Columbia.
Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson - a second-round pick in the 2019 draft - topped the list, followed by Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll, Brewers Jackson Chourio, Cardinals third baseman/outfielder Jordan Walker, and Phillies pitcher Matt Painter. The Orioles had the most top 100 prospects with eight, followed by the Guardians with seven, and the Dodgers, Mets, and Rays each with six. The Athletics, Tigers, and Blue Jays join the Royals with just one player on the list, and the Braves have no prospects on the list.
Baseball America writers will chat about the list today at noon.