The Royals finished day one of the draft by selecting high school pitcher Blake Wolters with their second round pick, the #44 pick overall. They then chose University of Louisiana-Lafayette outfielder Carson Roccaforte with their Competitive Balance Round B pick, the #66 pick in the draft. Earlier in the first round, they selected high school catcher Blake Mitchell with the #8 overall pick.
Wolters is a right-hander from Mahomet-Seymour High School in central Illinois. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the #41 prospect in this draft, Baseball America ranks him #50, and Keith Law of The Athletic ranks him #61. Wolters was Gatorade Player of the Year in Illinois and stands at an imposing 6’4’’, 215 pound build that Keith Law writes is a “classic “workhorse” pitcher’s frame”. He found a big velocity bump this year, hitting the upper 90s at showcases, and regularly sitting in the mid-90s. Baseball America writes he has a “simple delivery that’s under control up to his balance point” and could get even more velocity as he learns to use his lower half more.
RHP Blake Wolters (IL)— Shooter Hunt (@ShooterHunt) February 5, 2023
6’4” 215 @ArizonaBaseball recruit
FB: 95-97.7 (2300+ 18IVB)
SL: 82-83 (2700+)
Biggest winner of the day. Pumped the zone w/ loud velo. + frame/athleticism
⚡️Electric arm talent⚡️#Super60 || #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/UwkDQGN1Fk
His slider has been described as a plus pitch, although it’s not always consistent. He has not used his change up much and it is a work in progress, lacking much drop. Baseball America writes that he is in the zone frequently and projects to have above-average control. Wolters is committed to Arizona State.
Carson Roccaforte is a junior outfielder for the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns. He hit .318/.426/.538 with eight home runs in 65 games this year, but had a much bigger sophomore year when he hit .373 with 16 home runs. That summer, he struggled in the Cape Cod League and changed his approach, which may account for his dip in performance. MLB Pipeline, which ranks him #129 in this draft, says the swing is flatter this year, but he is still hitting for good gap power, finishing fourth in the nation with 26 doubles. Kiley McDaniel of ESPN ranks him #81, writing you “can imagine him becoming an everyday player.”
The Kansas City Royals have selected OF Carson Roccaforte. Sound defender in CF. Takes efficient routes to the baseball and is above average athletically and an AA runner. Excellent batted-ball profile. Hit .318 this spring with 35 XBH and 22 SB. pic.twitter.com/VixXab2sXd— Peter Flaherty III (@PeterGFlaherty) July 10, 2023
A lefty bat, Roccaforte “makes plenty of contact and hits his home runs to the pull side, but he has a tendency to hit around the baseball a bit too often and could do a better job letting the ball travel and using the opposite field,” according to Baseball America, who rank him the #160 prospect in this draft. Roccaforte can run, stealing 47 bases over the last two seasons combined, and MLB Pipeline writes his athleticism earns him comparisons to former Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi. The 21-year old can play all three outfield positions and has also played first base.
The draft will continue with rounds 3-10 tomorrow beginning at 1 p.m. CT, and concluding with rounds 11-20 on Tuesday at 1 p.m. CT all with coverage on MLB.com. The Royals will have the fifth pick in each round.
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