The mock draft season is upon us, and you will be seeing more and more players linked to the Royals. As you read these, understand the Royals are historically closed lipped and it’s rare that the predictions are accurate on their first pick. In fact, their later selections have more accuracy than the Royals first pick in the past with different sites correctly choosing a few different players linked to them. As we get closer to the draft, the one player who I will be surprised if the Royals don’t draft him with their 33rd or 34th selection if he’s available is Mason Denaburg, the Florida high school pitching product. Besides Denaburg, who is linked to them in just one mock that I have seen, a couple of players that have been in their mocks multiple times are Mike Vasil and Jeremiah Jackson.
Mike Vasil – Tell me if you’ve heard this before? Northeast product with limited views due to winter weather, throws 91-94 mph whose stock was rising into the upper levels of the first round prior to a minor injury. This report is nearly identical to Scott Blewett’s profile prior to the 2014 draft and is what Boston area product Mike Vasil has dealt with this winter and spring season. There is one minor difference in height with Blewett measuring a couple of inches taller, but other than that they both share physical 210+ lbs frames while possessing simple straightforward deliveries with a good downhill plane on their pitches. The major difference that I see with the two pitchers is their athleticism with Vasil exhibiting more in that area, allowing him to repeat his mechanics at a better rate, showing good control to both sides of the plate. In an area with limited competition, he is able to work with the fastball paired with his 12-6 curveball that he can add and subtract speed from in the low to mid 70’s. Facing lesser competition he doesn’t have to use the changeup much at all but does exhibit a feel for it in the low 80’s while showing off good mirroring arm speed. The injury doesn’t sound like anything to be scared of since it was muscle fatigue and not a ligament issue or shoulder problem. Other than limiting his appearances in front of scouts teams should be a fan of his yoga routine and commitment to stretching and band work.
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Jeremiah Jackson – The current Royals front office tend to prefer Latin shortstops over American born if you look at their draft history over the years, selecting just three in the Top 5 rounds since GMDM’s arrival. Even two of the three (Christian Colon and D.J. Burt) were seen as possibly having to move onto the other side of the base. That is what makes this selection very intriguing as Jackson, despite being an American born player, has a very Latinesque build with a thin build and long arms and legs. This build and his movements at short combined with the power that he packs from his 6-1 180 lbs frame. A regular on the Perfect Game circuit, Jackson has shown an ability to make the rare play at shortstop with plus range and an arm that has registered 92 mph off the mound. In addition to that defensive ability, Jackson has shown a good hit tool against upper-level competition across the Perfect Game circuit and in his high school games. With a quick trigger, fast bat speed and a swing path that lends itself to loft Jackson has shown bigger power than one would expect from a body of his size.
Via Perfect Game David Rawnsley – Jackson loads his righthanded swing deeper than most players but it is a notably direct path to the ball and Jackson has explosive hand speed through the zone. His signature square contact is a hard line drive to the right-centerfield gap, which is always a big plus to see on a young hitter. Jackson doesn’t use the opposite field as a place to dump off-speed pitches and outside fastballs, he uses it to drive the ball with authority. Jackson has also shown the game ability to turn on mistakes and drive them out of the ballpark to the pull side with surprising power for his slender frame. On top of that, Jackson has shown to be a patient hitter who will work counts and take a walk. It’s an intriguing offensive skill and tool-set for a middle-of-the-field athlete.
Other rumor and Draft Strategy – Another player linked to the Royals in a few mock drafts have been ultra-athlete Jordyn Adams, a UNC football commit, who has zoomed up the charts with a strong showing at the NSHI tournament and a good season with his high school team. As a four-star football recruit, almost all teams would be forced into buying out his football scholarship to sign him, perhaps costing them an extra million or more in a bonus. While the Royals have the largest pool, I wouldn’t use that money like this as the Royals with a weaker farm system has an opportunity to add as many as six players in the $2 million dollar range which would change the outlook of their system from top to bottom.
Handing a player at the 18th slot or any other slot a larger than normal bonus would limit their ability to add multiple high-end players. The Royals have drafted their share of football players in David Lough, Malcolm Culver and Bubba Starling to name a few with limited success in the past. There are enough special athletic players in this draft that are fully committed to baseball that you shouldn’t have to pay extra to buyout a football scholarship to add a player like Adams to the organization.
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