KC Royals Connected to HS Shortstop Cornelius Randolph In Draft
By John Viril
With the 2015 amateur draft coming on Monday, June 8, Baseball America keeps connecting high-school shortstop Cornelius Randolph to the KC Royals.
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Baseball America has mocked Randolph to Kansas City in four out of five mock drafts they have posted in the previous weeks leading up to the June 8 draft. The Kansas City Royals hold the number 21 pick coming off their best regular season record in 25 years.
Just because the KC Royals are picking from the farthest back in the pack that the team has drafted in more than a generation doesn’t mean they can’t land a top-tier talent. The Los Angeles Angels, for example, famously took defending league MVP Mike Trout with the 25th pick in 2009 (the same year the Royals took Aaron Crow at number 12).
Cornelius Randolph, who hails from Griffin High School, Griffin Georgia, is a 6’1″ 190 pound shortstop whom Baseball America says might have the best hit tool of any high school prospect in the draft.
You can see video of Randolph’s swing below, courtesy of MLB.com:
The above video suggests that Randolph will move to second base, but other scouts think he is a better fit at third base.
Cornelius Randolph sports a short, quick swing from the left side of the plate. Scouts believe he will develop power as he grows into his body. Cornelius Randolph’s bat is what excites scouts, not his glove.
Jason Fletcher of Rant Sports ranked Randolph the fifth-best high school position player available in the draft. Fletcher also seems to think that Randolph lacks the agility to remain at short. He’s concerned that Randolph’s lack of strike zone discipline could lead him to have a strikeout problem as he moves into professional baseball.
ESPN.com writer, and former Blue Jays personnel man, Keith Law has also heard Randolph connected to the KC Royals. However, Law says the Royals have been associated with multiple prospects.
In his first two mock drafts, Law had the KC Royals taking Junior College pitcher Phil Bickford before projecting high school catcher Chris Betts in his third mock. Baseball America also had the Royals selecting Bickford in their 5th (and most recent) mock draft.
Mocking the MLB draft is extremely difficult because most top prospects have the option to play, or return to, college baseball. Given also that the younger prospects are 17 or 18 years old, it takes quite a bit of projection to get to a major-league talent.
The bottom line is that there are few Brandon Finnegans in the June draft who can provide quick help to the big league club. Don’t expect lightning to strike twice for the KC Royals in 2015.