MLB Draft: Handing out the KC Royals’ Day 3 grades

(Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports) /

After Days 1 and 2 and most of Tuesday’s final 10 rounds of the 2022 MLB Draft, the KC Royals seemed singularly focused on collegiate talent. There wasn’t a high school player among their first 17 picks.

Then, with only three selections left, the Royals reversed their own trend in Round 18 by grabbing Walden Grove (Arizona) High School outfielder Milo Rushford, then finished up by taking two more prep players (more on them later) in the final two rounds.

Day 3 was also the day the Royals continued stocking up on pitchers. After not taking any Day 1 but six on Day 2, they added six more hurlers and at least two players known to pitch Tuesday.

Headlining the final day’s pitching picks were two hurlers from 2022 College World Series runner-up Oklahoma. The Royals took Sooner David Sandlin, the 206th best draft prospect per MLB Pipeline, in Round 11 and southpaw Chazz Martinez six slots later. Sandlin, a righty, went 9-4 with a 5.99 ERA and 9.7 SO9 this season and has decent control (2.9 BB9). Martinez was 4-3, 5.32 in 22 games, including eight starts. Unlike teammate Sandlin, though, his control needs work (4.5 BB9).

Grades? Give KC a for Sandlin and a C for Martinez.

How did the rest of the day go for Kansas City?

A two-way player highlights the KC Royals’ trio of Day 3 high school picks.

Search Austin Charles’ name on the Internet and you’ll quickly land on Perfect Game, a website full of information about high school players where you’ll discover much about Kansas City’s final pick of the 2022 MLB Draft, including the important fact that he can play just about anywhere.

Perfect Game lists his positions as shortstop, third base, middle infield, outfield and righthanded pitcher, which explains why the Royals drafted him as a two-way player. The site also ranks him as the 15th best shortstop in the country among those it rated, and indicates his 91 mph fastball is well above class average.

MLB Pipeline ranked him 109th among draft prospects.

Charles hit .483 with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs for Stockdale (California) High School this season. He was also a perfect 7-0 with a 1.64 ERA in 18 appearances (two starts) over his junior and senior years.

Give the Royals an A for Charles.

Milo Rushford, that prep player who ended Kansas City’s 2022 streak of drafting collegians at 17, can also pitch and was 9-4, 3.49 for his prep career). Perfect Game rates him the 86th best of 485 outfielders it ranked, and he hit .469 in high school, including .613 to go along with a 1.118 SLG. The Royals get an for drafting him.

Garber High’s (Michigan) Tommy Szczepanski is the other high schooler Kansas City picked. He’s a big 6-feet-5, 232-pound righthanded hurler with a 94 mph fastball, a curve and a changeup. KC’s grade for its Round 19 pick? B.

The KC Royals added two position players to their flock of college draftees.

After picking Oklahoma’s Sandlin to begin the day, Kansas City chose another Big 12 player, Baylor’s Jack Pineda, with its 12th round selection. In two Bear seasons (he also played two at the College of Southern Nevada), Pineda slashed .313/.410/.498 with 11 homers and 68 RBIs, and stole 12 bases in 2022. A lefthanded batter, he’s 5-feet-10 and weighs 170. The Royals get a for this selection.

The Royals took another lefty hitter, Vanderbilt outfielder Javier Vaz, in Round 15. He hit .238 in his first Vandy season in 2021, but had a .396 OBP. He raised his average 42 points to .280 and had another stellar OBP (.402) this year. Give Kansas City a C+ for Vaz.

Three collegiate pitchers round out the KC Royals’ 2022 MLB Draft picks.

Maryland lefthander Ryan Ramsey went to Kansas City in the 13th round. Working primarily in relief his first two seasons, he came out of the bullpen in only one of his 16 appearances this year and went 11-1 with a 3.22 ERA. His three-season Terrapin record is 17-2, 3.13. This pick gets the Royals a B.

The Royals opted for another hurler in the next round, taking Houston righty Ben Sears. Sears has good control—he walked only 32 in 134 innings (2.1 BB9) over 2021-2022, and had a 1.1 BB9 this season to complement his 6-3, 3.11, 12-save season. The Royals’ grade for choosing Sears? How about a B?

Kansas City called BYU reliever Cooper McKeehan’s name in Round 16. Owner of a three-season 5-3, 3.56 and 13.9 SO9 record with the Cougars, he’ll have to address control problems—he averaged 6.6 walks per nine innings with BYU. This pick gets a C.

KC's first pick has power. dark. Next

The 2022 MLB Draft is over. Now, we’ll see over the next few seasons how well the Royals did.