2023 MLB Draft: KC Royals draft Blake Mitchell 8th overall

Angela Piazza/Caller-Times / USA TODAY

The MLB Draft remains a spotlight event ahead of the MLB All-Star Game, and KC Royals made headlines themselves by selecting high school catcher Blake Mitchell out of Texas.

The KC Royals have to build the farm system, and drafting Blake Mitchell is a great step.

He is the first high school position player drafted by the Royals since 2019 when the team took shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. Kansas City has a mixed track record with high school position players, but the championship core included multiple All-Stars drafted out of high school. The Royals have a very intriguing athlete to try and develop in the 18-year-old Mitchell.

Mitchell was heavily linked to the Royals in the pre-draft process and one of of the prep players evaluated ahead of the 2023 MLB Draft.

"Mitchell's left-handed swing features a nice combination of bat-to-ball skills and potential power. Because his hands are quick, he has elite bat speed for a prep hitter, which should enable him to develop a good deal of pull-side power as he matures as a hitter. He recorded exit velocities in the high 90s, reaching 102 mph, and he possesses obvious raw power to go along with an approach at the plate that should only help him further.

He won the award for best player in the state of Texas in both his junior and senior years, solidifying his position as one of the top high school players in the United States. He has a strong floor in every aspect of his game, including the ability to potentially transition back to pitching if he is unable to continue his career as a catcher, even though the risk is obvious for all catchers at the prep level."

Jacob Milham

Prep catchers are a volatile profile to invest in, but the Royals certainly looked past that in Mitchell. Many fans hoped or projected Kansas City selecting Virginia catcher Kyle Teel at the same position, opting for a more polished collegiate player. However, Royals general manager J. J. Picollo certainly made a splash by drafting Mitchell.

A great example of prep players selected at eight overall succeeding in the majors is New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor. Cleveland drafted him back in 2011, and Lindor rewarded them with four consecutive All-Star seasons and two Gold Glove awards. The potential risk is there, but a prep player can be more malleable and financially controllable down the line.

The Royals have two more picks on the draft's opening day, at 44th and 66th overall.

Next. Royals News: MLB Draft, a pitcher returns, and a false alarm. Royals News: MLB Draft, a pitcher returns, and a false alarm. dark