The Kansas City Royals went into the 2022 MLB Draft looking to stockpile plenty of young talent, as they looked to replenish their farm system. After making 17 college selections, the most in franchise history, it’s safe to say they accomplished their goal. But a prep selection was the one that seemed to have the pundits chirping. The Royals selected Austin Charles in the 20th round, and it’s his two-way ability that intrigues the 2015 World Series Champions.
Charles is 18-years-old and stands a towering 6-foot-6. He possesses elite athleticism, pure power and what is already considered elite bat speed. As a pitcher he clocks out at 94 MPH, with much more room for improvement. While his slider is still a work in progress, it has potential to be lethal, and his go-to-pitch.
— Bakersfield Sports Network (@BakoSportsNet) July 19, 2022
With all the craze about reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani with his two-way ability, Charles may not be the highly-recognizable talent Ohtani was prior to his arrival in MLB, but he sure has some of the same skills. Royals brass also see another great major leaguer when they see the physically imposing Charles.
Royals Scouting Director Likens Charles To Aaron Judge In High School
No one in the Royals’ decision-making brass has probably watched as much film or saw Charles play in person as much as scouting director Danny Ontiveros, and he had nothing but quality opinions of Charles. He even likened him to Yankees superstar and leading AL MVP candidate Aaron Judge.
Extended look at the defensive chops of Austin Charles (2022, Stockdale HS). Continutes to grow in to his long, 6'6" frame. Moves very well, especially for size w/ easy arm strength and quick release. @UCSB_Baseball commit#MLBDraft @PG_scouting @SoCalGiants pic.twitter.com/5yRzX8N9GZ
— Perfect Game California (@California_PG) July 2, 2022
“I saw Aaron Judge — and I don’t want to say Austin is Aaron Judge — at Linden High School when Judge was a little raw, but you saw the body and the athleticism. When you look at Austin, to me, that’s the first thing that comes to mind. Different positions, and Judge didn’t pitch, but you’re talking about a 6-foot-6 athlete, a guy that can move. Charles is playing shortstop at 6-foot-6 and he’s making it look kind of easy.
“It’s just a mold of clay that you can build, and the ceiling is just very high.”
Ontiveros was quick to say he’s not calling Charles, Judge, but he does see some similarities between the two at this stage of their careers.
Charles Shined In HS: UCSB Commit Signs With Royals
Charles excelled at both pitcher and shortstop during his senior year of high school. On the mound the hard-throwing hurler posted a paltry (1.36 ERA) with 62 strikeouts in just 46 innings. Better than a (K) per inning. He also displayed a great bat hitting (.483) with 13 homers and 57 RBIs. His play pushed him into the 109th position on the prospect list prior to the MLB Draft. That’s a huge leap for someone who wasn’t on the list prior to the season.
The Royals signed the two-way prospect to a deal worth just over $429K, with over $304K counting against the pool.
20th-rder Austin Charles signs with @Royals for $429,500 ($304,500 counts vs pool). California HS SS/RHP, legit two-way guy, 6-6/215, raw power & arm strength as position player, fastball to 94 mph & decent slider on mound. UC Santa Barbara recruit. @MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/SgTcULmCIG
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) July 31, 2022
It’s safe to say KC sees something in Charles and didn’t want to risk not signing him. Which in turn would make him eligible to be redrafted next year, after a year of college ball. Watch out for this MLBbro.