When the Kansas City Royals drafted the rangy 6-foot-6 Austin Charles with the last pick of the 20th round of the 2022 MLB Draft, many believed his high end was as a two-way star sort of in the mold of Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani.
But that seems to be pipe dream as the team plans to develop him strictly as a position player and not as a pitcher. Meaning he could become one of the tallest shortstops to ever take the infield of in a Major League game.
Charles nearly returned to college at UC Santa Barbara, but he and the Royals agreed right before the August 1 deadline. With the intriguing prospect in tow, the Royals are now focused on developing him into another in the growing trend of tall shortstops around MLB.
During a visit to the Royals training complex in Surprise, Arizona, Charles says he realized he was more than ready for professional baseball.
“The visit just opened my eyes to see what they’re doing. I knew it was a good organization and fit.”
Ain’t too many cons when you playin’ with the pros🙌🏽
Charles Is Part Of Growing Trend Of NBA-Size Shortstops
Playing shortstop requires great instincts and feel, and that’s something the Royals say Charles possesses. The team’s hitting coordinator Drew Saylor raved about the Charles’ abilities and traits he possesses.
“He’s got great feel, great instincts at shortstop, and Iove his internal clock. He does a really good job with his first-step reads and he creates pretty good angles for himself.”
Saylor also complimented Charles’ work ethic and resiliency for a young player.
Charles Has Captivating Raw Power
At 6-foot-6, with very long arms, Charles will have to learn to adjust to off-speed pitches. But with the proper plate work and development, Saylor believes they can get Charles to work a specific zone.
“Because he has that natural strength. He has the potential to be a guy who can possibly mishit balls and still hit them really, really, really far …. He’s just continuing to know where his swing plays, and just the small adaptations that are needed to different shapes in the strike zone.
It turned out to be a tough week for our MLBbro. Jo Adell was sent down by the Los Angeles Angels to their Triple-A affiliate on Tuesday. Infielder Jose Rojas will take Adell’s roster spot.
The move is considered a mild surprise considering Adell’s 2022 spring training performance was so impressive that the Angels designated Justin Upton to the minors in April. After Upton’s departure, the plan was to have a four-man outfield rotation with Taylor Ward, Brandon Marsh and Adell surrounding Mike Trout in center field.
Adell’s demotion wasn’t about his slow start as much as the outstanding starts of Marsh, and Ward, who just collected an A.L. Player of the Week award. Their production phased out Jo’s opportunity to play.
“This is a really strong team and these guys are great,” Adell said. “These players out here are unbelievable. And we formed something that’s been a really, really strong unit. And it’s been tough to weave my way into the lineup with the level of play that these guys have right now. …
“Joe [Maddon] mentioned in the meeting that playing every third or second day or fourth day or whatever has been kind of tough. Hopefully, me getting back on my rhythm and getting in there every day and kind of just developing more of a routine would probably help me out a little bit more.”
Before being designated, Adell slashed .231/.242/.431 (.673 OPS) with three homers at the plate in 19 games. While those numbers aren’t considered bust-worthy, his 24 strikeouts with only one walk in 66 plate appearances will be a point of emphasis in Salt Lake.
But according to the Angels front office, this move is all about Adell. The Angels want him to keep his rhythm by playing every day in Triple A and not being buried on the bench with the big club.
“Wardy has been great, Marsh has played really well and center field is taken by a pretty good player too,” General Manager Perry Minasian said. “I think for him and his development, just to get regular at-bats, regular defensive reps will help him. He’s come a long way. He’s made a lot of strides. I’m very optimistic at some point this year he’s going to help us win some games. He already has, but I think just the regular reps will be important.”
It is clear at this point that the Los Angeles Angels haven’t given up on Adell — and they shouldn’t. The 10th overall pick in the 2017 Draft has only played 92 games over three seasons including the pandemic season in 2020. Why give up on a guy that just turned 23 the day after the season opened?
The most important part of this designation assignment is that both parties are onboard with the future plans of this MLBbro in the minors. Adell will use this as an opportunity to get better according to Sports Illustrated.
“I’m not thrilled about it,” he said. “I mean, I’m not going to throw a parade about getting sent down, but I’m gonna try my best to get back. … I’m not going to hang my head low. I’ve got enough confidence in my game and what I’m capable of to know at some point, my time is gonna come where I’m going to be able to be out here very day and help these guys. And so hopefully I can get back and get myself where the standards are for this club and these guys and be able to come back and help.”
If Adell and his coaches can combine improvement of his offensive and defensive tendencies with his natural abilities — power, speed and arm strength, this MLBbro will be one of the comeback stories of the postseason.
Great expectations are nothing new for superstar right fielder Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Since 2013, no franchise in baseball has won like the Dodgers. The team that occupies Chavez Ravine has won 820 games since 2013 – snatching 8 straight NL West crowns – before the archrival Giants 107-win explosion last season. At just 29 years old, Mookie is halfway to solidifying himself as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Betts has already won two World Series titles, an MVP Award, five Gold Glove Awards, four Silver Slugger Awards and a batting title.
For Mookie, this was the definition of a down year. He started off with a bang, securing an appearance in the Call of Duty: Warzone Season 3 video game trailer.
Things were rocky from there, as a season-long injury limited him to just 122 games and less than 500 at-bats, his lowest since his rookie year. And despite their decade of dominance, the Dodgers only World Series came during the COVID-shortened 2020 season – Betts’ first year with the squad.
How does an ownership group with an unlimited checkbook that spends money like the OG Steinbrenner fix this problem?
You add another MVP.
After seeing shortstop Corey Seager sign with the Texas Rangers, the Dodgers decided to sign the best left-handed bat on the market in 2021 World Series MVP and 2020 NL MVP (& SoCal’s native) Freddie Freeman. Freeman now joins Betts and Cody Bellinger in what could be the most dangerous lineup in baseball – especially if Bellinger can get through his recent struggles.
Add the return of Cy Young pitcher Clayton Kershaw to that nucleus. Now, Los Angeles has a potential juggernaut, complete with FOUR former league MVPs.
Even with a loaded roster that includes other All-Star caliber players, the Dodgers understand that it all starts with leadoff man Mookie. The Dodgers will host this year’s All-Star game, but with a roster carrying four League MVPs, anchored by Mookie Betts, every night in the city of angels could feel like a midsummer classic.