KC Royals Select Ashe Russell In First Round Of MLB Draft


The KC Royals were in unfamiliar territory Monday, picking outside the top 10, when they selected RHP Ashe Russell with the 21st pick in the 2015 June Amateur Draft.

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The two-time Gatorade Player of the Year out of Indianapolis, Indiana clocks in at 92-95 with his fastball according to MLB Network.

Russell spoke with MLB Network’s Sam Ryan minutes after being taken.

"“I was extremely anxious. I kind of had an idea of where some teams wanted me to go, but the Royals came around 21, selected me, and I’m happier than ever,” he told Ryan."

Ryan reported the Royals never actually worked Russell out, whom the network compared to Boston Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.

Baseball analyst Peter Gammons didn’t say Russell would have the career of Justin Verlander, but that he pitched with the same “anxious delivery,” and is “very aggressive.” He also thought Russell fits well with the Royals.

"“To me this is a classic Kansas City pick, because they love those big arms and they like the power,” he said."

Russell said he throws a two-seam fastball, slurve and a changeup. He used those pitches to go 5-1 with a 1.02 ERA with 67 strikeouts and just nine walks in 47 innings his senior year at Cathedral High School.

Last year, the Royals drafted starter Brandon Finnegan from TCU, but have used him primarily as a reliever. The plan is to bring him back as a starter, but nothing is guarenteed.

Former Seattle Mariner and current MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds said he thinks Russell will be a starter in the Majors.

"“He’s got a starter’s body — the delivery, the mindset. I think he has starter written all over him,” Reynolds said."

Russell is an interesting pick because the Royals selected a right-handed pitcher fifth overall just three years ago in Kyle Zimmer. However, he has struggled with injuries and is still a big question mark.

The Royals now may be looking at Russell to be their next ace, and he seems to be excited to take on the challenge.

Royals Past Five First-Round Draft Picks 

2015 — Ashe Russell, RHP, Cathedral (IN) High School, No. 21

2014 — Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Texas Christian University, No. 17*

2013 — Hunter Dozier, SS, Stephan F. Austin University, No. 8+

2012 — Kyle Zimmer, RHP, University of San Francisco, No. 5

2011 — Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner-Edgerton (KS) High School, No. 5

*Foster Griffin, LHP, drafted No. 28 in first round

+Sean Manaea, LHP, drafted N0. 34 (compensation pick)

Next: Ten Facts Every Kansas City Royal Fan Should Know

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