Rockies' No. 26 prospect has MLB in his DNA

November 19th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Thomas Harding’s Rockies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Third-base prospect  has another team deep in his DNA, but the Rockies became part of his soul even before they drafted him in the fifth round this summer out of UCLA.

Karros, 21, is the son of Eric Karros, who spent most of his 16-year Major League career with the Dodgers and who currently serves as one of Los Angeles’ broadcasters. Karros wasn’t born until 2002, his father’s last year with the Dodgers, but he spent time around the club while his father served as a guest coach. And his older brother, right-handed pitcher Jared Karros, is in the Dodgers’ farm system.

However, the Rockies won Karros over during the MLB Draft Combine in Phoenix.

“I remember the Rockies were the most real meeting I had,” Karros said. “It was just normal human beings having a conversation. It wasn’t driven by all these weird analytics or psychological tests or anything like that. I really liked that.

“I’d sent my dad a text following the Rockies meeting, saying this was the team I wanted to go to. I had a bunch of things happen where the stars aligned, and it made me more sure that this is where I’m supposed to be.”

Eric copied the text and sent it back to Kyle after the Draft. Then Kyle began making the stars fall into place for the Rockies.

In a 36-game debut between the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League and Single-A Fresno, Karros batted .285 with a .728 OPS. There were no homers, but he showed power during training sessions at instructional ball in September and October. He went to a slightly shorter bat, and began hitting the ball farther out front. Karros is also considered to be a Major League-level defender at third base.

At 6-foot-5, Karros finished his first pro season at 220 pounds, and he believes he can carry 20 more pounds.

It’s a story that could be repeating itself.

Dad Eric was a sixth-round pick out of UCLA in 1988 who blossomed as a pro, earning National League Rookie of the Year honors in ‘92 and placing in Most Valuable Player voting in ‘95 (fifth) and ‘96 (15th). Karros is hoping to be a late bloomer like his father.

In 2021, Karros played for the Greeneville (Tenn.) Flyboys of the Appalachian League, a wood-bat summer league designed for collegiate freshmen and sophomores. As it turned out, his manager was Alan Regier, who is currently an advance scout for the Rockies.

“Regier was a coach [at University of California, Berkeley] when my dad was trying to go to college, and he basically told him he was not good enough,” said Karros, who finished the season ranked the Rockies’ No. 26 prospect by MLB Pipeline. “Then I ended up playing for him in the Appalachian League, so we went back and forth about that.

“That was some of the best baseball I’ve ever played. I took a little break after the season, did some stuff with my swing, and it clicked. We had a good setup. We were at Tusculum University, so they had us in dorms. They would even open up the basketball gym whenever we wanted. The guys were great, the team was great and I was playing great baseball.”