Russell starts run of right-handers for Royals
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals selected right-hander Ashe Russell from Cathedral (Ind.) High School in Indianapolis with the 21st pick overall pick on Monday night in the 2015 MLB Draft.
The Royals picked the farthest back in the first round since holding the 24th overall choice in 1986, coming off their 1985 World Series title. They have two other picks on Day 1 with the 33rd and 64th overall selections.
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at noon.
At 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, Russell has the big frame of a Major League starter and touts a 92-95 mph fastball. He also frequents a low-80s slider as a secondary pitch with a combo that led to much success in high school.
"I try to work at a fast tempo to keep the hitters off-balance. I like to control the game at my own pace," Russell said. "I think the thing the scouts like most is my slider. It's a good swing-and-miss pitch, I would say."
Lingering concerns with Russell is that he has yet to develop a strong changeup and he will need further development with his mechanics and control, but scouts indicate he counters with his athleticism and quick-twitch arm speed.
Russell did not attend any pre-Draft workouts with Major League clubs.
"I did not get to any workouts due to my high school season back in Indy," said Russell, whose high school team lost in its sectional championship game.
Russell was named the Gatorade Indiana Baseball Player of the Year for leading the Fighting Irish into the Class AAAA sectional tournament with a 4-1 record and a 1.23 ERA at the time in 34 innings through 21 games.
Russell is the first high school player the Royals have taken with their first pick since 2011 (outfielder Bubba Starling) and he is their fourth top-pick right-hander since 2006 -- Luke Hochevar (No. 1 in 2006), Aaron Crow (No. 12 in 2009) and Kyle Zimmer (No. 8 in 2012). Russell is currently committed to the Texas A&M.
"It's going to come down to family decisions, money, and I'm just ready to continue playing baseball in my career," Russell said. "I'm happy it's gonna be with the Royals."