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2022 MLB Mock Drafts Love One Particular Prospect for the Royals

There's a certain high school outfielder drawing many projections to Kansas City as of late.

The 2022 MLB Draft is quickly approaching and with a month (or less, depending on when you're reading this article) to go, teams will begin finalizing their plans to add some of the brightest young talents from the high school and college ranks. For the Kansas City Royals, a club that has struggled in recent years, nailing these picks is extremely important.

With this time of the season comes a barrage of mock drafts, and Kansas City is one of the most heavily-discussed teams among draft circles. Not only is the 2022 squad underperforming at the big-league level, but the organization's minor-league affiliates will soon see some of their best players graduate to the MLB team. As a result, it's key that the Royals' front office replaces those prospects with suitable newcomers. 

Jul 7, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, United States; Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore (left) and principle owner John Sherman watch during an intrasquad game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

A trio of major outlets — CBS Sports, Bleacher Report and MLB — recently published their newest 2022 MLB mock drafts. In them, a common prospect was linked to the Royals: Bishop Gorman High School outfielder Justin Crawford. An MLB Pipeline mock from earlier in the cycle projected that the Royals would take Crawford, and now there are multiple sites doubling down on the pick. Here's what Mike Axisa of CBS Sports had to say about it:

Crawford is the son of four-time All-Star Carl Crawford and one of the biggest risers in the draft class. He's gone from possible late first-round pick to having a real chance to go in the top 10, with the Royals rumored to have the most interest. Kansas City would grab either Elijah Green or Termarr Johnson if they last this long, and they're believed to be the earliest a pitcher could come off the board.

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Joel Reuter of Bleacher Report echoed Axisa's sentiment about Crawford's stock increasing top fringe top 10 territory:

The Royals have shown a willingness to get creative with their bonus pool over the years, including reaching for Frank Mozzicato at No. 7 overall in 2021. Kiley McDaniel of ESPN noted that Crawford "might be the undercut option if the Royals want to take a similar path to last year" and his stock has climbed enough this spring that he's not a major reach inside the top 10. The bloodlines are certainly there as the son of former All-Star Carl Crawford.

Feb 21, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore during Spring Training Media Day at The Arizona Biltmore. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Crawford, who has the aforementioned MLB bloodline, is the No. 13 prospect on the MLB top 100 rankings list and the No. 24 prospect on Keith Law's latest big board, is an interesting prospect. Not only is his speed world-class in the outfield and on the basepaths, but his bat speed is also impressive. A lot of the debate about him surrounds his power potential, as it's projection-based and far from a guarantee to hit in a major way. 

Whichever team ends up with Crawford will have to be patient and hold out in hopes that he hits his ceiling. According to these recent mock drafts, that team is going to be the Royals. With pick No. 9 to work with — as well as a Competitive Balance Round A selection at their disposal — expect the hype surrounding Kansas City's possible 2022 haul to only increase over the next four weeks or so.