Royals

Royals reach agreement with first-round draft pick Ashe Russell

The Royals announced Wednesday that they have signed first-round draft pick Ashe Russell, a right-handed pitcher. He was introduced at a news conference before Wednesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals announced Wednesday that they have signed first-round draft pick Ashe Russell, a right-handed pitcher. He was introduced at a news conference before Wednesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Kauffman Stadium. JSLEEZER@KCSTAR.COM

The Royals announced they’ve signed first-round draft pick Ashe Russell, who was introduced at a news conference before Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals introduced first-round draft pick Ashe Russell on Wednesday during a pregame news conference at Kauffman Stadium before the Royals took on the Brewers.

Russell, a right-handed high school pitcher from Indianapolis, had trouble slipping on a Royals hat over his bushy brown hair.

“It’s an exciting day for our organization,” said Royals director of scouting Lonnie Goldberg, who joined general manager Dayton Moore at the news conference.

“He’s one of us. He’s a leader. He’s a team guy. He’s everything that we look for. He’s big. He’s physical. He throws strikes. He’s got good stuff and he’s gonna be a real good major-leaguer.”

Russell described what had been a hectic two weeks since the Royals selected him No. 21 overall on June 8.

“It’s been busy but it’s been very exciting,” he said. “It’s an honor, honestly. Been a little stressful on the parents, but I’ve handled it well.”

The Kansas City Royals signed their first-round draft pick, Indianapolis pitcher Ashe Russell, and introduced him before a Wednesday, June 17, 2015 game at Kauffman Stadium.

Russell, from Cathedral High, will report to Arizona for about 10 to 14 days to throw bullpen sessions and live batting practice, Goldberg said. From there, he will go to the Burlington Royals to pitch in the rookie-level Appalachian League.

The target for Russell will be for him to throw between 40 and 50 innings this year.

“As we do with all our pitchers our main objective is to keep him healthy,” Goldberg said. “He’ll get out and get a chance to compete, but he’s not gonna get overworked by any means.”

Russell, 6 feet 4 and 205 pounds, has drawn comparisons to Clay Buchholz and Justin Verlander for maintaining high-velocity pitches throughout the game. When asked to give a scouting report on himself, Russell said, “hard slider, swing-and-miss stuff, fastball has run, with room to improve command-wise.”

Nolan Watson, the Royals’ first-round compensatory pick for losing James Shields in free agency, is also from Indianapolis. Watson and Russell, drafted 33rd overall, grew up two miles apart, and their schools were township rivals, but they’ve cultivated a friendship over the years.

“Once he got his name called by Kansas City, it was pretty exciting for the both of us,” Russell said. “It definitely is going to help our friendship.”

Watson, from North Lawrence High School, remains unsigned. Earlier this week, the Royals announced 27 other draft picks had signed.

The terms of Russell’s contract weren’t disclosed, but Major League Baseball’s slot value for the 21st pick is $2,184,200.

Watson drew attention on draft day for his outgoing red and white shirt-and-tie combo, and said it’s an example of his laid-back nature.

“I’m a pretty free guy,” Russell said.


Royals signed picks

Rd.

Name

Pos

School

1

Ashe Russell

RHP

Cathedral HS (Indianapolis)

3

Anderson Miller

CF

Western Kentucky

5

Roman Collins

CF

Florida Atlantic

7

Gabriel Cancel

SS

Padre Anibal Reyes Belen HS (P.R.)

8

Byron Davis

LHP

Arkansas-Pine Bluff

9

Joseph Markus

LHP

Indian River State College (Fla.)

10

Alex Luna

RHP

Alabama-Birmingham

11

Ben Johnson

OF

Texas

12

Daniel Concepcion

RHP

Virginia Commonwealth

14

Nick Dini

C

Wagner College (N.Y.)

16

Matt Ditman

RHP

Rice

17

Matt Portland

LHP

Northwestern

18

Brian Bayliss

RHP

Saint Joseph’s (Ind.)

19

Emmanuel Rivera

SS

Universidad Interamericana (P.R.)

21

Austin Bailey

SS

San Diego

22

Drew Milligan

LHP

Delta State (Miss.)

23

Colton Frabasilio

OF

Saint Louis

24

Jonathan McCray

2B

San Bernardino Valley College

25

Tyler Carvalho

RHP

Mesa Community College (Ariz.)

26

Alex Close

C

Liberty

27

Jacob Bodner

RHP

Xavier

29

Mark McCoy

LHP

Rutgers

30

Luke Willis

OF

George Mason

31

Brian Bien

SS

Bowling Green

32

Jake Kalish

LHP

George Mason

33

Nate Esposito

C

Concordia (Ore.)

34

Taylor Ostrich

1B

Old Dominion

35

Trey Stover

SS

Hartford

Note: Slot values for first 315 overall picks via Baseball America

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