By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
The Kansas City Royals didn’t have to look far for some of their later round picks in the 2021 MLB Draft Monday.
In the seventh round at 199th overall, the Royals picked up Central Arkansas pitcher and St. Joseph Central alum Noah Cameron.
A lefty, Cameron didn't play in 2021 after tearing his UCL in his throwing arm, which led to Tommy John surgery last August. He graduated from Central in 2018.
In 2019, he was named a Freshman All-American after going 6-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 14 starts. He tossed 94.2 innings with 91 strikeouts and 19 walks. That season included a 12-strikeout performance against Abilene Christian.
Cameron was a three-time, first-team All-Conference selection during his varsity career with the Indians.
Prior to that, the Royals selected Blue Valley Southwest (Overland Park, KS) product and right-handed pitcher Ben Kudrna with the 43rd overall pick in the second round.
Kudrna was ranked No. 46 on MLB.com’s Top 250 Draft Prospects list. Standing at 6-foot-4, Kudrna led the Timberwolves to a 22-3 record and the Class 5A state championship this past spring.
Kudrna had a 9-1 record on the mound with a 0.99 ERA. He also recorded 100 strikeouts with just 11 walks in 57.1 innings. The LSU commit was named the Gatorade Kansas Baseball Player of the Year and the 2021 Class 5A Pitcher of the Year.
The Royals got more local flavor in the third round, selecting Park Hill catcher Carter Jensen 78th overall. In his senior year, Carter had a .387 batting average and a .578 on-base percentage. He led the team with 34 walks, recorded 25 RBIs and a home run, making the Greater Kansas City Suburban All-Conference first team.
Jensen had been committed to LSU as well, but will not attend school there after being drafted.
In the first round Sunday, the Royals selected Frank Mozzicato - a left-handed pitcher from East Catholic High School in Connecticut, with the seventh overall pick.
This year marks the third time in the last four years that the Royals have selected a pitcher with their first pick, following Asa Lacy (4th overall) in 2020 and Brady Singer (18th overall) in 2018.
Mozzicato, 18, is committed to the University of Connecticut. He was ranked No. 39 overall on MLB Pipeline’s Top 250 Draft prospects list, making this a somewhat surprising first choice for the Royals.
Mozzicato’s fastball is now sitting at 91 mph and touching 93 mph consistently, according to MLB.com. He was unhittable this past spring, going 9-0 with 135 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings, allowing just nine hits and finishing with a remarkable 0.16 ERA. He had a streak of four consecutive no-hitters this past season as well.