Royals sign first-round pick Ashe Russell
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Flanked by scouting director Lonnie Goldberg and general manager Dayton Moore, Ashe Russell worked to fit his new Kansas City cap over his curly, brown hair. He was officially part of the organization.
On Wednesday afternoon, the club announced it had signed Russell, the 21st overall pick in the first round of the MLB Draft. His bonus was slightly higher than slot value, which pegged it at $2,184,200.
The signing was the 29th draft pick Kansas City has signed. Among those who remain unsigned are No. 33 overall selection Nolan Watson, fourth-round pick Garrett Davila and sixth-round choice Cody Jones.
Russell said the last few weeks have been busy but exciting for him, a stressful ordeal for his parents. Even a year ago, Russell worried about being picked at all.
"I was nervous about getting picked by anyone going into this year," Russell said. "It's reality now. It wasn't a couple of weeks ago."
Russell, out of Indianapolis Cathedral High School, throws the ball in the mid-90s to go along with a wipeout slider. He has been compared to Clay Buchholz and Justin Verlander by the media and Garrett Richards by Moore.
"He's one of us," Goldberg said. "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 going to be a real good major leaguer."
Goldberg said Russell would spend 10 to 14 days in Arizona -- where he'll throw bullpen sessions and live batting practice -- before shipping out to Burlington (Rookie) to complete the season. He will throw between 40 and 50 innings there.
"He'll get out, get a chance to compete, but he's not going to get overworked by any means," Goldberg said.
Russell was joined in Kansas City by his mother, father, stepmother, grandmother, grandfather and adviser.