Austin Charles burst onto the prospect scene at the start of June by impressing in a two-game stint in the Arizona Complex League – going 5-for-11 with a homer, triple and double – and getting promoted to Low-A Columbia.
After a slow start for the Fireflies, Charles has caught fire in the past week by going 9-for-21 with a homer, a triple, 5 doubles and 2 steals in his past 6 games.
We’re definitely not calling him the next Elly De La Cruz, but if you’re looking for an electrifying, tall, powerful shortstop with an elite ceiling, Charles may be your guy.
The Royals drafted Charles in the 20th round, then signed him for an above-slot $430,000 to buy him out of a commitment to UC-Santa Barbara.
The 6-foot-6, 215-pound shortstop has remarkable athleticism that makes it easy to see why he might draw comparisons to De La Cruz and Oneil Cruz.
Charles still has a lot of development ahead of him, coming into the season with a 45-grade hit tool and susceptible to breaking balls away. He’s been impressing Royals brass as a hard worked who takes instruction well.
Now he just needs to build off his impressive set of tools to add skill and the sky’s the limit.
Up to a .792 OPS with 1 homer and 4 steals for Columbia, if Charles can keep this hot stretch up then he could make his way to High-A while still just 19 years old.
Charles is already up to No. 366 on our RotoProspects Top 500 Rankings and as a sneak preview, he’ll be making another move up the list when the next update comes out this Friday.
Dynasty owners need to get Charles on their radar or even onto their team before the hype starts to build even more.