KANSAS CITY, MO.—The Kansas City Royals added two college position players to the organization on the first day of the 2022 First-Year Player Draft. With the ninth overall pick in the first round, the Royals selected Gavin Cross, an outfielder from Virginia Tech. With the 49th overall pick in the second round, the Royals selected third baseman Cayden Wallace from the University of Arkansas.
Cross, 21, hit .328 (80-for-244) with 17 home runs and 50 RBI in 57 games in his junior season as Virginia Tech. The left-handed batter recorded 39 extra-base hits for a .660 slugging percentage and 1.071 OPS, while making most of his starts in center field. He also stole 12 bases without being caught and was on the 2022 Golden Spikes Award watch list. Cross’ 2022 performance led Virginia Tech to the Super Regionals of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the program’s history.
In three years at Virginia Tech, Cross slashed .340/.412/.609 with 28 home runs and 28 stolen bases in 124 games. In 2021, he became the first freshman in school history to be named First Team All-ACC. He was also named to the All-ACC Academic Team in 2021 and was a USA Baseball Collegiate National Team selection. Cross is the first Hokies baseball player selected in the first round since 1982, when the Dodgers selected Franklin Stubbs (19th overall), who played 10 seasons in the Majors.
Wallace, 20, was a starter for the Arkansas team that reached the College World Series semifinals this year. He hit .298 (82-for-275) with 16 home runs and 60 RBI in 67 games as a sophomore this season and led the team in runs (62), doubles (20), RBI, stolen bases (12) and slugging percentage (.553) and tied for the team high in home runs.
In 2021, Wallace tied the school freshman record of 14 home runs, held by former first-round picks Zack Cox (25th overall in 2010) and Heston Kjerstad (2nd overall in 2020). Wallace also played in 18 games for Bourne in the Cape Code League last year and hit .290 (18-for-62) with 14 RBI.
The Draft will resume tomorrow beginning at 1:00 p.m. CT with rounds 3-10, exclusively on MLB.com.