Some years, we see dynamic duos in the minor leagues that have unforgettable seasons. This season, we see a duo that is unlike other duos that are around the minors this season. Prospects Bobby Witt Jr., and Nick Pratto. But, is it potential that we can see them this season?
One of the last Royals duos that created this much hype is now long-time veterans Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. Hosmer moved onto San Diego, and Moustakas well versed in Cincinnati’s lineup, the next batch of Royals could be closer and closer to knocking on the door to the majors. Bobby Witt Jr. is the number one prospect in the Royals system and can be a long-term option for the ballclub.
Witt Jr. has made tremendous strides throughout the AA and AAA levels. The second-round overall pick in the 2019 Draft, Witt has never played a game in low A or high A, making his road to the MLB a lot different compared to others. Witt has proved himself capable of playing at the higher levels, currently batting a combined .297 between AA and AAA. Also to go along with an impressive batting average, power has become a part of Witt’s game, with marking 27 home runs and 21 stolen bases. Throughout 32 games with AAA Omaha, Witt has hit exceptionally well batting to a .299 average and rounding up 12 doubles. But, you might be curious as to who could be playing first base next season for the Royal crew?
Nick Pratto has really made a name for himself after a few years of being able to find his swing. Pratto ranks #71 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects after the re-rank. After a shaky 2019 season with High-A in the Royals organization, Pratto only mustered together a .191 average with 9 home runs. This season, he has found the true player he is, batting a collective .275 this season between AA and AAA. Also, his power is reaching its potential, with 26 home runs throughout the 2021 season. Both Pratto and Witt hitting very well, and it could even get them a phone call this coming September.
Currently, the A.L. Central has not been the strongest division this year, with the Twins done for, and second place pretty much is up for grabs. The Indians and Tigers have been back and forth between the second place in the Central division. With the Tigers in a similar situation with the Royals in terms of prospects, it could be interesting whether the Royals decide to use Witt and Pratto this season. The Royals stand currently at 56-70, with no shot at a playoff spot. Although fans would not be intrigued by the idea, it is a risk that could be worth taking.
The Royals are beginning to strap themselves together to plan for the 2022 season, along with the Twins who are planning on spending towards free agents. Kansas City can look towards that same direction, but they have some figuring out to do. Now, first base is clear for Pratto to take, with the combined efforts of Carlos Santana, Ryan O’Hearn, and Ryan McBroom. One will have to be discussed this offseason to give Pratto a path towards starting come 2022.
As for Bobby Witt Jr., he is currently blocked by infielders Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, and Nicky Lopez. With the Royals working on becoming contenders, Witt Jr. is one of those pieces who is set to join Salvador Perez and others to help the Royals come back to playoff contention. Trading Merrifield has been discussed for the past few seasons for Kansas City, but they could also think about considering Mondesi as an option as someone to part ways with. Not playing to his full potential, Mondesi has missed time throughout his career and could benefit elsewhere once Witt is ready.
With all of this being said, there are a lot of decisions to be made this season, and even for next year. Do the Kansas City Royals keep the duo of Witt and Pratto in the minors all this season, or do they let them get their feet wet this season? Can they be the next combination of Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira for the Royals infield?