1B, Nick Pratto, first round, pick No. 14, Huntington Beach (California)
The crown jewel of the 2017 class has already jumped to the top of the Kansas City Royals prospect list. Nick Pratto, one of the few high schoolers the team drafted high, comes in ahead of Khalil Lee on the MLB.com list. It’s a lot for a young player to live up to, then again the pressure of being a first round pick — particularly for an organization that has missed on some in recent years — is high by itself.
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Pratto is well-remembered in many parts of the country for his game-winning hit in the 2011 Little League World Series. Playing for his Huntington Beach, California, team against Japan, the left-handed hitter smacked an RBI single to break a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning. The walk-off win, which came on his third hit of the game, put Pratto on the map early.
It’s safe to say his prep career lived up to the hype, leading him to be drafted 14th overall in June. As a left-handed pitcher and a first baseman, Pratto earned all-America honors his senior year. Pratto turned 19 years old in October giving him plenty of time to develop in the minors before he will be expected to reach the majors. Even still, he’s predicted by MLB.com to be playing for the Kansas City Royals by 2021.
He spent his first professional season in the Arizona League. Pratto managed just 49 hits in 52 games. Of those, 22 hits went for extra bases, including four home runs. He drove in 34 runs and scored 25 times. Pratto stole 10 bases in 14 tries, while striking out 58 times to 24 walks. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder slashed .247/.330/.414. The Kansas City Royals will hope those numbers improve across the board in 2018.
What do you think? What prospect are you most looking forward to following in the coming years? Let us know your thoughts.