3. Bobby Witt Jr.
Would it be anyone else? The 2nd overall pick in this year’s draft was an easy choice for the Royals given that Adley Rutschman was a unanimous number one overall pick to the Baltimore Orioles even before the draft had started. Witt, 19, went one pick ahead of where his father had gone back in the 1985 MLB Draft and was named the Gatorade national high school player of the year this past season.
Witt has been playing in the Royals rookie ball league since signing his contract and is slashing 0.262/0.311/0.349 with 1 home run and 23 RBI’s in 33 games. Scouts have been raving about his abilities to hit to all parts of the field:
"“A rare potential five-tool shortstop, Witt didn’t always make consistent contact on the showcase circuit last summer, but scouts aren’t worried about his bat, especially as he showed improvement on that front this past spring. The right-handed hitter shows good barrel control and some willingness to use the entire field, so he should hit for average as he modifies his aggressive approach. His raw power and speed are both plus tools, which, combined with his baserunning instincts, could make him a 20-20 player.” – MLB Pipeline"
He’s not projected to big-league ready until 2022 so that allows the Royals some to figure out how they are going to handle the potential problem of Adalberto Mondesi occupying shortstop and Whit Merrifield locked in at second base. Mondesi is under team control through the 2023 season and Merrifield just signed an extension that will keep in a Royals uniform at least through the 2022 season, with a club option for 2023.
The easy solution would be the move Merrifield in a package for even more prospects but the Royals front office appears to really like him:
"The Royals have no contractual incentive to move Merrifield, who is under team control through 2023, and the team’s front office values him highly as an organizational tone-setter, on and off the field."
It will be interesting to watch this unfold but Witt should get his first look at Single-A to start the 2020 season. He could move up quickly if all goes to plan.