As the KC Royals move towards a rebuild it is vital that we keep in mind how we got to this point. Revisiting our recent drafts is a good place to start.
In the 2017 draft, the KC Royals went with two high school kids at the top of the draft. While those two have seen some struggles, the draft overall has provided some nice surprises.
The KC Royals picked two high school studs with their first two selections in the 2017 draft. They chose first-baseman Nick Pratto with the 14th pick and catcher M.J. Melendez with the 52nd pick. Both of these young men remain in almost every prospect list you can find for the KC Royals. And they both will continue to get every chance to prove themselves moving forward. The organization is heavily invested in them.
My concern is that neither one of them was able to hit last season. Nick Pratto struck out in almost 35 percent of his plate appearances. MJ Melendez? He struck out in nearly 40 percent of his plate appearances! Yes, that is a lot. And neither one of them was being pushed beyond high A ball.
We need to see these two young ballplayers make contact this season. Regular contact with the baseball. I do not even care which level it is at. Just hit the ball again. If not, I will not be surprised to see guys like Vinnie Pasquantino pass up Pratto on our prospects list. The same with guys like Sebastian Rivero when it comes to Melendez.
In fairness, both top picks are now only 21 years old. And they both have the physical gifts to turn it around. Melendez has a nice track record in a key defensive position that adds value to him. But it is very difficult for me to imagine an offensive cornerstone piece that failed to hit over .200 or to carry an OPS over .600 through more than 100 games of high A ball. You would certainly hope to see more from your top draft picks.