With the 32nd pick, SS Nick Loftin
This is another great pick for the Royals. Nick Loftin is the definition of a versatile player. While playing with Team USA, Loftin played second base, third base, shortstop, left field, and right field. While his primary, and probably best position, is shortstop, this is an intriguing find for the Royals.
Where does Nick Loftin fit?
That is a fair question to ask. In 2019, the Royals used their No.2 overall pick on shortstop Bobby Witt Jr, then used their next pick on Florida shortstop Brady McConnell. While they eventually moved McConnell to the outfield, Witt Jr stayed at shortstop. However, looking at the big league level, the Royals have Adalberto Mondesi holding down the shortstop position. So where does Loftin fit?
The first option would be to give him the Whit Merrifield treatment and move him all over the place, giving players a rest day when needed.
A second option requires some movement to happen, assuming all things go right with player development. The Royals would need to move Witt Jr to third base and Mondesi to centerfield. This would allow Nicky Lopez to stay at his natural position of second base and Loftin to play his better position of shortstop.
Obviously other options can happen, and players develop differently over time. With Loftin’s versatility though, anything could be possible.
What Nick Loftin brings to the Royals
As mentioned above, Loftin brings defensive versatility and has great range defensively with an above-average arm. He won’t hit with a lot of power, hitting just 8 triples and 17 homeruns through 180 college and summer league games, but he could develop into a gap hitter as his slugging percentage increased every year.
Interestingly enough, Loftin and Merrifield do have similarities. Both had minimal power numbers in college and both can play multiple positions at a high level. If Merrifield’s increase in power is an indicator or what Loftin can achieve, the Royals have a franchise player in Loftin.