KC Royals prospect Bobby Witt Jr. may be irresistible

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

The KC Royals may not be able to help themselves with Bobby Witt Jr.

As a baseball writer, I know well the value of variety. Too much of one thing isn’t necessarily good; storylines and subjects should be taken in moderation, not excess. Every day, though, it becomes increasingly difficult not to write about the KC Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr.

Everyone has something to say about Witt, the club’s No.1 prospect according to the authoritative MLB Pipeline. He seems to do at least one thing worth reporting each time he steps between the foul lines.

I fought the temptation to write again about Witt after he went 1-for-4 in the Royals’ 6-3 loss to Seattle Tuesday. One hit in four tries is hardly headline news, a performance paling in comparison to the mammoth home run (484 feet by all accounts) and two RBIs he had in a better 1-for-2 game against Oakland the day before.

Witt, though, forced my hand. Playing second base, he made a diving (or was it a low flying?) stab of a grounder in the second inning to rob Dylan Moore of a hit and Jake Fraley of a certain run scored:


Kansas City’s pitcher at the time was Danny Duffy who, per The Athletic’s KC beat writer Alec Lewis, and despite suffering a miserable day (the Mariners punished him with five runs on six hits in three innings), praised the play and Witt in no uncertain terms:

So, even with the memory of Monday’s bomb so fresh, Witt fashioned yet another gem, something new and spectacular to savor until his next big play or huge hit.

Once again, I found myself tapping out yet another story about Witt. That he went 1-for-4 is probably the most negative thing I’ve written about this 20-year old phenom; such consistent praise causes me to instinctively question my objectivity, but only briefly because Witt is so good. The nature of this difficult game means he’ll eventually do something worthy of criticism, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Witt Jr. is Superman. If he were, the KC Royals’ decision about where in their system to play him this season would be easy—they’d have him pack his bags in three weeks and head to Kansas City for Opening Day.

Something and someone would have to give, of course, because including Witt on the 26-man roster hasn’t been the club’s intent. General Manager Dayton Moore would have to scrap his obvious plan to protect Witt’s progress by providing him some time above rookie ball, the only place other than last year’s shortened spring camp, 2020’s alternate training site, and this year’s spring training that Witt has played professional ball.

It’s not been even three weeks since Witt started spring camp in Arizona as the prospect many want to see buck the odds and earn an Opening Day spot on the major league club. Now, with Witt slashing a nifty .333/.364/.619 with two homers, six RBIs and a .983 OPS in nine games (he’s appeared in all of Kansas City’s Cactus League contests), even the always conservative Moore must be wondering “What if…?” Moore is human, and couldn’t help giving some thought to Witt starting his big league career sooner rather than later.

It would be a gamble, of course, but Witt is getting closer to putting Moore in one of the hottest spots he’s been since becoming the architect of the KC Royals’ roster almost 15 years ago. If Witt stays the excellent course he’s on, Moore may not be able to send him down.

But again, don’t get me wrong. My opposition to Witt starting this season in Kansas City is strong and a matter of record. What he needs is gradually increasing doses of better pitching, not an expedited jolt of dazzling big league breaking stuff that so often greets rookies unprepared for such advanced offerings.

Witt, though, could prove to be irresistible. He might be as hard to send to the minors as he is to avoid writing about.

Next. What a full season may mean for Brady Singer. dark

Excellent reasons exist to give Bobby Witt Jr. a season in the minor leagues. But the KC Royals may not be able to resist trying him in Kansas City on Opening Day.