First baseman Nick Pratto is working on becoming a KC Royals’ favorite again.
Remember when Kansas City drafted Nick Pratto in the first round of the 2017 amateur draft? Remember when MLB Pipeline rated him as the organizations’ top prospect that year? Remember when, just a year later, he hit 14 homers, drove in 62 runs, and posted a .280/.343/.443 line in 127 games at Class A Lexington?
And remember the disaster that followed, the 2019 season at High-A Wilmington when he nosedived to .191 with a .278 OBP, and managed just nine home runs and 46 RBIs in 124 games? The poor performance allowed Travis Jones to close the gap on Pratto in the intra-organizational race to fill the first base hole in Kansas City Eric Hosmer’s departure created.
Fortunately for the KC Royals, Carlos Santana now occupies first base. But because 2022, the final season of his two-year contract, will be his age-36 campaign, the club must still be concerned about the position.
Pratto did much this spring to establish himself as the favorite to succeed Santana if he leaves. He slashed .345/.406/.862 with three doubles and four homers in 29 at-bats. Because there was no room for him in Kansas City, and he needs to face live-game pitching every day, the Royals sent him to Northwest Arkansas to start this season.
And his start was bad. Pratto was hitting .138 before the first of his last five games began.
Now, though, he’s come alive; he’s not as hot as Melendez, but he’s getting close. The first baseman hit .411 in his last five games, a binge that raised his average 55 points from .231 to .286, and includes those three home runs he smashed against Springfield and the one he added for good measure Saturday. And he’s knocked in eight runs during the five-game run.
It looks like he’s back on track.