The KC Royals are struggling. They’re in last place in the American League Central, Tuesday night’s loss to Boston was their seventh straight defeat and marked the eighth time they’ve lost in their last 10 games, and postseason play is rapidly becoming a dream for next season, not a realistic possibility for 2021.
The future, though, is bright. Kansas City’s farm system is loaded with talent which should put the Royals back in serious contention in 2022. One look at the minor league standings going into tonight’s games reflects the quality of players the organization is preparing for the majors.
Omaha leads the Triple-A East-Midwest Division with a 32-16 record. Quad Cities, 31-16, leads High-A’s Central-West. Columbia’s 25-20 is good for second in Low-A’s East-South Division, and Northwest Arkansas is 23-23 and tied with cross-state rival Arkansas for third, just four games out of first, in Double-A’s Central-North.
That none of those clubs are short on top talent is probably no truer than at Northwest Arkansas. The Naturals boast one-third of MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Royals prospects on their roster: shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. (No. 1), first baseman Nick Pratto (No. 5), pitchers Jonathan Bowlan (No. 9), Austin Cox (No. 10), Alec Marsh (No. 11), and Jon Heasley (No. 12), catcher MJ Melendez (No. 13), outfielder Brewer Hicklen (No. 24), and pitchers Angel Zerpa (No. 28) and Yefri Del Rosario (No. 29).
And now, as further proof the Royals know talent when they see it, two Naturals have been selected to play in this year’s SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, baseball’s annual showcase of top minor league players and part of MLB All-Star Game festivities. Witt and Pratto will play for the American League squad in the contest scheduled for July 11 at Colorado’s Coors Field.
The KC Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr. and Nick Pratto are deserving Futures picks.
The two Double-A stars are excellent selections for this year’s game.
Despite lacking any experience above Rookie ball and last season’s assignment to the KC Royals’ Alternate Training Site, Witt, the club’s first-round draft pick in 2019, made a strong run at earning a big league roster spot this spring, hitting .289 with three home runs, seven RBIs in 14 Cactus League games. But Kansas City, in a move consistent with their obvious preference to develop their No. 1 prospect cautiously, assigned him to the minors.
Witt didn’t hit his stride until late May, but is now slashing .286/.354/.551 with 12 homers and 35 RBIs. A promotion to Omaha may come soon.
Pratto, another first-rounder—KC took him with the 14th overall selection four years ago—has 13 home runs, just one short of the career-high 14 he clubbed in 127 games at Class-A Lexington in 2018, and is slashing .280/.407/.604, numbers that put him in line for the first base job in Kansas City if Carlos Santana leaves when his contract expires after next season.
KC Royals fans should look forward to this season’s Futures Game. They’ll get a look at top Kansas City prospects Bobby Witt Jr. and Nick Pratto, both of whom are on the American League roster.