KC Royals: New honor proves Nick Pratto is still in mix

(Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports) /

Today’s news that he’s been selected to play in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, the showcase of top minor league talent Major League Baseball annually rolls into its All-Star Game festivities, isn’t something KC Royals prospect Nick Pratto will likely take lightly.

He’d probably much prefer learning he’s finally receiving the call to the big leagues that hasn’t yet come, but for now his second straight selection to the Futures means he remains very much on everyone’s radar.

And despite not having quite the season he had last year, that’s a good thing.

Nick Pratto isn’t in the majors but the KC Royals prospect is still on track.

This hasn’t been the season many anticipated for Pratto, whose minor league numbers last year and excellent Cactus League performance this spring only strengthened his case to head North with the club when spring training ended. He clubbed 36 home runs, drove in 98 runs and slashed .265/.385/.602 in a 2021 campaign split between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, then scorched exhibition game pitching for a .333/.545/.667 line and 1.212 OPS.

But the Royals, clearly committed to playing veteran Carlos Santana at first base, Pratto’s primary position, left him behind and sent him back to Omaha. The decision made sense at the time—Santana was entering his contract season and Kansas City needed to bolster his trade value after his disappointing, injury-plagued 2021 season.

Especially after a weak offense helped fuel their poor start, it seemed just a matter of time before the Royals would summon Pratto and his bat to Kansas City. But an early season slump—he was hitting just .197 three weeks into the campaign—threw him behind Vinnie Pasquantino, who was slashing .282/.398./507 and continued to outperform Pratto until his recent callup to Kansas City.

Fortunately, Pratto is rounding back into form, at least in most respects. His average is up 35 points to .232 and after contributing a home run to the remarkable nine the Storm Chasers hit against Toledo July 4, and another against the Mud Hens yesterday, Pratto has 15 round-trippers for the year.

His .363 OBP, to which a 14.4 BB% contributes significantly, proves he continues to reach base at a stellar rate, and he has 45 RBIs. Still concerning, however, is his 31.3 K%, but that’s consistent with his career trend.

So, when will the Royals bring him up?

His major league debut isn’t imminent. Pasquantino and Hunter Dozier are splitting time at first base and Pasquantino DH’s when he isn’t at first. That Pratto’s been spending time in the outfield suggests Kansas City recognizes the need to find options for him, but not until the club makes the inevitable trade of Andrew Benintendi, perhaps makes the far less certain move of trading Michael A. Taylor, Edward Olivares or Kyle Isbel play themselves off the club, or Pasquantino’s troubling rookie slump (he was hitting .154 going into Thursday’s action) continues, will a spot open up.

More. 4 potential Benintendi deals. light

He will, however, make it to The K eventually, probably this season.

And fans can get a good look at him in the Futures Game July 16.

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Nick Pratto is headed for the Futures Game.