The KC Royals are relying on several rookies going into the final 26 games of the season. Everyone knows Bobby Witt Jr. is the new cornerstone of the franchise, which is understandable considering he’s a true five-tool player and hasn’t disappointed in his first year in the major leagues.
But who is the best Kansas City rookie not named Bobby Witt Jr.? Is it Vinnie Pasquantino, MJ Melendez, Drew Waters, Nick Pratto, or Michael Massey?
All these players have the ability to be successful foe years to come. Pasquantino, who’s on injury rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Omaha and could return any day, looks to be a legitimate middle of the order bat who can battle Witt and Salvador Perez for the team leads in home runs and RBIs. Melendez has a great eye at the plate and the power to hit the ball out of any ballpark. Waters, who hit his first major league homer in Monday’s loss to Cleveland, has the speed to play any of the outfield positions. Pratto is a great defensive first baseman who has the ability to win two or three Gold Gloves and whose bat is finally waking up.
Second baseman Michael Massey may be the second best KC Royals rookie.
That leaves Michael Massey, who could be the starting second baseman of the future. MLB Pipeline didn’t include him in its list of Top 30 Kansas City prospects at the end of last season, but he’s Pipeline’s No. 2 KC prospect now.
Massey plugged away in the minors this season by starting at Double-A Northwest Arkansas and then advancing to Omaha. In Double-A he hit .305 and while at Triple-A hit .325. He had a combined 16 homers and 77 RBIs when the Royals called him up; over just three minor league seasons, he’s slashed .294/.356/.506 with 42 home runs and 189 RBIs.
He can also field—he won the minor league Rawlings Gold Glove for second basemen in 2021.
And he’s playing well for Kansas City, who called him up to the majors for the first time in mid-July to help replace 10 Royals whose unvaccinated status barred them from playing in a series in Toronto. Massey went 3-for-8 against the Blue Jays, returned to Omaha as soon as the series was over, but has become KC’s regular second baseman after being recalled Aug. 3. Since then, he’s hitting .256 with an excellent .352 OBP, and his defense has been superb.
Massey projects as a player who can hit above .300, hit 10 to 15 home runs, steal 10 to 15 bases, knock in 60 to 70 runs, and play Gold Glove-caliber defense. He’s the type of player who managers appreciate and fans fall in love with.
So, will Massey be the best long-term KC Royals rookie besides Witt? He has all the tools to do so. He has shown the ability to be a consistent offensive and defensive player throughout his minor league career. And in his brief time with the Royals, he’s displaying those same tendencies. Now, he just needs to remain consistent and continue to improve the skills that made him so successful in the minor leagues.
Michael Massey is probably the second-best Royal rookie.