After he slammed 36 homers, drove in 98 runs and slashed .265/.385/.602 in the minors last year, KC Royals fans begged for Nick Pratto’s major league debut, rejoiced when the club called him up as one of the substitutes for 10 players disqualified from a July series in Toronto, and celebrated when it recalled him for a more extended stay later that month.
Many were taken aback, though, and bombarded social media with protests, when the Royals demoted him to Triple-A Omaha 12 days ago. His bat, mostly quiet in Kansas City, was the culprit.
The move was the right one to make. Pratto was hitting .184 in 49 games and his .271 OBP flew in the face of his typically good minor league marks. He needed a break from the majors, some time to do corrective work away from The Show’s inherent pressures.
Sadly, Pratto’s return to Omaha hasn’t made an obvious difference—he went hitless for the sixth straight game as the Storm Chasers concluded their season Wednesday night, and was 3-for-28 (.107) with 11 strikeouts in the eight post-demotion games he played.
Perhaps organizational hitting instructors studied Pratto closely and uncovered a flaw he’s working on—because mechanical adjustments can occasionally be extraordinarily difficult to make, especially in a short time, it may be too soon for any such adjustments he might be making to bear fruit and manifest themselves in better numbers.
What might be next in line for promising KC Royals prospect Nick Pratto?
Whether Kansas City chooses to bring Pratto back for the final seven games of the club’s season will soon be known, but it might be best to spare him from the game environment so he can concentrate exclusively on whatever the Royals believe ails him.
But regardless of what short term approach the Royals choose for Pratto, he needs to figure things out soon. His defense is Gold Glove-worthy, but the present state of his bat won’t support a long term big league roster spot, especially with fellow rookie first baseman-designated hitter Vinnie Pasquantino playing so solidly (.280/.369/.440 with nine home runs).
Nick Pratto has work to do if he hopes to return to, and stay in, Kansas City.