1B Nick Pratto
Ah, yes, the prodigal son. Nick Pratto, a first-round pick out of high school in the 2017 MLB Draft, was supposed to plant his flag in the 2023 season. After all, Vinnie Pasquantino was limited in 2023 due to injury, Kansas City lacked immediate depth at first base outside of Pratto, and the California native had the tools to take the next step. Sadly, that was not the case.
There was a time in the 2023 season where Pratto looked elite; he looked like the player the Royals had expected him to be. Alas, it was simply a hot streak and nothing more. The 25-year-old infielder made some outfield appearances, trying to keep his bat in the lineup during that hot streak. But Pratto could not keep it going across the entire season. He finished 2023 with a 79 wRC+, an absurd 40% strikeout rate, and a .388 BABIP, both extreme outliers in their own right.
Pratto finished 2023 with a -.6 fWAR across his 95 games played, 78 of those coming at first base. MLB.com's Anne Rogers put things bluntly this offseason, writing in the Royals Beat newsletter that Pratto "is going to have to really earn his way onto the roster in spring training." That is the best way to put it, as the clock is ticking on Pratto in Kansas City.
Frankly, I just do not see what Pratto brings to the 2024 Royals that another player cannot. Devin Mann, CJ Alexander, and others have the positional pedigree Kansas City wants while having more control. Plus, I am out on Pratto personally and was not a fan even during his hot streak. I hope he carves out a decent MLB career, but I do not believe that continues in Kansas City for much longer.