Welcome back to Kings of Kauffman's offseason series analyzing the 2023 performances of various KC Royals players. Up today is shortstop Bobby Witt Jr.
Until Wednesday, when he won the Les Milgram Player of the Year Award as the top Royal of the 2023 season, Bobby Witt Jr. hadn't snared any big honors for his remarkable performance. He should have, but didn't, receive a Gold Glove Award nomination for his second major league campaign. And, as Kings of Kauffman's Patrick Glancy predicted last week, his name wasn't called when winners were announced Thursday evening.
Whether he'll make the All-MLB Team, for which he was nominated earlier this week, remains to be seen.
But awards or no awards, Witt is absolutely the best the Royals have. What he did this year proves it; he was nothing less than spectacular.
Bobby Witt Jr. had a huge season for the KC Royals
Becoming the first 30-30 player in club history leads Witt's list of sparkling 2023 accomplishments. He reached 30 stolen bases Aug. 2 when he stole second against San Francisco, and clubbed his 30th home run Sept. 29 in a KC blowout of the Yankees. He didn't hit another homer, but finished with 49 steals, just one swipe short of becoming the first big leaguer to collect 10 triples (he led the big leagues with 11), 30 homers, and 50 steals in a single season.
Playing in all but four of the Royals' 162 games, Witt rapped out 177 hits, including 28 doubles, drove in 96 runs, and slashed .276/.319/.495. His OPS+ was 120, his wRC+ 115, and his fWAR 5.7.
His defense was also excellent. Among qualified American League shortstops, he had the best DRP and OAA.
What grade should Bobby Witt Jr. receive for 2023?
Some players are tough to grade. Witt isn't one of them. He gets an A+.