Why the Nick Pratto promotion is right move for the KC Royals
Nick Pratto doubled for Omaha Thursday night. It was the only hit he mustered against Nashville and raised his average to an almost undetectable .159, an ugly number that until last season was utterly unthinkable for the then-hot prospect who in 2021 slammed 36 homers, drove in 98 runs, had a .265.385/.602 line and won a Gold Glove in the minors. But the unacceptable .184 he hit after KC called him to the majors last summer forced him back to the Storm Chasers before the campaign ended.
After that embarrassing big league debut, not even his .324 average and .385 OBP in the Cactus League this spring was enough to land him on Kansas City's Opening Day roster, although he did appear in three early April Royal games when Kyle Isbel missed time on paternity leave.
Nevertheless, and despite his inability to stay above the Mendoza Line at Omaha this season, the Royals brought Pratto back again before Friday's game against Minnesota.
Calling up first baseman Nick Pratto was a good decision by the KC Royals.
Pratto's return is the right move, and not because he went 3-for-5 and drove in a pair of runs in his club's 8-6 loss to the Twins. Simply put, the time has come for the Royals to find out, once and for all, what Pratto can do against major league pitching.
Making now the time is the curious combination of Pratto's remarkable 2021 and distressing 2022; besides following up his stellar 2021 effort by hitting so badly for Kansas City last season, he batted only .228 (albeit with 17 homers) and fanned 30.5% of the time in 82 games at Omaha when he wasn't up with the Royals. KC needs to know soon just what they have in Pratto—a slick-fielding but woefully inconsistent hitter, or a genuine, everyday threat at the plate? Having Vinnie Pasquantino, who'll move his prodigious bat to DH if Pratto succeeds, enables the club to make a final call on Pratto this year.
Finally, adding Pratto to the 26-man roster expands Kansas City's defensive options. He's occasionally played the outfield corners in the majors and minors, Royals manager Matt Quatraro used him in left and right when he was with the club earlier this month, and he's slated to play right field today against Minnesota:
Will Pratto make the most of this chance? We're about to find out.