Will dream season for Bobby Witt Jr. follow his dream KC Royals deal?

2024 could be a huge year for Kansas City's best player.

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Welcome back to Kings of Kauffman's 2024 KC Royals player projection series. Over the next several weeks, we'll be reviewing how various Royals performed last year and predicting how they might fare this season. Up today is shortstop Bobby Witt Jr.

He's played only two major league seasons, and less than two full campaigns in the minors, but professional baseball has been more than kind to Bobby Witt Jr. Royals fans adored him even before he drove in what proved to be the winning run with his first big league hit on Opening Day 2022, and they love him even more after last season, when he hit 30 homers and stole 49 bases to become the first Royal member of the 30-30 club, led the majors in triples with 11, fell four RBI short of 100, and was named KC's Les Milgram Player of the Year, an award he also won as a rookie in 2022.

And now, with the ink barely dry on the dream mega-contract extension he signed earlier this month, a giant deal that secures his financial future and may well make him a Royal for life, Witt is about as close to the top of the baseball world as he can get.

But will he stay there? Can he follow the closing of his new arrangement, the biggest in Kansas City baseball history, with an explosive 2024 season?

Witt certainly has the talent and the attitude to do just that.

How does FanGraphs project Bobby Witt Jr. will perform this year?

FanGraphs (Depth Charts version) believes Witt's 2024 season won't be much different than 2023: it predicts he'll hit 28 homers, two fewer than he did last year; drive in 99 runs, three more than he did in 2023; improve his 115 wRC+ to 117; and slash .277/.326/.493, a line pretty close to last season's .276/.319/.495.

How will Bobby Witt Jr. actually do for the Royals in 2024?

Some might fear the pressure of living up to his historic contract will be too much for young Witt. But little, if anything, in his makeup seems to even remotely support such a notion, and any concerns about him buckling under pressure should be dismissed.

Instead, expect Witt, a player of incredible talent and baseball savvy, and a superstar in the making, to enjoy a season worthy of the trust and confidence the Royals have in him. Don't be at all surprised if he belts 35 homers, drives in 110 runs, triples at least as often as he did last year, steals 50 bases, and slashes in the neighborhood of .280/.335/.510. Also, look for his defense to be just as good as it was in 2023, when he led American League shortstops in OAA and DRP.

And expect him to be the team's Les Milgram Player of the Year for the third consecutive season.

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