After thoroughly dominating Double-A Northwest Arkansas for two and a half months, the Royals have finally promoted top prospects Bobby Witt Jr., age 21, and Nick Pratto, age 22, to Triple-A Omaha. The move brings Witt and Pratto one step closer to the big leagues.
Bobby Witt Jr. and Nick Pratto have been promoted to Omaha (AAA). pic.twitter.com/AXJRQPH8my— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) July 19, 2021
In his first full season as a professional, Witt, the Royals’ top-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline, has not disappointed. The second overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft played 59 games with the Naturals before today, accruing 272 plate appearances and hitting .295/.371/.574 with 16 home runs, a 9.2% walk rate, and a 23.9% strikeout rate. However, those numbers understate just how dominant he has been after acclimating to the league. In his last 179 PAs, he has hit .342/.413/.703 with only a 21.2% strikeout rate.
After a terrible 2019 that saw Pratto’s prospect status all but evaporate—MLB Pipeline did not list him among the Royals’ top 30 prospects—Pratto overhauled his swing and reportedly saw great success at last season’s alternate site. It has translated to some big numbers for the former 14th overall selection in the 2017 MLB draft. Pratto hit .279/.408/.586 with the Naturals this year, with 15 home runs, a 16.5% walk rate, and a 28.5% strikeout rate.
Historically, the Royals have used Omaha as a temporary stepping stone for their top hitting prospects, and we could see Witt and Pratto in Royals blue before the end of the year. Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer spent less than a month with the Storm Chasers before their debuts in 2011; meanwhile, Alex Gordon outright skipped Triple-A in 2007, and more recently Kyle Isbel also skipped Triple-A.