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Royals to call up former first-round pick Nick Loftin

Rosters will expand in September.

Milwaukee Brewers v Kansas City Royals Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Royals will call up former first-round pick Nick Loftin when rosters expand on September 1, according to reporter Anne Rogers. Loftin was hitting .270/.344/.444 with 14 home run and six steals in 82 games for Triple-A Omaha.

Loftin was selected as the 32nd overall pick of the 2020 draft out of Baylor, with Dayton Moore saying at the time they even considered him for the fourth overall pick. Loftin jumped straight to High-A the next year, and found himself in Triple-A by the end of last year. He hardly ever strikes out - his 13.1 percent strikeout rate is seventh-lowest among all Triple-A hitters. He has a healthy 10.4 percent walk rate and he is considered to have good speed, although his stolen base total fell from 29 in 2022 to just 7 this year.

MLB Pipeline ranks Loftin the #5 prospect in the system, writing “he is a contact hitter but has sneaky pop, he’s a plus runner, and he can play nearly anywhere on the field but behind the plate.” They praise his “smooth swing and a selective approach at the plate,” although they note he got away from that a bit at Triple-A. The 24-year old has primarily split his time between third and second this year, but has experience at shortstop and left- and centerfield as well.

The Royals can expand their roster from 26 to 28 on Friday for their series against Boston. In addition to Loftin, they can add one more pitcher to give them 14 arms. The Royals have a full 40-man roster, so they will have to remove someone to make room for Loftin, who needed to be protected from the Rule 5 draft this winter.