Meet the Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr., the second overall pick of the 2019 draft and the man set to take MLB by storm.
We’ll forgive you if you haven’t been paying attention to the Kansas City Royals. But now’s the time to get back on the wagon, because a generational talent has arrived in Missouri in the form of Bobby Witt Jr.
The 21-year-old third baseman and MLB.com’s top-ranked prospect in all of baseball debuted on Thursday and delivered an RBI double in a 3-1 win over Cleveland. That hit was Candy Digital’s MLB Play of the Day NFT the following day.
Let’s get better acquainted with Witt, shall we?
Big League Roots
Witt is the son of former Major League pitcher Bobby Witt, who was drafted third overall in 1985 and played 16 big league seasons with Texas, Oakland, Florida (now Miami), St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Arizona, and won a title with the 2001 Diamondbacks. Junior was born a year earlier in the Dallas suburb of Colleyville, starring as a shortstop at Colleyville Heritage and going on to become the second overall pick by Kansas City in 2019, where he was paid a franchise record $7.9 million to sign.
Witt Jr. got his feet wet in the Arizona rookie league in 2019, playing 37 games before the pandemic wiped out the 2020 MiLB season altogether. Bumped up to Double-A and Triple-A in 2021, Witt slashed a beastly .290/.361/.576 with 33 homers, 97 RBIs and 29 stolen bases. It was clear he was ready for takeoff and has three RBIs in his first three MLB games with the Royals.
A 5-Tool Player
The term “five-tool player” is bandied about far too often in baseball scouting circles, but the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Witt certainly fits the bill.
Graded on the standard 20-80 baseball scouting scale, MLB.com gives Witt 60 in hitting, 70 in power, 60 in running, a 60 arm, and 60 in fielding. His overall 70 grade equates to what scouts considered a top-five hitter, which he displayed last year in the minors and has the potential to show in the big leagues.
Witt moved over to third with Adalberto Mondesi and Nicky Lopez currently manning shortstop in Kansas City. Paired with Whit Merrifield at second base, Carlos Santana at first and Salvador Perez catching following a 48-homer season in 2021, Witt leads a Royals infield primed to be successful in 2022 and beyond.
MLB.com’s Jim Callis called Witt the second-best shortstop prospect in 30 years, behind just Alex Rodriguez. To say Witt can become the next Corey Seager or Carlos Correa (or pick your favorite superstar shortstop) is not an understatement. Could Witt be a perennial 30-30 player with plus defense? Is an MVP award in his future?
The sky truly is the limit for Bobby Witt Jr., and we should all be excited that he’s just getting started.