When the Kansas City Royals drafted Nick Pratto in the first round of the MLB Draft this past June, the Eric Hosmer comparisons started rolling. Great athlete, knack for hitting the baseball, potential Gold Glove first baseman, power may or may not develop from the left side.
Anytime you draft a high school first baseman in the first round of the MLB Draft, you better hit. Usually, these kids are drafted to do one thing and one thing only: hit the baseball. You don’t draft a high school first baseman for his defense, or his speed, or his charisma, you draft them because they’re the best young hitter in the draft.
Nick Pratto may very well turn out to be just that. He was said to be the best high school hitter in his draft class, which is why the Royals probably took a chance on him. With an offer on the table to play baseball at USC, Pratto had options outside of signing with Kansas City. The fact that the Royals were comfortable drafting him despite all of these concerns ought to tell you something. If Dayton Moore is comfortable with the kid, than so am I.
Showing up as the top overall prospect for Kansas City for the second consecutive ranking now, we asked Pratto to do an interview with us so fans could begin to get to know the first baseman of the future a little bit better. His answers won’t disappoint you.
Q: What’s the biggest thing you learned in your first pro season?
Pratto: “Following into a routine and getting into the pattern of pro baseball instead of just showing up to a game like you could in high school.”
Q: What was the toughest transition from high school baseball to pro ball?
Pratto: “The way I got pitched was a lot different. The pitching in general, really. I had never seen a good changeup in high school. Coming into pro ball I saw a lot of changeups. Through the back half of the season and into instructs (Instructional League) I felt like I got a lot better at identifying the changeup and laying off of it.”
Q: How do you handle being kind of the face of the Royals future? Does it drive you to work harder? Do you feel that it brings out the leader in you at all?
Pratto: “It brings out my leadership for sure. I see all of my fellow players and we’re a tight knit group. I take pride in helping people out. The whole organization right now is awesome. Getting to meet older guys and feeling the closeness of this organization is awesome. It makes you want to be a big part of what’s going on. I think it comes with a lot of responsibility as well, though.”
Q: Which MLB hitters do you like to watch film on and learn from?
Pratto: “Joey Votto comes to mind. Not as much as swing but more of his approach and the way he prepares for an at bat. Greg Bird was impressive last fall, he’s a lot of fun to watch. Anthony Rizzo is another one.”
Q: What would you like to see yourself improve on this offseason?
Pratto: “Refining some mechanical things that creeped into my swing and coming into spring training continuing to work on my plate discipline and continuing to make hard contact.”
Q: What made you decide to sign with KC instead of attending USC?
Pratto: “I was really intrigued by the level of play that pro ball brings and I was excited for my development in pro ball. I felt the Royals were a great fit for me and was excited when they called my name.”
Q: What do you do during your off days in season?
Pratto: “Anything from golfing to, we paint balled one time, haha. Eat, hang out by the pool. Anything to relax and hang out with your friends.”
Q: I saw on twitter that you’re a Luke Combs fan, favorite song?
Pratto: “Oh yea man he’s awesome. I love Hurricane, but that album is awesome,man. I listen to the whole thing.”
Q: Who’s the best under-the-radar type player that you played with last summer?
Pratto: “Travis Jones. He’s one heck of a player. He does everything well, plays multiple positions, and is an awesome teammate. I played against him when I was on Team USA and he was at Texas too, so I’ve seen him before.”
So there you have it, Royals fans. The Royals top overall prospect speaks. From talking with the kid, he sounds like a solid guy. As per usual, the Royals not only continue to draft and develop top notch players but top notch human beings as well. Nick Pratto is going to be really easy to root for.
Photo Credits: MLB.com