Our method for determining our top 100 Royals prospects came from an aggregate of three separate top 100 lists. These lists were compiled by three members of our writing staff: Patrick Brennan, Alex Duvall, and Drew Osborne.
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1. Nick Pratto, 1B
Levels Played, 2017: Rookie (AZL)
Acquired: 2017 MLB Draft, 1st Round
2017 Stats: 52 G, .247/.330/.414, 49 H, 15 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 25 R, 34 RBI, 10 SB (AZL)
This June, the Royals picked up their number one prospect with the fourteenth overall selection in the MLB Draft. Quite possibly the best high school hitter in the draft, the Royals were appealed to the above-average athleticism, power potential, and great swing that Pratto holds.
A two-way star in high school, Pratto was considered a legit pitching prospect to go along with his high-profiled bat, as the lefty could reach 90 MPH with his fastball. But as the draft drew closer, it was clear Pratto was going to embark on a professional career in the field. Landing with the Royals in the draft, he was easily lured away from his commitment to USC, signing for $3.75 million.
Heading into the draft, I was a strong believer that Pratto was the best high school bat available, so I was pretty satisfied when the Royals called his name. I just loved everything about him at the plate. The swing, the discipline, the potential for power, the bat speed. Once the bat matures at the professional level, the Royals will have themselves one great hitting prospect.
With a minimal lift in the leg, Pratto uses strength from his hips and back leg combined with an ideal bat-path to generate a high amount of fly balls (43.6% FB% ranked near the top of the AZL). Though it’s not quite there yet, many seem to think there is potential for power in this bat. If he builds a bit on his 6’0″ 200 lbs frame, we could see a serious uptick in the home run department. Of the current power he does have, most of it is to the pull-side.
Even though Pratto didn’t have the greatest professional debut (103 wRC+), he stilled flashed some good. Twenty-two of his 49 hits went for extra-bases, as he often found the gaps. The BB% was also impressive for a player jumping from high school to professional ball, standing at a 10.4% mark.
For a first baseman, Pratto is athletically gifted. The speed and range could be better, but he flashes an elite arm for first and some nice glove-work. All in all, he is above-average defensively.
With as advanced a profile that Pratto has, I’d expect the Royals to be aggressive with his development, maybe sending him to Lexington for his first full professional season. I’m excited to see how it play out. The Royals could have possibly found themselves a first baseman with All-Star potential here.
Photo Credits: MLB.com