MiLM 8/28/21: VIDEO…Witt, Pratto, Melendez all go yard for AAA Omaha

Welcome back to the Minor League Minutes (MiLM). If you’re new, we’ll usually recap articles that are new to the site here with links you can follow to read them. We’ll also include some sort of highlight reel or recap of the prior day’s MiLB action, as well as some additional thoughts on any particular subject that comes to mind. That can include thoughts on the minor leagues, the big league club, or baseball in general. Thanks for reading, we’re glad to have you.

Be sure to check out the most recent edition of the RFR podcast. Joel and I sat down with the co-founder of Prospects Live, Geoff Pontes, to talk about the Royals midseason prospect lists and how they compare to the rest of baseball.

Every Monday we update a MiLB stats leaderboard for Royals prospects. Here is this week’s look.

Hits

1.) Bobby Witt Jr.: 108
2.) Vinnie Pasquantino: 107
3.) Michael Massey: 99
4.) Maikel Garcia + Clay Dungan: 96
6.) MJ Melendez: 93
7.) Nick Pratto: 91
8.) Kyle Isbel + Ryan McBroom: 87
10.) Dairon Blanco: 85

I wrote this week about the Royals Rule 5 decisions coming this offseason and the roster crunch it could create in 2022.

Kyle Isbel, Edward Olivares, Whit Merrifield, Hunter Dozier, Emmanuel Rivera, Nicky Lopez, Adalberto Mondesi, Bobby Witt Jr.…are going to have to find a way to share time at 4 positions.

Be sure to check out our own midseason Royals prospect rankings. We did the top 51 Royals prospects.

#8: Jonathan Bowlan, RHP

#7: Kyle Isbel, OF

#6: Asa Lacy, LHP

Friday Night Highlight Reel

Minor League Baseball’s Most Powerful Trio

What the Royals trio of Bobby Witt Jr., Nick Pratto, and MJ Melendez have done so far this season has been nothing short of miraculous. Nick Pratto had 31 total XBH in 2019. He’s probably going to hit 31 HR this season. MJ Melendez hit 34 total XBH in 2019. He’s got 33 HR already in 2021. Bobby Witt Jr. might be the best prospect in all of baseball. Yet, as impressive as these three have been, somehow they may not even be having the best seasons among all Royals prospects.

23-year old 1B prospect Vinnie Pasquantino went 3-4 with a HR, a 2B, and 2 BB last night in two games for AA Northwest Arkansas. Vinnie is now hitting .315/.402/.589/.991 with 20 HR, 57 XBH, a 0.88 BB/K, and 163 wRC+ across High-A and Double-A this season. Vinnie’s 163 wRC+ is the best mark of any Royals prospect this season. His 13.4% K% is also the best mark of ANY Royals prospect this season and his 57 XBH are tied with Pratto for the org lead as well. The kid has been absolutely remarkable this season and while he doesn’t have the 30 HR that Pratto, Witt Jr., and Melendez have or will soon have, you could make the argument he’s been better overall than all three of those guys (with the needed caveat that he’s also a year older and a league lower).

Here is the current top 5 HR leaders in all of MiLB:

1.) Griffin Conine 34
2.) MJ Melendez 33
3.) Bobby Witt Jr. + Nick Pratto 28
5.) Brandon Lewis + Blaine Crim 26

The funny part about this is that Conine is a 23-year old that spent a lot of time in High-A and both of the guys in 5th place were in High-A, too. If you just look at AA and AAA HR leaders, here’s the new top 5:

1.) MJ Melendez 33
2.) Nick Pratto + Bobby Witt Jr. 28
4.) Four with 25

The next closest player between AA/AAA that is 22 or younger is Jo Adell with 23. Then you have Mark Vientos and Elehuris Montero with 22. There is no one even CLOSE to Melendez, Pratto, and Witt in terms of age, level, and number of HR hit. Those three have been absolutely freaking incredible this season and somehow have gotten even hotter since their promotions. Pasquantino has been the same way since being promoted to AA, too. Here’s a look at all four guys before and after numbers:

Pasquantino
A+: .291/.384/.565/.949, 0.87 BB/K, .274 ISO, 155 wRC+
AA: .359/.436/.633/1.069, 0.89 BB/K, .273 ISO, 180 wRC+

Witt Jr.
AA: .295/.369/.570/.939, 0.37 BB/K, .275 ISO, 146 wRC+
AAA: .297/.354/.628/.982, 0.36 BB/K, .331 ISO, 154 wRC+

Melendez
AA: .285/.372/.628/1.000, 0.57 BB/K, .342 ISO, 158 wRC+
AAA: .260/.373/.600/.973, 0.90 BB/K, .340 ISO, 153 wRC+

Pratto
AA: .271/.404/.570/.974, 0.58 BB/K, .299 ISO, 156 wRC+
AAA: .279/.361/.690/1.051, 0.38 BB/K, .411 ISO, 167 wRC+

Nick Pratto is literally the only one with any kind of meaningful drop off, coming in the plate discipline/strike out department, but he’s hitting for so much more power in AAA than he was in AA that he’s actually been more productive. These guys are absolutely freaking insane, man. There aren’t enough words to describe how good they’ve been and just how good they’ve been doesn’t come close to describing how much better they’ve been since 2019. It is seriously remarkable. Miraculous. Hats off to the Royals player development staff, man. Alec Zumwalt, Drew Saylor, Mike Tosar, Keoni DeRenne, take a bow.

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