I am extremely excited to start a new five-part series for Royals Farm Report covering under-the-radar prospects in the organization. Each will be a separate prospect profile and will come out in order of how I rank them. I will be covering the following players over the next few weeks: Vinnie Pasquantino, Drew Parrish, Michael Massey, Tucker Bradley, and Will Klein.
With all eyes on Nick Pratto, Vinnie Pasquantino is seemingly flying under the radar. Between High-A and AA, the 23-year-old is slashing .313/.403/.576 with 22 HR, 77 RBI. These eye-popping numbers pair with an absurd 12.6% strikeout rate and a 12.2% walk rate. The 2019 11th rounder out of Old Dominion has almost as many walks (57) as strikeouts (59). Anytime I see that I just can only react with heart-eyes-emoji.
Not only does he just rake, but according to Alec Lewis in a recent article of the Athletic, he brings a ton of energy to the clubhouse and works his butt off every single day. Those are the kind of guys you want on your big league club. It is hard to express the importance of a guy who can bring a positive attitude to the clubhouse every single day and can show everyone around him how you should go about your business. It makes me think of Salvador Perez. The energy he brings every single day and how many guys look up to him for his work ethic is the kind of guy you want roaming around in the clubhouse.
Pratto v. Pasquantino Comparison
Nick Pratto (AA/AAA): .261/28 HR/81 RBI/11 SB with a 28.7 K% and 15.9 BB%
Vinnie Pasquantino (High-A/AA): .313/22 HR/77 RBI with a 12.6 K% and 12.2 BB%
It is hard for many to compare Pratto and Pasquantino. Mainly since both are playing first base. It is only natural to want to take a look at what makes them different. Pratto and Pasquantino have very similar plate appearances this year with Pratto coming in at 478 PA’s and Pasquantino with 476 PA’s. The biggest difference between Pratto and Pasquantino is that Pratto carries a ton more speed on him and plays elite defense. That is not to say Pasquantino is a bad defender. Pratto just has the chance to be a gold glove defender at first base. Pratto also has 11 steals and possesses some average speed. He won’t blow you away on the bath paths but compared to Pasquantino, he’s got wheels.
The other difference between the two is probably in the power department. Pratto has a .347 isolated power (ISO) in AAA and seems to have more raw power than Pasquantino. Pasquantino has pop, but he is more of a gap to gap power as we will discuss a bit more below. Pratto strikes out more and walks more and Pasquantino shows a better feel at the plate and a much better ability to recognize pitches than Pratto. It is insane to see a player with Pasquantino’s power to only strike out only 12.6% of the time. That puts him in some elite company.
It is hard not to fall in love with Pasquantino when you watch his swing. It is just so smooth and he creates so much pop which translates to his .275 isolated power in High-A and .253 isolated power in AA. He also carries an absurd .985 OPS and is just absolutely demolishing minor league pitching at every single level he makes his way to. The best part of Pasquantino is that he couples his power with great pitch recognition and a fantastic hit tool. He has such a unique ability to drive the ball in the gap. Every time I watch him hit, it just seems like a swing that will play in the major leagues.
The biggest unknown question is where Pasquantino will play in the future. It is not like he doesn’t hold his own defensively, the Royals just have a log jam of prospects on their way up to the show. As compared to earlier, they have Nick Pratto as another first base prospect and Bobby Witt, Jr. who will most likely move Mondesi to the hot corner. That doesn’t leave many other positions for Pasquantino to move to besides designated hitter. Even the DH position is in question. With Salvador Perez getting older and MJ Melendez making his way up prospect ranks as a catcher, the DH slot could be filled as well.
Could Pasquantino possibly move to a corner outfield spot? Not likely, but even then the Royals are plenty deep out there as well with Andrew Benintendi, Whit Merrifield, Kyle Isbel, Edward Olivares, etc. That is the assumption that Benny and Whit stay in Kansas City. Pasquantinos’ bat is legit. Whether he finds a position in Kansas City is still to be determined, but if he can find one, he’d be an amazing addition to a lineup that could be fun to watch over the next few years.
Photo Credits: Tim Campbell