RFR’s 2022 Preseason Royals Prospect Rankings: #1

Welcome back. Another year is upon us which means it’s time to break out another edition of the Royals Farm Report preseason prospect rankings. As always, these rankings are a cumulation of what is now seven different lists compiled by the guys on staff here. Jared Perkins, a new member of our staff, was able to get involved this year adding a new angle to our list. A couple of things to remember about prospect lists:
– They DO NOT MATTER. This is a list from a group of bloggers that love the Royals. We watch as many games as possible, do as much digging as possible, and try like hell to get you the best list possible so you can have an idea of what the Royals have coming through the minor league system. We love what we do and we love sharing that love with you. There’s no reason to be upset about a list. I promise you JJ Piccolo and the Royals front office aren’t using this list in their evaluations. So, enjoy the list, but please don’t take it too seriously.
– This list is a combination of seven individual lists. There’s no one person responsible for the placement of the prospects on this list.
– This list won’t be perfect. There will certainly be someone we rank way too low that makes us look silly in a couple of years. We do what we can, but understand that this is more for record keeping than “player #14 is better than player #15.” Pay more attention to tiers, and groups of prospects, rather than each individual ranking.

Alright, that should cover most of our bases. Thank you all so much for getting this far. We appreciate all of you for your support over the years. This will be our fourth annual preseason prospect rankings here at Royals Farm Report. Just for funsies, here’s a quick look at the top 5 prospects on each of our previous preseason lists.

2018:
1) Nick Pratto
2) Khalil Lee
3) Seuly Matias
4) Hunter Dozier
5) MJ Melendez

2019:
1) MJ Melendez
2) Brady Singer
3) Daniel Lynch
4) Khalil Lee
5) Nicky Lopez

2020:
1) Bobby Witt Jr.
2) Jackson Kowar
3) Daniel Lynch
4) Brady Singer
5) Erick Pena

2021:
1) Bobby Witt Jr.
2) Daniel Lynch
3) Asa Lacy
4) Jackson Kowar
5) Erick Pena

A couple of those names from 2021 might look pretty similar this year, but there’s gonna be some new faces in there too. I’m excited to get this going. Thank you, again, very much for enjoying this with us. You can read about the 23 players we listed as “Honorable Mention” and players 2-50 below. Now it’s time to talk about boy wonder. Enjoy!

#1: Bobby Witt Jr., SS

  • Age: 21
  • B/T: R/R
  • Ht/Wt: 6′ 1″ 200′
  • Rule 5 Eligible: 2023
  • Acquired: 2019 MLB Draft, Round 1
  • 2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .290/.361/.575/.936, 33 HR, 72 XBH, 29 SB, 9.0% BB%, 23.2% K%, 143 wRC+

Here’s a short list of 21-year olds to do some of the things that Bobby Witt Jr. did between AA and AAA last year.

30+ HR (since 2006):
– Wil Myers (2012)
– Mike Moustakas (2010)

30+ 2B (since 2018):
– Eguy Rosario (2021)
– Drew Waters (2019)
– Cristian Pache (2019)
– Bo Bichette (2018)
– Ke’Bryan Hayes (2018)
– Luis Urias (2018)

20+ HR and 20+ SB (since 2006):
– Luis Robert (2019)
– Dylan Carlson (2019)
– Kyle Tucker (2018)
– Joc Pederson (2013)

What Bobby Witt Jr. did in his first full professional season is nothing short of remarkable. He legitimately had one of the best overall seasons we’ve ever seen from a kid his age and he had never even played above rookie league when the season began. He’s got a really good chance to begin his second full professional season on the Opening Day roster for the big league club which would make him one of the youngest Royals hitters ever. There are only seven Royals players that recorded at least 500 PA with the club by their age-22 season:
– George Brett
– Eric Hosmer
– Clint Hurdle
– Billy Butler
– Carlos Beltran
– Johnny Damon
– Adalberto Mondesi

You’d have to think that Bobby Witt Jr. would have a chance of reaching 500 PA on the season if he started the year with Kansas City. Even if he doesn’t start the year in Kansas City, there’s still an outside shot that he’s called up so quickly he could still get 500 PA. I know there will be pretty lofty expectations for Witt to begin the year in Kansas City, but I really don’t think it’ll be much later than May 1st even in a worst case scenario (assuming he’s healthy).

I won’t spend too much time here. You guys know the deal. At best, this kid is going to be a franchise-altering player that can lock down the left side of the infield, hit 30+ HR and steal 20+ bases, and hopefully lead this team back to the playoffs. Even at worst, he’s probably a 20/20 guy that plays great defense and is still worth 3-4 WAR a year. The approach is still a work in progress, and the swing-and-miss concerns are still valid, but the tools are SO loud that there’s just no way this kid isn’t productive, almost immediately, in some capacity. You just rarely see these kinds of tools all packaged into one player like this.

Which isn’t even to speak of his pedigree and maturity beyond the field. You all know by now that Witt’s father, Bobby Witt Sr., is a former #3 overall pick and long-time big leaguer. It’s so funny to me that Kansas City is going to have two kids like this running the show at the Truman Sports Complex for the next decade or so. Honestly, I don’t really know what the next best combo in sports would be right now. Some combination of Herbert/Stafford and Trout? Seriously, what other city has two stars like this on their baseball and football teams?

It’s going to be a fun run, Kansas City. Don’t waste time worrying about the day that Bobby Witt Jr. may not be wearing a Royals uniform anymore. We’ve got six or seven years minimum to relish it. There’s a chance that this kid will go down as one of the two or three greatest players in the history of the organization. There’s obviously a chance he’s more like Alex Gordon than George Brett, but to be talking about Alex Gordon as a potential floor for any player should speak volumes about how talented he is. The 2022 Royals are going to be fun to watch because so many of the guys that we’ve talked about in our preseason rankings should be debuting, but the 2023 Royals really could set up the beginning of one of the best windows this team has had since the early 80’s. The waiting is almost over.

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13 thoughts on “RFR’s 2022 Preseason Royals Prospect Rankings: #1

  1. Alex, really enjoyed your prospect list this year. Starting to look like we might have more than one wave this time around. A couple questions would be when you compare different tiers throughout the years how do the tiers 30 and above compare to past Royals prospects as well as other teams. It reads like our system is deeper than back when BA had us #1. Also curious about 1 other 2021 draftee, Noah Cameron. I understand he was out with TJ and assume he doesn’t get much ink. Is the expectation that he is ready to start competing in Spring Training? Thanks, Mike

    Liked by 1 person

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