Michael Massey Embraces New Game Plan
Lefthanded-hitting second baseman Michael Massey may not yet be as well known as other prospects in the Royals' system, but that may soon change after an outstanding 2021 season at High-A Quad Cities.
The 23-year-old hit .289/.351/.531 in 99 games, upping his power production dramatically from his 2019 pro debut. His 21 home runs this season were more than he totaled in three years in college at Illinois.
A big part of Massey’s success in 2021 was that he was completely healthy for the first time in years. A back injury suffered during his second year on campus lingered into his pro career, likely affecting his draft stock and allowing the Royals to grab him in the fourth round in 2019.
Massey credits the Royals' training staff for helping him get back into prime playing condition.
“The medical staff has done a great job,” Massey said, “getting me to do the right exercises and understand my body a little better . . . I was able to stay healthy and be on the field all year.”
Not to be overlooked in Massey’s improvement is the role of the Royals' minor league hitting development program, headed by director of hitting performance Alec Zumwalt. Massey has made only minor swing changes since joining the organization, getting his lower half involved more and helping him get to his power more often.
Massey gives more credit to the help he received on the mental side of hitting.
“What we learned was to game-plan,” Massey said, “how to go up there with an idea of what you’re trying to do, have an understanding of what that pitcher is trying to do to you, and what’s a way that I can combat that and get the odds back in my favor.
"That’s where a lot of the power comes from . . . knowing what pitch to look for, where to look in the zone, and knowing where you’re trying to hit it.”
Massey is also appreciative of the support that the Royals give their players outside the game.
“The big thing that the Royals believe in is better men off the field make better players on the field,” Massey said.
— First baseman Vinnie Pasquantino, coming off an outstanding season split between High-A Quad Cities and Double-A Northwest Arkansas, signed to play winter ball in the Dominican League with Licey. The affable, outgoing slugger started to gain a following with the Licey fans even before he reported for action after he posted a message in Spanish about his delight in signing with the historic franchise based in Santo Domingo.