Royals Land Draft Target Bobby Witt Jr.
Bobby Witt Jr. was regarded as the No. 2 draft prospect for the 2019 draft—but his impact potential extended wider than that. The 19-year-old Texan ranked as one of the top high school shortstop prospects of the decade.
Witt's name was mentioned in the same company as major league stars Manny Machado, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa, all of whom were drafted in the early 2010s.
"It just kind of motivated me,” Witt said, "(but) until you perform like they did, it’s never going to be satisfying. Maybe one day, I’ll actually be on a list with those guys and not just on paper.”
Witt hit 15 home runs while leading Colleyville Heritage High to the state championship as a senior. He is a five-tool prospect with plus power potential and plus speed. Drafted No. 2 overall, Witt signed for the full-slot bonus of nearly $7.8 million, a Royals franchise record.
“I’ve been dreaming about this, and I’m still dreaming about it,” Witt said. “Dreams are starting to become reality.”
Witt's father Bobby Sr. spent 16 seasons as a righthander in the big leagues. Before that he pitched at Oklahoma, where Witt Jr. was committed, before he was the third overall pick in 1985.
The Royals gave Witt a breather before he reported to an affiliate, most likely Rookie-level Arizona League. He said the biggest challenge will be "just the grind.”
"I've always heard (about) going out and playing every day, the bus trips, where you’re staying, everything,” he said. "I’ve heard stories where it breaks down a player. But whatever you do, you just have to trust the process and have fun at what you’re doing, enjoy your teammates."
After a few games in the AZL, Witt will likely be promoted to a Rookie-level affiliate in either the Appalachian or Pioneer league.
The Royals have been eyeing Witt for more than a year.
"They were out there at all my games, whether it was 40 degrees or raining, hailing or sleeting,” he said. "It just shows how much respect they have for me and my family."
— Righthander Brady Singer, the 2018 first-round pick, got off to a rocky start at Double-A Northwest Arkansas following a June promotion. He carried an 8.10 ERA through four starts, allowing 24 hits in 16.2 innings with eight strikeouts and eight walks.
— Italian outfielder Marten Gasparini retired after hitting .122 and striking out 26 times in 49 at-bats at high Class A Wilmington. The 22-year-old hit .218 in 429 minor league games and had spent the three previous seasons at low Class A Lexington. The Royals signed him for $1.3 million in 2013, a record for a European player.