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‘We Saw Every Inning He Played:’ Royals Get Their Man In Bobby Witt Jr.

Image credit: Bobby Witt Jr. (Photo by Stacy Jo Grant)

Royals general manager Dayton Moore was ecstatic to be able to draft Bobby Witt Jr. with the No. 2 overall pick.

Moore thought so highly of the young shortstop that compared him to a five-time All-Star.

Troy Tulowitzki comes to mind, although Bobby Witt Jr. is more of a speed guy,” Moore said. “He has some very similar skills to Adalberto Mondesi, other than Mondi being a switch-hitter. Bobby Witt Jr. is a plus runner, plus arm, plus raw (power), he has hit homers in big league parks. He has performed at all levels and can stay at shortstop . . . can play anywhere on the diamond, actually. He is an offensive-oriented, premium position player that is important for our future.”

The Royals, making their highest selection since 2007, had watched Witt Jr. closely for months.

“He went out and earned this spot in the draft based on how he performed,” Moore said. “We had a scout, sometimes several, at all his games. We saw every inning he played this season. We saw him in preseason, workouts . . . It was an easy, natural decision for us.”

Witt and his father, longtime major league pitcher Bobby Witt Sr., became the highest-ever drafted father-son duo. His father was drafted No. 3 overall by the Rangers in the 1985 draft. The Witt duo passed Tom Grieve (No. 6 in 1968) and Ben Grieve (No. 2 in 1994) for that unique distinction.

“(My dad) was pumped. It was one of the first times I had seen him cry,” Witt Jr. said. “Tears of joy. I wouldn’t want anything else than to be a Royal. I did shed a tear. A tear of joy”.

When asked who he models himself after, Witt Jr. said he tries to combine the top traits of some of the best players in the game.

“I try to take things from everyone really,” Witt Jr. said. “Speed from (Trea) Turner, power like Mike Trout, I try to take the five tools. I don’t see myself as one player. I see myself as players combined. I’m just a guy that loves to win and loves to play baseball.”

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