Skip to main content

After Some Struggles, Nick Pratto's Stock is Rising in the Royals Farm System

Kansas City Royals No. 9 prospect Nick Pratto is using 2021 as a bounce-back year after not being able to compete in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kansas City Royals first base prospect Nick Pratto is used to feeling the pressure. It goes back to Little League when his team from West Huntington Beach, California reached the Little League World Series finals.

A 12-year-old Pratto stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning, with two outs and bases loaded in a 1-1 ballgame against Japan, the overwhelming favorites to win the game. He was batting .400 throughout the tournament with six RBIs and no home runs heading into the at-bat. He was 2-for-3 on the day with two singles.

The left-handed-hitting Pratto watched the first pitch sail wide outside. A pinch-runner was called into third base, in case of a wild pitch or passed ball scenario. The slight delay didn’t phase Pratto. Another pitch was thrown high. Pratto asks the umpire about the count, as the scoreboard says one strike. Ump confirms the count is 2-0. Pratto steps in and is ready.

BOOM. Game-winning hit from Nick Pratto as this was just the beginning of the rise of Nick Pratto.

Pratto continued to learn and grow as he started his high school career. He played first base and was a pitcher as well. By his sophomore season, he was hitting .370 on the varsity team and was considered a great defensive player when he was at first base. His success continued as he was chosen to represent Team USA in the 18U Baseball World Cup.

Pratto was considered one of the best prospects in the 2017 MLB Draft and the Royals were able to snag him with the 14th overall selection. The talk started swirling around Kansas City about Pratto becoming the next Eric Hosmer. It made sense with Pratto being a left-handed, hard-hitting, solid defensive first baseman.

In 2018, Pratto had a very good season with Royals affiliate Class Low-A Lexington Legends. In 127 games he hit .280 with 14 home runs, 62 RBI, and 22 stolen bases.

Read More

In 2019, Pratto moved up to Class High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks. He struggled in that season, playing 124 games and only batting .191, with nine home runs and 46 RBI.

Much of the 2020 season was a wash due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to minor league seasons being canceled, Pratto was only able to utilize scrimmages and intrasquad matchups against his teammates. Despite the circumstances, he used that time to learn and grow. 

His defense continued to be top-notch and his power began to grow. Royals assistant general manager J.J. Piccolo noted Pratto hit around 16 home runs and was the most improved player in the system.

Pratto’s refined mental approach and improved offensive firepower were rewarded at the start of the 2021 season, getting a promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Since then, he’s maintained his steady ways. Pratto has slashed a .283/.415/.640/ with a 1.141 on-base plus slugging percentage. He’s also hit six home runs to go along with 11 RBIs early in the season. He's gotten especially hot this past week. 

A lot of the hype surrounding the Royals' next wave lies within the pitching core that was drafted over the past three seasons, along with potential superstar Bobby Witt Jr. but don’t forget about the hard-hitting lefty.

The Royals typically don’t have their players skip levels, so it’s likely we’ll see both Bobby Witt Jr. and Nick Pratto starting in Triple-A Omaha with the Storm Chasers at the beginning of the 2022 season. However, it wouldn’t be shocking to see both of them make it up to Kansas City to join the Royals at some point in 2022. Pratto may see a more prominent and permanent role heading into 2023, but don’t count him out if he has a solid Spring Training in 2022.

When the Royals are ready to make a true playoff push, it’s likely they will have Pratto as their everyday first baseman. Mixing the old crew of Salvador Perez, Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, and Hunter Dozier along with the next core group of young players, will give Royals fans a lot to look forward to as the team pushes toward the future.

Read More: Nick Pratto Hits Three Home Runs For Northwest Arkansas Friday