On Tuesday afternoon, MLB Pipeline released its 2021 Prospect Teams of the Year. The list consists of some of minor league baseball's finest talents, and four of those players (between the first and second teams) are currently in the Kansas City Royals organization.
At catcher: MJ Melendez. The versatile backstop is currently posting a .284/.384/.627 line with a whopping 41 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A this season. He's also experimented at positions other than catcher, potentially opening up his availability to play more at the MLB level once he's promoted. Melendez struggled immensely as recently as 2019, so it's undoubtedly a good sight for him to bounce back and make this list. Melendez is the Royals' No. 4-ranked prospect.
22-year-old Nick Pratto mans first base for the Prospect of the Year team. Between the same two levels as Melendez, the Royals' No. 2 prospect is hitting .263/.380/.594 with 34 home runs in 120 games. Pratto projects as a power-hitting first baseman and although his strikeout numbers have been a bit of a concern, he seems to be settling in and should be ready for the big leagues at some point early next year. Pratto is oozing with potential and should be a great fit with the rest of the organization's young core moving forward.
Was there any doubt about Bobby Witt Jr. not being on this team? While he didn't make it as a shortstop, he was penciled in at designated hitter — and rightfully so. In 120 MiLB games, Witt's line (.295/.365/.588) is insane, as are his 33 home runs on the year. As one of the top three prospects in all of baseball, the expectations are sky-high for Witt as he's slated to join the MLB team next year.
On the Prospect of the Year second-team, first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino checks in as the designated hitter for the squad. Pasquantino is one of the Royals' more underrated prospects, as he doesn't bring great speed or defense to the table. With that said, he's a professional hitter and should bring good value there in the future. In 116 games, Pasquantino is hitting .300 with an on-base percentage of .394 and 24 home runs. His future is bright.