Baseball America recently revealed its 2021 Minor League Player of the Year, and those who follow the Kansas City Royals may recognize the face below.
Shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., the Royals' top prospect, earned Player of the Year honors from Baseball America over some very talented peers such as Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene, Alek Thomas and more. In an article by Carlos Collazo, it was explained how Witt's ties to BA rankings run deeper than just this year's award-winning campaign.
"So far, Witt has lived up to all the hype and expectations that come with being the No. 2 overall draft pick, the BA High School Player of the Year and now the Minor League Player of the Year.
It’s hard to say with any certainty what will come next, but those closest to Witt expect that it will be something special."
In 123 games across two levels of MiLB ball this season, Witt was fantastic. His .290/.361/.575 line was among one of the best in all of professional baseball, and the production didn't stop there. Witt also clobbered 33 home runs and swiped 29 bags in the process, putting his entire repertoire on full display.
Witt is a true five-tool prospect who was a first-round pick in 2019. The raw talent was never a question with him, but many were a bit concerned about whether he'd be able to put his hit tool to good use and make consistent contact. While Witt did strike out 131 times this year, his average and on-base percentage speak to his ability to remain a legitimate threat to maintain that status as a premier hitter.
Defensively, Witt's blend of range, fluidity and arm strength plays very well at shortstop. With a frame that's added a bit of bulk since he came into the minor leagues, there's also a serious possibility that he'd make for an elite third baseman if needed. Now, rather than figuring out what the Royals have in Witt, the Royals simply need to figure out where they want to deploy him once he makes the MLB roster.
While it's unknown exactly when Witt will make the big-league club, his call-up can't be too far away. Whether it's right out of spring training or a month into the 2022 season, he appears to be ready for the challenge of helping the Royals win games. As the organization preaches turning its rebuild into a competitive stage, Witt will be a major part of that. He's the Royals' premier prospect and for Baseball America, he was the premier talent out of everyone in minor league baseball.