Athletics Royals Baseball

Kansas City Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr., right, celebrates his home run with Seuly Matias and Carlos Santana in the fourth inning on March 8 in Surprise, Arizona.

It was after game two of a Sunday doubleheader that former Northwest Arkansas Naturals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. got called into manager Scott Thorman’s office.

“He kind of just told us,” Witt said. “It was just one of those moments you just always will remember where you were.”

The Royals’ top prospect was told that he and teammate Nick Pratto were being promoted from Double-A to Triple-A, taking one step closer to the big leagues.

“It was an incredible moment,” Witt said. “Getting to share it with Nick, it was awesome.”

Witt has quickly risen through the minor league ranks this season, his second year of pro ball.

The 21-year-old was the second-overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft out of high school and currently ranks as one of the top overall prospects in baseball.

After playing in the Arizona rookie league in the summer of 2019, he spent the 2020 season at the Royals’ alternate training site, as the pandemic canceled the minor league season.

Witt got invited to major league spring training with the Royals, where he earned a promotion to Double-A for the 2021 season.

In his first full season of pro ball, Witt shone for the Naturals. At the time of his promotion, Witt was hitting .292, leading Double-A Central league in hits, RBIs, and second in home runs and runs scored.

“It’s been amazing to just kind of get my feet wet and get going,” Witt said. “For what it’s been this year, it’s been amazing. I’ve had a blast, and I’m looking forward to the future, too.”

Along the way, Witt and Pratto have become very close friends. The two have been teammates all season and both earned an invite to the MLB Futures Game, part of the All-Star Game festivities last week in Denver.

“He’s just been there like an older brother that I never had,” Witt said. “It’s been really good, and I really look forward to the future, to what we can bring.”

Pratto is in his third full season in the Royals’ system after being picked 14th overall in the 2017 MLB Draft. He’s also enjoyed a breakout season in 2021, and he said he’s enjoyed spending it with Witt.

“The friendship we’ve built is something I’m really thankful for,” Pratto said. “We’re here to have a really good time, and Bobby and I being able to do it together after the last couple months that we’ve had … it’s definitely brought us together.”

As Witt enters Triple-A, he said he’s learned a lot about himself as a person and as a player throughout the last year. Joining the Storm Chasers, he said he’s ready to do what it takes to win and keep progressing toward the major leagues.

“Being able to be around all these guys, like Nick and guys in spring training and guys in Double-A and now this team, Triple-A, I’m just really excited to kind of build off them and learn from them and just keep going with it,” Witt said. “It’s been a blast.”

Witt is expected to make his Triple-A debut Tuesday in Omaha.

Jacob Lang can be reached at jacob.lang@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowLang.

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