KC Royals: Bobby Witt Jr. should start 2021 in the minors for his own development
KC Royals fans are excited to see what kind of impact Bobby Witt Jr. can have with the team, but there’s no need to rush him to the big leagues.
Bobby Witt Jr. has been the talk of the Kansas City Royals‘ spring training this year, including a tape measure home run and a fancy play behind second base, diving to his left and then throwing out the runner. Perhaps no prospect has created more buzz for the Royals since the Eric Hosmer at Omaha hitting everything phase of development.
Things are going well for Witt, but the Royals should not rush the youngster. They should allow him to develop and start him in the minors instead.
Fans need to remember that Witt had no season last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic and while he may have practiced or worked out at the T-Bones facility with the team, he wasn’t in games, fully and truly developing his craft.
The KC Royals should not rush Bobby Witt Jr, as he’s still very young and needs to develop properly.
Let him get his first taste of pro baseball somewhere other than the major leagues (he has never played a game in the minors) and ensure that the Royals have a solid, long-term approach with the kid.
Also, where is he going to play?
The Royals have Adalberto Mondesi at shortstop and just signed third baseman Hunter Dozier to an extension. The volume of bats in the outfield, especially players that can play left field, is such that playing in the outfield doesn’t work. Witt could theoretically play at third base if Dozier plays first, Carlos Santana moves to designated hitter and Jorge Soler comes out of the lineup.
The only option is at second base, where Nicky Lopez currently sits and that is the one idea that makes sense. However, Lopez is a defensive-first-type second baseman who is young and under team control. Allow him time, make sure you know if he can or, more likely, can’t handle the position.
The Royals can do the same thing with Witt down in the minors, playing and starting every day, working his way up. Come June or so, assuming Lopez is struggling, KC can then make the move at that point, allowing Witt a month of playing every day at second base, becoming more acclimated to the life of professional baseball.
The main argument against my theory is that the minor league season doesn’t start until May, which is true. The plan would be to leave Witt in Arizona in extended spring training, where the rules don’t really apply (teams play loose with the rules in situations like this, the same player can hit leadoff every inning, things like that) and allow him to continue to work and play and develop. When May comes, send him to AA Northwest Arkansas and if he hits well there, move him to AAA Omaha, and then up to the show.
Bobby Witt Jr is still only 20 years old, turning 21 in the middle of June. He has also never played professional baseball before. While we are all excited to see him at the major league level, we must be patient with the young kid and allow him to truly and fully develop.
The Kansas City Chiefs put Patrick Mahomes on the bench for basically an entire season (15 games) before he was unleashed on the league. Let’s allow Witt a couple of months to fully hone and develop his craft before he gets to the show. It could be a franchise-changing decision for the Kansas City Royals.