Witt Jr. Named No. 3 Prospect by in Baseball by Baseball America
PAPILLION, Neb. - Bobby Witt Jr. has been tabbed as the No. 3 prospect in baseball by _Baseball America_, the publication announced Wednesday. Two additional Kansas City Royals prospects appear on _Baseball America_'s 2022 Top 100 prospects list: MJ Melendez (No. 42) and Nick Pratto (No. 43).
Witt Jr., the reigning Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year, made his Triple-A debut with Omaha on July 20 en route to playing 62 games for the Storm Chasers. From the time of his Triple-A debut to the end of the season led Triple-A East in runs scored (55), doubles (24), and extra-base hits (41) while tying for fourth in home runs (17) and ranking sixth in slugging percentage (.581). In 123 games between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, Witt Jr. hit .290/.361/.575 with 99 runs scored, 144 hits, 35 doubles, 33 home runs, 97 RBIs, and 29 stolen bases. He led Minor League Baseball in extra-base hits (72) while finishing second in runs scored (99), fourth in home runs (33) and RBIs (97), fifth in hits (144), and tied for sixth in doubles (35).
The first player in franchise history to be born in the 21st century, Witt Jr., 21, was drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in the MLB Draft in 2019. Baseball America listed him as the No. 24 prospect in baseball ahead of the 2020 season and the No. 16 prospect ahead of the 2021 season. He's been ranked as the top prospect in the Royals' organization since 2020.
In addition to being named Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year in 2021, Witt Jr. was also named USA TODAY Sports Minor League Player of the Year, Kansas City Royals George Brett Hitter of the Year, Triple-A East Prospect of the Year, Steve Pivovar Prospect of the Year, and Omaha Fan Favorite.
Melendez spent most of the season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas before finishing the year with the Storm Chasers. He hit .293/.413/.620 in 44 games with Omaha, blasting 13 home runs en route to claiming the 2021 Joe Bauman Award, given to the player with the most home runs in Minor League Baseball. Melendez finished the season with 41 total home runs, recording the 17th 40+ home run season in Minor League Baseball since 1990 and the second in franchise history. In 123 total games between Double-A and Triple-A, Melendez hit .288/.386/.625 with 95 runs scored, 22 doubles, 41 home runs, 103 RBIs, and 75 walks. In addition to leading Minor League Baseball in home runs (41), he finished the year second in Minor League Baseball in RBIs (103), fourth in extra-base hits (66), and fourth in OPS (1.011) to be voted the Top Offensive Player in Minor League Baseball.
Pratto, who was named the 2021 Minor League recipient of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award® at first base, played 63 games with Omaha following his Triple-A debut on July 20, batting .259/.367/.634 with 15 doubles, 21 home runs, and 55 RBIs. He combined to hit .265/.385/.602 with 98 runs scored, 28 doubles, 36 home runs, 98 RBIs, and 83 walks in 124 games between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, finishing the season second in Minor League Baseball in extra-base hits (71), tied for second in home runs (36), third in RBIs (98), tied for third in runs scored (98), fifth in walks (83), and seventh in slugging percentage (.602).
Witt Jr., Melendez, and Pratto were each named to the 2021 Baseball America Minor League All-Star Team following the 2021 season.
The Omaha Storm Chasers are scheduled to begin the 2022 season on April 5 at Indianapolis before welcoming fans to Werner Park for the home opener on April 12 vs. Louisville. The full 2022 schedule can be found here.
For more tickets and more information, please visit omahastormchasers.com, call the Werner Park Ticket office at (402) 738-5100, and follow the team on social media. You can follow the team on Twitter @omastormchasers, on Instagram @omahastormchasers, and "like" us on Facebook at facebook.com/omahastormchasers.
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