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Bobby Witt Jr. lives up to the hype

Mark discusses Bobby Witt Jr.’s numerous achievements.

Baseball: 2018 Perfect Game All-American Classic Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow is when Catcher Week begins at Fake Teams, but today we are doing a quick aside to scope out a decorated MLB prospect, Bobby Witt Jr.

The 2019 Gatorade National Male Athlete of the year is just 19 years old and already has quite a few accolades to his name. Drafted 2nd overall by the Kansas City Royals, he won the state championship while playing shortstop for the Colleyville Heritage High School, batting .515 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs. He won the Nationals Park hosted High School Home Run derby, and won the MVP of the Under Armour All-America Baseball Game. This is all while trying to live up to the lofty shoes that his dad, Bobby Witt, left. His dad was drafted 3rd overall in the 1985 draft and played for 16 seasons, retiring in 2001 after becoming World Series Champion with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Bobby Witt is among the all-time MLB strikeout leaders, his 1,955 strikeouts rank 95th all-time in MLB history (behind just 12 active players).

Back to Bobby Witt Jr., he also played in the Perfect Game All-American Classic, and he represented Team USA in Panama City (winning a Gold Medal). And in just 37 games played at the rookie level with Kansas City, he had 30 runs and 27 RBIs. He enters his second season as a professional league with a gold medal, two MVPs, a state title, and a home run derby title (did I forget to mention he graduated from High School with a 4.0 GPA?).

High School: Gatorade Athlete of the Year Awards Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I think it’s safe to say that Bobby Witt Jr. has already earned some of the $7.8 million signing bonus that Kansas City offered him (the third largest in draft history). Unlike his father, it seems that Bobby Witt Jr. will be pursuing the hitting side of the ball more than pitching. And while it is still VERY early in his career, Bobby clearly has a sharp bat as well as natural fielding abilities (he made just one fielding error last year). With his bat he has shown the ability to spread the ball to all sides of the field equally, he has hit home runs in multiple MLB parks, and at 6’1 and 190 lbs there is room for him to grow and to develop more power. Not only has he displayed fielding and hitting abilities, he has swiped quite a few bags—stealing nine bases across the 37 games played and only getting caught once.

If there is one fear for me it’s the comparisons that have been immediately made to this talented player. When the names Alex Rodriguez and Troy Tulowitzki are tossed around, a fear is setting goals too astronomical for someone at the age of 19 to achieve. This isn’t to say he can’t get to that point, but it’s certainly putting the cart before the horse. He’s a 19-year-old who has played three dozen games at the lowest level of baseball thus far. He has yet to falter on any challenge put in front of him, so the upcoming two years will be intriguing if he begins to vault his way through the lower levels and continues to build the hype. The early signs all point to success here, so for any form of dynasty league I can foresee him being grabbed early in all drafts this spring.