Saturday, May 11, 2024

Witt Craft


I think this has been a decent enough timetable for the Royals. Year one, Bobby Witt struggles, year two he's a standout with MVP votes, year three he's a superstar. That's about right. Some guys take even longer, if it all. 

The Royals knew Bobby Witt would get to superstar levels. The fans knew it, the team knew it, Bobby knew it. Sometimes there are just can't-miss prospects that fame is inevitable for. Some people are just made to play baseball. Bobby Witt seems like that kind of person, and his minor league numbers were foreshadowing a great career. The Royals are lucky they still have Salvador Perez, and still have him playing well, because if not they'd be even more impatient for Witt to arrive so they can build a team around him. 

But 2024 has been the year where both Witt and the plan to build the Royals around him to compete have exceeded expectations. Witt has been one of the single best performers in the AL so far, with a league-leading 2.8 WAR, a .310 average with a league-leading 36 runs, plus 20 RBIs, 13 steals and 5 home runs. Witt is exceeding at nearly every facet of the game, with improved defensive numbers, improved contact numbers, and insane reliability. Witt, like no other AL hitters with the exception of Juan Soto, has been a difference maker for the Royals regularly, and he and Perez have led the team in OPS. This is what they've wanted since drafting him.

The rest of the team has thankfully been following, not leaving him out to dry like a lesser AL team. A healthy Vinnie Pasquantino has contributed positively to the team's power numbers, and Maikel Garcia has turned into a pretty consistent performer at the plate. The defense is also pretty excellent this year, with Freddy Fermin, Kyle Isbel, Garrett Hampson and ESPECIALLY Adam Frazier buttressing the Royals' complexity and versatility. Frazier's also been getting hot, he had a recent hero moment, and after his rocky few years he deserves some. And then the pitching's been excellent, with Lugo, Singer, Ragans and Marsh also delivering great starts. I was not expecting Seth Lugo to be as incredible as he's been with this team, and I'm honestly here for it. 

The only thing that could be tricky for this Royals team, even if Witt keeps at it, will be navigating other AL Central competitors. I think they're better than the Tigers at the moment, and the Twins even, but you never know how the momentum could shift. I think that with this version of the team, and this kind of production from Witt, the Royals have a shot. We'll have to see though. 

Coming Tomorrow- A pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. No...not that one. 

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