BOBBY Robert WITT Jr.
Nickname:   N/A Position:   SS-3B
Home: N/A Team:   ROYALS
Height: 6' 1" Bats:   R
Weight: 195 Throws:   R
DOB: 6/14/2000 Agent: Octagon
Uniform #: N/A  
Birth City: Colleyville, TX
Draft: Royals #1 - 2019 - Out of high school (TX)
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2019 AZL AZL-Royals   164 164 30 43 2 5 1 27 9 1 13 35 .317 .354 .262
2021 DAC NW ARKANSAS   61 244 44 72 11 4 16 51 14 8 25 67 .369 .570 .295
2021 TAE OMAHA   62 253 55 72 24 0 17 46 15 3 26 64 .352 .581 .285
2022 AL ROYALS   150 591 92 150 31 6 20 80 30 7 30 135 .294 .428 .254
2023 AL ROYALS $747.00 158 641 97 177 28 11 30 96 49 15 40 121 .319 .495  
Personal
  • Colleyville Heritage High head coach Alan McDougal remembers feeling disappointed. And tired. It was around 4:30 in the morning late in May 2018. The baseball team had just gotten back to school after losing a one-run game to Amarillo High in the Texas regional semifinals. The charter bus was a disaster, filled with trash strewn by players still thinking about the heart-breaking end to their season.

    McDougal got off the bus and went to clean up his things. He returned to the bus to clean, only to see junior shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and his teammate Mason Greer quietly tidying up. No one asked them to do that. But they did it anyway. It's one of the memories of Witt that McDougal said he will never forget.

    "That just spoke volumes to what those kids are, as humans," said McDougal, who has spent 11 seasons as head coach at Colleyville, a suburb of Dallas. "Witt is the definition of a selfless kid. And in today's generation, when you have a kid with that kind of talent and those expectations, you would think he would be all into 'me' and that's just not the way he operates." 

    Back before he even got a chance to play high school ball, Witt put high expectations on himself. Around 10 years old, he remembers wanting to win a Texas state championship. Wanting to get drafted. Wanting to follow his dad's footsteps and play pro ball and someday reach the majors.

    "I just knew that is what I wanted to do," Bobby Jr. said. "And it was going to take a lot of steps and a lot of hard work. I just kind of instilled that in my brain, and ever since then it has always been just a grind." (Carlos Collazo - Baseball America - July, 2019)

  • At age 5, Witt began playing organized T-ball. His father, former MLB pitcher Bobby Witt coached alongside his old Rangers teammate Rusty Greer. As time passed, and the younger Witt developed a preference for hitting over pitching. Greer took on a larger role in his instruction.

  • In 2010, James Russell, who is now married to the eldest Witt daughter, debuted as a pitcher for the Cubs, and the family traveled to Wrigley Field for a series. Young Bobby shagged balls in the outfield during batting practice. Then his middle sister, Kianna, began dating her now-husband Zach Neal, a pitcher the Univ. of Oklahoma, where she was a cheerleader. Neal was drafted by the Marlins in 2010.

    In 2013, Shirley's boyfriend, Cody Thomas, was picked out of Colleyville Heritage by the Yankees in the 30th round. He chose to attend Oklahoma instead and is now in Double-A Tulsa (TL-Dodgers). (July 2019)

  • Bobby Jr.'s uncle, Doug Witt, was the Rangers’ bullpen catcher and later became a scout for the Blue Jays. The Orioles hired Witt last September for their scouting department.
  • He is the son of Bobby Witt, who had a 16-year MLB career and is now an agent at Octagon.

    His dad can help guide him through the process, of scouts, college and the draft. It has helped Witt Jr. develop the right attitude when it comes to all of the attention he is and will invariably continue to get. It's clear, though, that some of it is just how he is wired, a player who is always ready, willing and able to compete.

    "Really just having high energy, doing my thing," Witt Jr. said. "Just playing this game is awesome. It's been what I've wanted to do my whole life. When I'm out in the field, it's just fun for me. Kids will press, I just try to keep calm and play my game. They're there to watch what I can do, so I'm not going to try to overdo what I can't do or play too timid."

    Bobby entered his senior year in 2019 as a possible first round pick in June's Draft. He chooses to see the "future #! pick" as a badge of honor, and wants to keep it.

    "It's almost like motivation for me," said Witt Jr. "Other kids out there, they put a target on me to try and be better than me. So I always have to be working hard every day just to get better and keep that spot. It's almost like a goal to have, keeping that spot, trying to be the best player out there on and off the field."

    Witt Jr. made the 18U Trials roster in 2017, but a minor hand injury kept him from making the team that won a gold medal. Missing out has made making this year's team an even greater priority for the talented shortstop.

    "It's always been a goal of mine, because my dad -- I don't know when it was, 1984 -- he was on the USA team," said Witt Jr. (Jonathan Mayo - MLB Pipeline - 6/22/2018)

  • There's a confidence that exudes from Witt Jr. He knows he's good without it seeming overly cocky. That translates to how Witt Jr. carries himself on the field. Being at TOS for a second summer certainly makes him feel at home, but in the end, he always just tries to keep things very simple.

    "I guess I can say I'm more comfortable with it because I did it last year, but I just put it that it's the same game I've always been playing since I was 5 years old," Witt Jr. said. "There's bases, pitchers, hitters, everything's the same. I just have to keep my head right and play the game I do."

  • Witt Jr. just loves to play baseball. He is old-school and enjoys the challenge of competition.

    “I remember when he was younger, he always had a bat in his hand,” Witt Sr. said. “He was always trying to hit something. Whether it was furniture or whatever, it didn’t matter. I remember one day he was swinging in the living room, and he had a wood bat and I said, ‘Hey take it easy.’

    “And he was little, it was way too big a bat for him. And he swung it and let go of it and it just stuck in the wall. And we’re just sitting there laughing. We still have the hole, we haven’t done anything to fix it yet.”

    Witt Jr. has a sixth tool — mental toughness.

    “They say ‘five-tool player,’ but I just try to have maybe six tools,” Witt Jr. said. “I want to have that mindset in the way I go out and play the game.”

    The mental side of baseball is something that both the Witts appreciate and point to as crucial to success at the major league level. (Carlos Collazo - Baseball America - 8/24/2018)

  • In 2019, Bobby, Jr. hit .489 in high school, with more home runs (15) than strikeouts (11).

    General manager Dayton Moore said in a conference call that the Royals scouted Witt for virtually every inning he played during his senior year. Moore also said he spent two days with Witt and his family in early May 2019.  “Very impressed with his makeup,” Moore said.

    Witt said that he and his father teared up after the Royals made the pick.  “It was emotional,” Witt said in a conference call. “This is something I’ve dreamed about. I’m super-excited. I’m at a loss for words right now.”  

    "Alex Rodriguez is the best shortstop prospect I've seen, but Bobby Witt Jr. certainly belongs right up there," a longtime scout, now with an NL club, recently told MLB Pipeline. "He can match up with guys tools-wise, and what he also has is a high baseball IQ. People lose sight of it because the tools are so strong, but he's a really good player to go with it."

    The Royals also view Witt as a versatile player who could be moved around defensively, perhaps even to the outfield.  “I feel like I can play any position they want me to play,” Witt said. “That’s up to them.”

    “He is a very versatile player, no doubt,” Moore said.  (Flanagan - mlb.com - 6/3/19)

    FIRST ROUNDER

  • In 2019, Bobby graduated from Colleyville Heritage High School, having committed to the Univ. of Oklahoma. He was a good student.
  • June 2019: The Royals chose Bobby in the first round (#2 overall), out of Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas. (The first pick was Adley Rutschman to the Orioles.) Bobby's dad handled negotiations with the Royals for Octagon.
  • June 12, 2019:  The Royals signed and introduced Bobby at a news conference at Kauffman Stadium.  MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis reports that he signed for the full slot value of $7,789,900. 

    Asked how he would spend his signing bonus, Witt said, “I don’t know, save it I guess. I definitely will do something for my parents. That’s at the top of the list. They’ve been right there with me from the time I was born. I wouldn’t be here today without them, also my three oldest sisters and my girlfriend.” 

    Witt said of the Royals: “They truly respect everyone. And they were out there at all my games whether it was 40 degrees or raining or hailing or sleeting, like it was that one game. It just shows how much respect they have for me and my family. I don’t have words to describe how grateful I am for all of this.” 

    Regarding the Minor Leagues, Witt said: “My dad told me it will be a grind. The bus trips, where you’re staying, but whatever you do, you just have to trust the process and have fun at what you’re doing, enjoy your teammates. Be yourself out there.”  (Flanagan - mlb.com)

  • Bobby Jr. and Bobby Sr. the seventh father-son duo to both be first-round Draft picks, joining the following pairs:

    1) Tom (6th overall, 1966) and Ben (2nd, 1994) Grieve

    2) John Mayberry Sr. (6th, 1967) and John Jr. (19th, 2005)

    3) Tom (9th, 1968) and Neil (11th, 2004) Walker

    4) Jeff (1st, 1969) and Sean (9th, 1998) Burroughs

    5) Steve (21st, 1973) and Nick (16th, 2002) Swisher

    6) Delino DeShields Sr. (12th, 1987) and Delino Jr. (8th, 2010)  (Kelly - mlb.com - 6/3/19)

  •  

  • Witt Jr. won the 2018 High School home Run Derby at Nationals Park during last year’s All-Star Week festivities, capturing the crown with eight home runs over 76 seconds in the final round.

  • Dec. 2018: Witt helped Team USA win a gold medal during the 2018 COPABE Pan-American Championships in Panama City, hitting .576 with three doubles, three triples, three homers and 18 RBI during the tournament. 

  • Witt: “I wore No. 17 because of Derek Jeter [No. 2] and Dustin Pedroia [No. 15] because of the way they played the game. Derek Jeter, just the way he played the game, on and off the field. And Dustin Pedroia, just kind of a little guy doing big things, just always grinding with a lot of energy.”

  • Witt and his father are the highest-drafted father-son duo in history. Senior was drafted #3 overall in 1985, and Bobby Jr. going #2 overall -- one-upping his father. Junior signed for $7,787,400.

    The Royals gave Witt a breather before he reported to an affiliate, most likely Rookie-level Arizona League. He said the biggest challenge will be "just the grind.”

    "I've always heard (about) going out and playing every day, the bus trips, where you’re staying, everything,” Bobby said. "I’ve heard stories where it breaks down a player. But whatever you do, you just have to trust the process and have fun at what you’re doing, enjoy your teammates."

  • Bobby Jr. was Baseball America's 2019 High School Player of the Year.

    And in 2021, he was named Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year.

    When Royals director of hitting performance Alec Zumwalt first saw Bobby Witt Jr. in person, what stood out to him immediately was his personality.

    Whether Witt was in the lineup or slotted in at DH or taking a day off, he was always smiling. There was an easygoing, exciting presence to Witt that was infectious to everyone watching him and playing with him.

    “The kid’s skill set is amazing,” Zumwalt said. “I have told a lot of people this, but right from the start the thing that stood out to me was how he could simplify what was so hard for most people—and most hitters.

    “His cognitive ability to simplify his thoughts and simplify his mechanics and simplify his approach, it’s just so, so unique.”

    For his excellence at a young age and advanced level, Witt is the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year for 2021.

    “He is a complete player,” Omaha manager Brian Poldberg said. "Most of the young guys who we get now think the game owes them. And he plays it like he owes the game.”

  • Near the end of his debut in 2019 in the Arizona Rookie League, his off-field demeanor impressed lots of baseball folks.

    "He’s always willing to work,” AZL-Royals manager Tony Pena Jr. said. "You see him hustling on and off the field . . . just how he handles his business. He comes to work every day and shows a lot of maturity for a kid his age.”

  • Oct 17, 2019: Shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. said he learned a lot from his first few months of professional baseball with the Royals. Witt’s overall numbers were not overly impressive in the Arizona Rookie League — a .670 OPS with one home run, 27 RBIs and nine stolen bases. But Royals officials were impressed virtually with every Witt movement.

    “He is advanced beyond his years,” Royals vice president/assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said. “He was tremendous defensively, was a great teammate, had a great understanding of the game. And his work ethic is off the charts — always the first guy to the field, the last guy to leave.”

    Witt and second-round pick Brady McConnell, also a shortstop, likely will both start at Class A Lexington next year. McConnell is expected to play some third base, second base and outfield on the days that Witt is at shortstop.

    “We’ll find at-bats for them,” Picollo said. “We’ll make it work every day.”

  • MLB.com sat down with Witt at the team’s complex in Surprise:

    MLB.com: Just take us through your first year of pro ball.

    Witt: It was awesome, just getting to know all of the coaches and my teammates. It was an unbelievable experience. Can’t wait for what’s next.

    MLB.com: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make?

    Witt: Really, it’s just about getting into the right routine, like when you get up, when you get to the field, what you do before the game, after the game. You have to make sure your body is well-rested, that you’re eating right. And getting to know your teammates is really important, whether they are from another state or from the Dominican. That’s just very important to me, creating a good bond with them and having a good relationship with them.

    MLB.com: So, are you learning Spanish?

    Witt: I’m trying. I’m getting there. I’m learning what I need to know to communicate for now and it’ll get better.

    MLB.com: On the field, what were the biggest adjustments?

    Witt: Every day you see velo. And you see curveballs with high spin rates. You just have to be ready for the fastball at any moment. It’s just you against the pitcher. Go out and have fun.

    MLB.com: How difficult was that, seeing better pitching?

    Witt: It’s more reaction now than in high school. Everyone is throwing 95 here. Everyone has a good breaker. So, you really have to be ready and compete each pitch. It’s a battle between you and the pitcher. You have to be ready for everything.

    MLB.com: Your numbers weren’t great in a small sample size. Did that jolt your confidence?

    Witt: It was a little bit of a jump. But I never lacked in confidence. I knew it was just a matter of getting my feet wet. I knew it would be challenging.

    MLB.com: Did you learn anything specific from the struggles?

    Witt: Just being consistent. Throwing consistently to first base, being consistent with the double play, trying to hit line drives every at bat. There’s a physical side and a mental side, and you need to be able to build off all your tools and show those tools. Everyone here is good. You have to show what you can do that might be better.

    MLB.com: Like all teams, the Royals have a lot of data for you to absorb. That has to be a big jump from high school as well.

    Witt: There’s a lot more data with Trackman and Rapsodo, and even in the weight room there are devices to let you know if your arms are fatigued or legs are fatigued. It’s awesome to have that stuff.

    MLB.com: As a hitter, did you see value in Rapsodo?

    Witt: It shows your exit velocity, and it shows if you mishit it a little and the ball is fading. You know that anyway but it’s nice to see the numbers.

    MLB.com: Were your parents able to see you as a professional player?

    Witt: Yes, they came down twice to see me. And it was awesome. They thought it was awesome to see me play pro ball. I was really excited to see them here.

    MLB.com: What’s next?

    Witt: I’ll be here until the end of October. Then I’ll have a little rest, and then get back into the weight room. I really haven’t spent a lot of time in the weight room and that’s very necessary for this level. I worked out in high school, but not like this. I want to put on some muscle weight, upper and lower body, but I still want to stay athletic. I’m at 190 now and maybe get up to 195, but that’s about it for now. I came out here at 179 and I’ve already put about 10 or so pounds on and it feels good. (J Flanagan - MLB.com - Oct 17, 2019)

  • 2019 season: In 37 games of Rookie-level ball last year, Witt posted a .262/.317/.354 line with 27 RBIs. He also stole nine bases and showed off the glove at shortstop. While the peripheral numbers — along with a strikeout total of 35 — are far from ideal, they’re respectable, nonetheless. Especially considering he was just 19 years of age.

  • 2020 Season: Witt was slated to head to full-season ball in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the minor league season. He spent the early days of the pandemic working out with major and minor league players near his Texas home, joined the Royals for summer camp in July, spent the remainder of the season at their alternate training site and finished up at instructional league camp at Kauffman Stadium.

  • In both 2020 and 2021, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook had Bobby as the #1 prospect in the Royals organization.

  • Oct 8, 2020: Top position prospect: Bobby Witt. Jr, SS (No. 1 in Royals org./MLB No. 8)

    The Royals were thrilled to get Witt Jr. with the No. 2 pick in the 2019 Draft, and even more so when they signed him for full pick value at $7,789,900. He made his pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League, slashing .262/.317/.354 with eight extra-base hits and nine steals in 37 games.

    Witt was a non-roster invitee to Royals big league camp this past spring but absolutely looked like he belonged, earning rave reviews from club officials for his eye-opening performance on both sides of the ball. He made several spectacular plays at both shortstop and third base and showcased impressive pop to all fields.

    He was even more impressive over the summer at Kansas City’s alternate training site, where the 20-year-old continued to make developmental strides in all facets of the game.

    “He’s just so far advanced,” said J.J. Picollo, the Royals’ vice president/assistant GM of player personnel, about Witt’s offense. “It’s not just that he hits the ball hard — it’s his pitch recognition, his approach to every at-bat, his preparation for the games … he’s just an exciting player to have.”

    Defensively, Witt saw time at shortstop and the hot corner much like he did during Spring Training and Summer Camp. And while the Royals view him as a no-doubt, long-term shortstop, club officials were very impressed with his showing at third base.

    “I think he made one error all summer between both spots,” noted Picollo. (M Rosenbaum - MLB.com - Oct 8, 2020)

  • June 2021: Witt was selected to represent the Royals in the All-Star Futures Game.

  • Bobby Jr. remembers sitting in classroom after classroom at Colleyville Heritage High School, listening intently to the question being asked while he racked his brain for an answer.  “What do you want to major in,” teachers and administrators would ask, “when you go to college?”

    Witt Jr. didn’t have an answer.  Most of the time, he’d make one up off the top of his head.  There was only one major he was focused on, and it wasn’t a degree. It’s a league.  “It’s always been this,” Witt Jr. said, gesturing to the field he plays on every day for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.  “It’s a different feeling when I’m out there. I am so incredibly blessed.  I keep saying that over and over again, but there’s no truer words to describe how it is and how lucky I am.” 

    Witt Jr. feels different when he takes the field, and it’s a different feeling watching him do so.  At 21 years old, he’s one of the youngest players in Double-A, but he’s one of the best.  The sweet-swinging, smooth-fielding, mad-dashing shortstop has the potential to become the next face of the Royals franchise.

    His name comes with great hype. And a lot of expectations.  Does that faze him?  He smiles.

    “I just try to keep it day by day,” Witt Jr. said.  “Try to be Bobby Witt Jr.  Don’t try to be someone you’re not.  Try to keep my success steadily going up and up and up, but try not make it go up and down, up and down.  Just try to be the same person.  Try to be me.” 

    Witt Jr. finishes up his interviews with a firm handshake and a smile.  He’ll stay and talk to you as long as you’d like, but there is a game to get ready to play.  He heads into the Naturals clubhouse, well into his pregame routine already.  There are millions of ground balls to field, and even more swings to take.  He has one eye on the Majors but two feet planted on the dirt in between second and third base.  This is the best classroom he’s ever had.  (Rogers - mlb.com - 7/7/2021)

  • What makes Bobby Jr. one of the best prospects in baseball?  There’s the athleticism pocketed in a 6-foot-1, 200-pound body, passed down from his father.  Witt Jr.’s talent is obvious when he steps on the field — the effortless grace of a shortstop, the jaw-dropping power of a middle-of-the-order bat.  His bat speed allows him to stay on the plane so well that even if his timing is off, there’s still a high chance he makes contact.  The simplicity of his hitting approach and rhythm, how his mechanics don’t often get out of whack and if they do, they won’t be for long.  Defensively, he’s elite.  With quick hands and a long range, he often makes plays that those watching don’t think are possible.

    He’s the type of player people love to watch because they never know what they’re going to get to see. 

    “You’re looking at a player that doesn’t have a weakness in his toolset on the field,” Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said.  “But he’s able to turn it up to different gears even when you think you’ve got his tools graded out.  He can sniff the extra base, he can sniff when he needs to start running faster to make sure he’s safe.  I just equate all that to a unique athlete, a player that has the ability to raise that explosiveness based on the situation.  And make you go, ‘Wow.’”

    “I think that’s going to be the most exciting things for fans,” Royals director of hitting performance Alec Zumwalt added.  “He’s going to do something every night to help the team win.”

    Zumwalt has years of scouting in his background.  There are tons of “five-tool” players out there, but Zumwalt said it’s rare to come across one whose skills play out every night on the field.  Witt Jr. is one of them.  He might even have 11 tools, Royals starter Brady Singer joked in 2021 Spring Training.

    “I don’t like comparing, I really don’t,” Zumwalt said.  “But from a scouting sense, unfortunately, we have to compare.  And Bobby is on his own.  His talent is in its own category.”  (Rogers - mlb.com - 7/7/2021)

  • From when he was 4 or 5 years old, Bobby Jr. was swinging a bat.  There was a big hole in the wall of the Witt living room to prove it, his dad said, laughing, assuring there was no intention behind it.  From when that hole was patched to now, Witt Jr. has loved baseball.  It’s not just his talent making him love the game; he lives and breathes it.  Scouts often bring this up when evaluating him, saying his talent will get him to the Majors but his passion will allow him to go even further.

    “Ever since he was young, he just absolutely wanted to hit more, wanted to take more ground balls,” Witt said.  “It was always, ‘Let’s take some more.’ It’s not an act. This is who he is.  He just loves playing the game of baseball.  That’s his place.  When he gets out there, that’s his comfort level.  He likes being in the locker room, he likes being with the guys in the dugout, it doesn’t matter.  As long as it has to do with playing the game of baseball.”

    When he was in elementary school, Witt Jr. went to summer baseball camps in Colleyville, Texas, run by the high school baseball program and head coach Alan McDougal.  “He was a kid dressed to the nines,” McDougal said.  “Buttoned up with his belt on and high socks and sweatbands.  He was dressed like a pro as a 7-year-old.  And then when he came on the field, whenever Bobby Witt Jr. would come up to bat or start playing, the camp would shut down and just watch.  He would start doing things that normal 7-year-old kids don’t normally do.”

    In the summer between his eighth grade and freshman year, Witt Jr. went to Oklahoma to play in a summer league.  And during a wood bat game, he crushed a home run down the left-field line. “I never envisioned him at that point of his life, where he was physically, I just didn’t think it could happen,” Witt said.  “And he hit a home run, and then after that there was a lot of momentum.  He goes and plays, and you just start to see things where you go, ’You know what, maybe he might be able to do this.’”

    In 2015, Witt Jr. walked into his first high school baseball practice at Colleyville Heritage as a freshman already committed to the University of Oklahoma. McDougal knew him from those summer camps but wanted to see what he had in Witt Jr. before making any bold statements.

    “I’m going, ‘I’m probably going to start him on the JV and let him work his way up,’” McDougal said.  “After practice one, I’m going, ‘This guy’s the best guy in our program right now.’  So he played shortstop from the absolute get-go.  Could I ever have forecast that this guy was going to be the best high school player in the country for a year?  Not probably until his junior year was I really thinking that.  That’s when he just started doing things that were completely different than everybody else.”  (Rogers - mlb.com - 7/7/2021)

  • What separates Witt Jr. from others is the mental side of the game.  The way he handles pressure from his namesake, top prospect status, offensive slumps, defensive lapses or anything else that’s thrown his way is his separator, and it’s been apparent to the Royals from the time they drafted him to now.  His family plays a large part in it.  His dad retired a year after Witt Jr. was born, but Witt’s career and reputation followed him.  Then Witt Jr.’s sisters dated baseball players, two of which have become his brothers-in-law and one who’s about to in December.  They’ve been through the professional baseball experience and taken Witt Jr. along with them.

    “He’s done some different things that he’s been able to do in his life, and they’ve seen to have taken that deer-in-the-headlights look away,” Witt said.

    Witt Jr.’s experience and charisma drew the Royals’ attention as much as his talent.  “At the end of the day, you can bring a position player in high school in outstanding makeup,” Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said.  “And he comes from a family that’s been around baseball, so there’s an understanding of what it takes to be a Minor League and Major League player.”   (Rogers - mlb.com - 7/7/2021)

  • There’s a story Royals manager Mike Matheny likes to tell about the way Witt Jr. plays the game.  It was 2019, when Matheny was a special advisor to general manager Dayton Moore.  Matheny and Moore went to watch a Colleyville Heritage game in April against district rival Grapevine.  The Draft was only a few months away, so any team that was picking high was there to watch the best high school player in the country.

    And the Grapevine student section pounced on all of it.  “Over-rated” chants filled the air as Witt Jr. took the field. It was loud and overwhelming, but as Matheny watched, he noticed Witt Jr. focusing solely on his team and not making the crowd noise about him.

    In one of his first at-bats, Witt Jr. struck out on an elevated fastball.  “That student section blew up,” Matheny said.  “Relentless.  So this was a good opportunity.  Dayton and I aren’t even talking, just watching.  I’m paying close attention as he goes back to the dugout.  And he goes back, comes right back out and plays bat boy for the next guy.  Instead of sitting over there sulking, knowing he’s got multiple GMs, let alone scouting directors, all there.  He crouches on the top step, goes and gets the bat for his teammates.  He’s just inviting them, every time he gets out of the dugout.  And we’re watching this all.”

    Witt Jr.’s next at-bat brings even more chanting.  It’s unabating, trying to get in Witt Jr.’s head and wear him down.  But the pitcher makes a mistake.  And Witt Jr. makes him pay.

    “Behind the left-field wall, there’s a net, about 30 feet, that’s supposed to protect the highway,” Matheny said.  “It did not protect the highway.  The place went crickets.  He goes around third, and these kids were all [along the third-base line].  We’re like, ‘He’s at least going to give them the death stare.’

    “Put his head down, touched home plate, high-fived his team, goes back to being bat boy.  At that point, I’m not sure you can fake that.  The raw emotion, his buddies, you take in all the distraction, this is real.  And at that point, I said, ‘What I just witnessed is special.’”

    Matheny remembers Witt Jr.’s talent on display that game.  But the way he handled the crowd, the pressure, the failure and the success — that’s what made Matheny smile as he recounted the story.  “How he handled it showed a lot about who he is,” Matheny said.  “It was something I won’t forget.”  (Rogers - mlb.com - 7/7/2021)

  • Witt Jr. has been used to the spotlight for years.  When he hears noise from the crowd, it doesn’t bother him.  Especially if it’s about how he’ll never compare to his dad.  “I embrace it,” Witt Jr. said.  “And I love it.  He’s my rock.  He’s the reason I play the game.  He’s always been my No. 1 role model.  And it makes it even more special to follow in his footsteps.”

    Still, as young as Witt Jr. is, it’s somewhat mind-boggling he’s able to shut out all the noise about following in his dad’s footsteps and about being a top prospect.  Those around him say that’s how he’s always been, and he puts as much time in his mental game as his physical game to be able to do this.  At Colleyville Heritage, Witt Jr. was introduced to Brian Cain, a mental performance coach who works with athletes at all levels, and immediately caught on to what Cain talked about in his sessions.

    “After our first team meeting, a player came up, shook my hand, said thank you and told me what he got out of the seminar, which was about routines, competing one pitch at a time, confidence being a choice,” Cain said.  “And when he walked out of the room, he was one of the last players to leave.  I said, ‘Alan, is that one of your senior captains?’  And he said, ‘No, that’s a freshman.  His name is Bobby Witt Jr.’

    “The way he carried himself, how engaged and focused he was, how he presented himself, he had superstar written all over him, even at that age.”

    Cain works with athletes on developing mental skills to help them on the field. Witt Jr. said that work is a big reason why he’s able to stay so even-keeled through slumps or high points, whether he’s 1-for-10 or 10-for-10.  That’s what makes him stand out among his teammates and coaches, perhaps more than any skill on the field.

    “You don’t have kids with this type of maturity,” Royals director of hitting performance Alec Zumwalt said.  “This is a Major League veteran presence.  He doesn’t panic.  He’s the same every single day.  When I walk in that clubhouse to catch up with him, I’m not going to know if he’s 0 for his last 10 or 10 for his last 10.  You don’t know what he’s done for the last week because he’s always the same.”

    Moore has a philosophy about constructing teams that’s not uncommon in baseball:  If a club’s best player is its best teammate and hardest worker, it makes the entire roster better.  There seems to be no better person to exemplify this than Witt Jr.

    “The best thing is to just try to be the best teammate possible,” Witt Jr. said.  “That helps take it off of me and try to help others as well as trying to win.  The pressure is off.  You’ve seen those guys that are out there like, ‘It’s me, it’s me, look at me.’  And I just never want to be that guy.  I try to stay away from that as much as possible.  I try to be the best teammate, the best brother, the best boyfriend, the best son, the best person I can possibly be.”  (Rogers - mlb.com - 7/7/2021)

  • 2021 Season: Bobby Witt Jr., 21, was named the Omaha Player of the Year, after also being named the George Brett Hitter of the Year. Witt, the Triple-A East MLB Prospect of the Year, batted .285/.352/.581 with 17 homers, 24 doubles and 15 steals over 62 games since being promoted to the Omaha Storm Chasers on July 20.

    His performance at the Minors' highest rung combined with his numbers for Double-A Northwest Arkansas gave him 33 homers, 35 doubles and 29 steals for the year. The Royals' top prospect (and MLB's No. 3) would have made the 30-30 club had it not been for a Sept. 30 rain-related cancelation after the third inning, which nullified theft No. 30.

  • Dec 23, 2021: With his first full professional season over, Bobby Witt Jr. is looking toward the future. Everything he’s been doing this offseason is geared toward 2022 and beyond, from his training workouts to his recovery.

    “I think that was the biggest thing last season that worked for me, getting into the right routine to get your body right,” Witt said. “That’s what I’ve tried to do this 2021 offseason as well, trying to get the routine down, trying to eat better, recover better, sleep better, all those types of things so that my body knows how to do that when the season comes. “This is the time where you want to break down your body and see what it needs. A lot of learning and getting ready for what’s to come.”

  • Witt, the Royals’ top prospect and on the verge of breaking into the Majors, is training where he did last offseason, the Texas-based Athlete Performance Enhancement Center (APEC). It’s the same spot where Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has trained, and Kansas City fans know how well things turned out for Mahomes. Stroupe, who has been working with Mahomes for more than a decade, founded APEC in 2005. The center now counts more than 100 NFL players and around 65 MLB players as clients. Witt joined the fray last offseason and was eager to work with Stroupe and his trainers again this winter.

    “You can really tell the improvements that everyone has had, and what I’ve gone through the first two months, as well as last year. I can really tell the improvement in my body and how I move and feel in general,” Witt said. “They’re masterminds. They do their work as much as we do our work. It’s an awesome group to be a part of.”

    To go along with his focus on recovery, injury prevention and getting into a good routine, Witt has added a few pounds of muscle from his training, evidenced by what is very scientific data — his jeans.

    “I can tell my legs are getting a little bigger,” he said, laughing. “Whenever I put on jeans, which I don’t wear too often, sometimes they get a little snug on me. That’s the goal, try to outgrow some jeans and get my legs bigger and stronger. You can tell the workouts are working.”

    Witt has an individualized plan for the offseason, concocted with Stroupe and in communication with the Royals. He trains Monday through Friday, with every day a full-body workout, incorporating speed, strength and power; arm care is worked in at the end. He notes that Fridays are always the toughest, because his trainers like to say he has a whole weekend to recover. “So I love Fridays,” Witt said.

    “We really look at health, performance and player development as the scope of our practice,” Stroupe said. “And one of the things that makes us different is truly putting movement first. We believe in training what we call chain reaction biomechanics — sequences of movement that are going to translate to dexterity of skills and high levels of coordination that should cross over to skill development. That’s a big staple for what we do. We get raw, we lift, but there’s probably a little more movement-based approach than other places.”

  • Stroupe has seen improvement in Witt between last offseason and now. Witt's 23.2 mph on a flying 20, which is when an athlete gets 20 yards to build up and 20 yards to hit his max. That 23.2 is the fastest Stroupe has recorded on a GPS device, which is more accurate than a stopwatch. Witt’s one-step vertical, 42 1/2 inches, is up from last year, and he has the top 10-yard sprint speed that Stroupe has recorded, hitting 19 mph.

    “To put that in perspective, I’ve had guys at the NFL Combine that run 4.3 that didn’t get above 17-18 mph in 10 yards,” Stroupe said. “I’m not saying that he can run 4.3, but I would say that 10-yard burst is elite.”

    You might recall a video Stroupe posted to Twitter last January, showing Witt crow-hopping into a swing that was recorded at 141 mph. It’s a lighter bat, and Witt looks like he’s having fun. To be clear, it is fun . . . and Witt is an intense competitor with every drill. But it’s a velocity drill that Stroupe’s team records to show hip and spine speed. 

    “If you remember last year, that was in January. This year he’s already met that number,” Stroupe said. “That’s working on hip and spine speed and separation. It should transfer to power in the swing, but it’s not swing mechanics. It’s about spine speed, hip and shoulder separation. I feel like speed is the force that raises all tides. And to have speed in your spine, in your hips, it’s impossible not to swing the bat faster.”

    Witt is enjoying the offseason and the work that comes with it, but he readily admits his excitement for Spring Training, when he’ll likely be competing for a spot on the Royals' Opening Day roster. Every workout is designed to help him win on the field; and he’s ready to get back to it. (A Rogers - MLB.com - Dec 23, 2021)

  • Feb. 2022: Royals fans already know the team’s top prospect, Bobby Witt Jr., can hit a ball a long way. There were plenty examples of that during his time last season with Triple-A Omaha and Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Turns out, Witt can also kick a ball quite a distance, too. Jake Eisenberg, the communications coordinator and play-by-play announcer for the Storm Chasers, recently shared a video of Witt doing his best imitation of Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker.

    Witt puts the ball on a tee at the 40-yard line, so this is a 50-yard attempt . . . and it was good. Witt asked former Colts kicker/talk-show host Pat McAfee for a review of the kick. McAfee suggested a career change. Even if the advice was made in jest, Royals fans would disagree with that course of action for Witt.  (P Grathoff - Feb 8, 2022)

  • Feb 9, 2022: Still four months shy of his 22nd birthday, Bobby Witt Jr. finds himself on the precipice of achieving his dream.

    MLB Pipeline's No. 3 overall prospect was a guest on the baseball-centric podcast "Datt's What She Said with Dani" with Alexa Datt and Dani Wexelman. He touched on a variety of topics, from what ace he'd most like to face in the Majors to the perceived pressure he faces as the son of a former big leaguer. And one thing is certain: Witt is comfortable in his own skin.

    The 21-year-old will enter Spring Training later this month just a step away from the bigs after blossoming into the player the Royals expected when they selected him second in the 2019 Draft. Witt leapfrogged multiple levels and began 2021 with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and ended the year with Triple-A Omaha, batting a combined .290/.361/.575 with 72 extra-base hits, 33 homers and 97 RBIs in 123 games. The Texas native also swiped 29 bases -- he actually joined the 30-30 club on the season's final day only to have the stolen base nullified when the game was canceled in the third inning due to rain.

    So how does he prepare to top that? By putting in the work.

    "I've been trying to get ready for the season," Witt said. "I think it's going to be a big season, so I'm really trying to put in the right prep. I'm really looking forward to it."

    Much of that work has been done in Fort Worth, Texas, where he trains at APEC with NFL superstar Patrick Mahomes' trainer.

    "There's about 30 pro ballplayers there, including big leaguers," Witt said. "It's cool to work out together and compete against each other. The trainers are trying to get our bodies right in ways I never thought of. It's a lot of fun."

    Witt actually credits much of his success to the canceled Minor League season in 2020. While COVID-19 didn't allow him to suit up in the traditional sense, he was invited to Kansas City's alternate training site that summer and made the most of it.

    "Being around big league players ... being around those guys, the big league staff and learning from them was a little cheat for me," Witt said of his alternate training site experience. "That whole season and being able to face our top prospects throughout the whole summer, I think that was a little advantage for me."

    Witt built upon that experience as well as his time in Major League camp last spring in the ensuing Minor League campaign, but it wasn't without a couple of speed bumps.

    "It was a big learning curve. Starting in Double-A those first few weeks, I was trying to find myself," he said.

  • A timely phone call with a Royals employee turned into what Witt calls his "a-ha" moment. "Just be myself," Witt said. "Be Bobby Witt Jr. That's when I play my best. The biggest key ... was realizing I don't have to try to be this guy or this guy, I can just be me and still have success."

    But what of the pressure of following in the footsteps of his father, Bobby Witt? Does trying to live up to a name that produced 142 wins across 16 Major League seasons cause sleepless nights? Not at all.

    "I think it's more motivation than anything. He played 16 years in the big leagues and I haven't played any yet," Witt said. "He's another little cheat sheet that I've always had growing up. He's pushed me each and every day of my life. The pressure was never really there from having a dad as a big leaguer, it's more motivation and ... more a blessing to have."

    Whenever Witt does reach The Show, he'll do so with the mind-set of blending in with the Royals and helping them do one thing: win.

    "Whatever I need to do to help the team win," he said. "I think I hate losing more than I love winning. Hopefully I can be a part of [winning in Kansas City], help mesh everything and hit the ground running. Just busting my tail each and every day to try and help the team. That's the ultimate goal."

    Asked which elite pitcher he would most like to face in the Majors, Witt went straight to the top." [Jacob] deGrom or [Max] Scherzer ... or whoever is the top in that year," he said. "To be the best, I feel like you have to face the best. And if you can beat the best, then you can try to, hopefully one day, become the best." (M Avallone - MLB.com - Feb 9, 2022)

  • Feb 10, 2022: Royals most athletic prospect - Bobby Witt Jr., SS (No. 1, MLB No. 3)

    Tally up all of his individual tools, and Witt’s scouting report might be the most loaded of any prospect going. He’s a plus runner and even earns some 70s from scouts. He shows legit plus-plus power in games, and while that’s rare for any position, it’s especially so for a defensively gifted shortstop. His special arm will be handy if the Royals roster necessitates a move to third base this summer. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine Witt in another life as a mobile quarterback roaming and firing all over the gridiron. Or maybe even as a kicker since his leg appears to be his sixth tool too. (Mayo, Callis, Dykstra - MLB.com - Feb 10, 2022)

  • April 7, 2022: Bobby Witt Jr. (21 years, 297 days) became the youngest player in team history to make his big debut on Opening Day. Alex Gordon held that distinction until now (23 years, 51 days).  – Tweet from Royals insider Josh Vernier

  • May 2, 2022: After struggling for most of the first month of the season, Bobby Witt Jr. finally slugged his first home run of the year against the Cardinals.

    For young players, especially prospects of Witt’s caliber, the first homer is a significant achievement.

    More often than not, these players like to keep the ball of their first dinger as a prized memory.  You will see some of these items being auctioned for charity if the player elects not to keep it. However, that is, apparently, not going to happen with Witt’s first homer ball.

    “Harrison Bader really had no idea it was Bobby Witt Jr.’s first career homer,” Talkin’ Baseball tweeted, with a video of the Cardinals center fielder throwing the ball into the center field fountain at Kauffman Stadium.  (Andres Chavez)

  • Sept 3, 2022:  Witt is now just the fifth first-year player in MLB history to collect 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in a season.

  • Oct. 2022: Witt committed to play for Team USA in the 2023 WBC. However, he did not get to play during the event.

  • 2022 Season: There is no denying that Bobby Witt Jr. put up some very impressive statistics in his first year. He did all of it despite celebrating only his 22nd birthday in June, too.

    If your name is mentioned alongside names like Mike Trout, Alex Rodriguez and Ronald Acuna Jr. for your rookie season accomplishments, you are doing something right. The 20 home runs, 30 stolen bases and 20 doubles in his rookie year puts Witt on some hallowed ground.

    With that said, there's much room for improvement as well. Getting on base at a higher percentage and cutting down on errors would be invaluable to Kansas City in 2023 as the club tries to find its groove with a new manager, a pitching coach amidst other possible changes.

    The accolades above were not only a byproduct of Witt's talent, but also due to the sheer number of opportunities he had in 2022. His 591 at-bats were 28 more than the next-closest rookie in all of baseball. When you look at statistics that measure quality, not quantity, that is where he can take his game to the next level.

    The .254 average was not bad, but the OBP of .294 puts him 25th overall for qualifying rookies. The good news is that Witt flashed that ability in 2021 between Double-A and Triple-A. He walked 21 more times that minor league season in 70 fewer plate appearances than in his first year in the majors.

     One number that shows the potential for more fireworks to come is Witt's average exit velocity of 89.7. That is 1.5 mph better than the league average. The Royals' new manager would be wise to stick him in the three-hole in the lineup. When batting at the spot in the lineup, Witt produced an average 13 points higher, reached base 30 points more often and slugged at a 0.94 greater clip.

    For times during the season when your bat is not performing, good players will still make a difference with their gloves. While Witt had some highlight reel plays on the left side of the infield, he also finished third in the American League in total errors with 19.

    His fielding percentage at shortstop (.959) was 13 points below the league average for the position. That's the spot he played the most innings at, nearly doubling his time at third base in 2022. The good news is that at the hot corner, Witt was much better for the Royals. He was better than average, only committing 3 errors in 125 chances.

    As we reflect back on Witt's rookie year, it's easy to see the massive potential he has. It will be up to the Royals to use him correctly in the lineup and settle in on a permanent position.   (Shawn Bauman - Oct 15, 2022) 

  • April 12, 2023: Bobby Witt Sr. has probably caught thousands of baseballs in Arlington, Texas, from his playing days. He added one more catch to his total, and it came from an unlikely source.

    During a clash between the Royals and Rangers, Bobby Witt Jr. lifted a foul ball down the right field line. There were many fans that could have had a shot at making the catch. Instead, the ball found its way into the suite of none other than Bobby Witt Sr., his dad, who came up with the ball. (Edward Sutelan)

  • For the Witt family, baseball is a family affair.

    By now, you know that Bobby Witt Jr. is the son of former Major League pitcher Bobby Witt, who pitched for 16 seasons. But they aren’t the only two players in the family. Witt Sr. always advised his three daughters to stay away from baseball players, so of course they didn’t. All three married eventual big leaguers. 

    And Witt Jr., the youngest child in his family, got to share a big league field this week with one of them. Zach Neal, married to the second-oldest Witt daughter, Kianna, is a pitcher for the A’s and has had the Royals’ visit to Oakland circled on his calendar the day he signed with the A’s on April 7 as a Minor League free agent.  “When Junior got drafted, it was 2019, and I was in Japan,” Neal said. “It was kind of a personal goal to play long enough to play him. I knew it was only going to be a couple of years until he was in the big leagues. And I was like, ‘That’s something I want to do before I’m done.’”

    Neal didn’t make an appearance against Kansas City; he pitched 3 1/3 innings on a Sunday and is slated to start Friday’s game. So Neal and Witt talked in the outfield during batting practice on Tuesday and swapped jerseys Tuesday night. “It’s crazy, looking in the dugout and seeing him there,” Witt said. “It’s special. It’s been awesome. I grew up with three older sisters but now I have three older brothers, too. Zach’s been in the family the longest. Seeing him from Oklahoma to the Draft to working all the way up has been great.”

    Witt almost played with another brother-in-law at the Coliseum, too; Cody Thomas, married to Shaley, is an A's outfielder who was optioned on Aug. 14. The eldest Witt daughter, Nikki, married James Russell, who made his debut in 2010 for the Cubs — and the Witt family was in attendance. Nine-year-old Bobby shagged balls in the outfield during batting practice.

    The meetup between Neal and Witt might not have happened if the A’s hadn’t called Neal in the beginning of April looking for an arm to add to their system. Neal was actually at Kauffman Stadium on Opening Day, in the stands, cheering on Witt, with his family. Neal was still a free agent after spending all of last season with the Rockies’ Triple-A team. Drafted in the 17th round out of Oklahoma, where he met his future wife, by the Marlins in 2010, Neal made it to the big leagues in ‘16 with the A’s, where he pitched for four years. From 2019-21, he pitched for Seibu in Japan.

    With no offers this season, the 34-year-old nearly retired for good.

    “I was kind of at a loss for what to do,” Neal said. “I stayed ready, worked out when everyone was at Spring Training. I was going to retire on May 1. I was going to give it until then and move on. I was very much at peace with my career, and I’ve done things that probably not a lot of people thought a 17th-rounder would do. So I’m very content with what I’ve been able to do. I wasn’t mad or bitter or scared, I was happy, like, ‘Look what I’ve done.’ “And then the A’s called. My wife and I decided we’d give it another whirl. And I feel really good.”

     Witt’s career has been different so far, as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 Draft and an emerging superstar and face of the Royals’ franchise in ‘23. But he looks up to all three of his brothers-in-law.

    “Neal’s journey shows you how hard he’s worked,” Witt said. “He never really threw upper-90s but was always able to pitch. It shows you don’t have to have that kind of stuff if you’ve got the right mindset that he has. His work ethic shows you can do whatever you set your mind to.”

    Neal added: “I always wanted to set a good example for him. He’s a good kid. He’s always been a little quiet. I don’t know if it’s because with three older sisters, it’s hard to get a word in. But he always gravitated toward us when we joined their family.”

    Neal follows all of Witt’s games but finally saw in person the kind of player Witt is turning into this week. Neal advises Royals fans to get used to it. Witt blasted two homers in the series against the A’s and is now four home runs away from becoming the first 30-homer, 30-steal player in Royals history. 

    Since July 28, Witt has a 1.224 OPS.

    “I don’t know if it’s a hot streak or if he’s just getting going,” Neal said. “I think this is pretty much going to be the standard. He’s a really gifted player, fun to watch. It’s cool.” (Anne Rogers - Aug. 24, 2023)

  • Sept 30, 2023: Witt reached 30 home runs, to go along with his previous 49 stolen bases and 10 triples. In doing so, he became the first player in MLB history to produce 30 homers, 45 stolen bases and 10 triples in the same season.

  • Nov 8, 2023: Bobby Witt Jr. was unanimously named the Les Milgram Player of the Year for the second straight year, the Royals announced. Witt, 23, is the first Royal to be Player of the Year in each of the first two seasons of his career after he became the fourth rookie in club history to earn the honor in 2022.

    Witt had a historic sophomore season: He became the first player in Royals history to record a 30-homer, 30-steal season, and he finished the season with 49 stolen bases, which ranked second in the American League. Witt appeared in 158 games and slashed .276/.319/.495 with 28 doubles, 11 triples and 96 RBIs; his 5.7 fWAR ranked 11th among Major League position players. (A Rogers - MLB.com - Nov 8, 2023)

Batting
  • Witt Jr. has developing righthanded power. He hits the ball hard around the park. He uses his strong wrists to flick the ball over the outfielder's head for extra bases. 

    Bobby checks all boxes for a true five-tool player with all tools grading as plus or better, including a 60 grade hit tool and 70 grade power.. What really makes him special is the cognitive ability and unique baseball instincts that allow him to simplify the game. He started the 2021 season relatively slowly but stuck to his game, improving his pitch selection, and driving balls in the zone, and it wasn’t long before he began performing at a higher level.

    Whenever he faces more advanced pitching, Witt and the Royals staff don’t make mechanical adjustments to his short and compact swing or to his approach. Instead just letting his athleticism and instincts take over. The strength that he’s added with maturity has given more power to his swing and allows him to hit balls hard to all fields. He controls the barrel very well and has become more aggressive with his swing but also cut down on the swing-and-miss. (Bill Mitchell - BA Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2022)

  • Witt drives the ball to all fields with excellent barrel control and outstanding bat speed. He has made significant gains in improving his approach in pro ball, becoming more aggressive while also trimming swing-and-miss tendencies from his game, and he already knows how to make difficult adjustments within at-bats. Witt has long shown plus raw power to his pull side and tapped into it more consistently in 2020, applying it from line to line against advanced pitching. He should generate even more power as he adds strength to his projectable frame and continues to refine his approach. Witt is also a plus runner who is aggressive on the basepaths, giving him a high-end combination of power and speed at a premium position.

    Entering the season, Witt was one of just two players in the 2021 Baseball America Prospect Handbook with five tools graded as 60 or higher. He is the rare player with five plus tools. (Spring 2021)

  • Bobby began getting more aggressive in his approach in 2020. He showed signs of turning the corner during the 2019 instructional league and took a big jump in 2020 while facing more advanced pitchers, at the alternate training site. The Royals raved about Witt’s pitch-identification skills this summer and were pleased with the competitive at-bats he took against older pitchers.

    Witt’s 60 grade hit tool is borne through plus bat speed and a short, compact, low-maintenance swing. The swing-and-miss concerns disappeared with his improved approach, and he vastly improved hitting with two strikes. He now projects to be at least an average hitter, and possibly plus. Witt’s plus 60 grade power has never been in question, and there is now increased confidence he will make enough contact to get to it regularly. (Bill Mitchell - Baseball America Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2021)

  • In the past, there had been some concerns about the swing-and-miss tendencies in the toolsy shortstop’s game, but he improved on that front a good deal during his senior year. He’s capable of driving the ball to all fields with excellent barrel control and outstanding bat speed. As he continues to refine his approach, there are few concerns about his ability to hit for average. That, in turn, will help him tap into his plus raw power more consistently. He’s also a plus runner who is aggressive on the basepaths, giving him 20-20 potential. (Spring 2020)

    Bobby shows good feel to hit, plus bat speed and a short, compact swing. He projects as an above-average hitter who should tap into his plus raw power. He has a 55 hit tool and 60 grade power.

  • Bobby has fluid hands and an easy, balanced righthanded stroke with plus bat speed and a short, compact stroke. He uses a double toe tap trigger.

  • He has a lot of swing-and-miss to him. But he also displays impressive pitch recognition.

  • Oct 1, 2021: Bobby Witt Jr. swapped his Storm Chasers jersey for a navy blazer and traveled south from Iowa, where Triple-A Omaha is ending its season, to Kauffman Stadium, where he was honored by the Royals as the George Brett Minor League Hitter of the Year.

    The Royals' top prospect admitted, though, that he would have rather been in a jersey. He has two games to settle some unfinished business.

    "I’m focused on these next two games I got," Witt Jr. said. "Try to win … maybe get a stolen base."

    On Sept 30, he stole what would have been his 30th base of the season, but rain suspended and subsequently cancelled the game following three innings of play. It won’t be made up, so all statistics accrued have been wiped out. (A Rogers - MLB.com - Oct 2, 2021)

  • 2021 Minor League Season: MLB Pipeline's No. 3 overall prospect slammed 33 home runs, drove in 97 runs and stole 29 bases across Double-A and Triple-A in his first full professional season. The next time we see Witt on a ball field, it may very well be at Kauffman Stadium.

    The 2019 second overall pick finished one theft shy of being the Minors’ only 30-30 player in 2021. He famously picked up that steal, but a midgame cancellation for Triple-A Omaha wiped it away. Nevertheless, Witt’s season was nothing short of thrilling, even more so considering this was essentially his first full season. The Royals got aggressive in sending him to the Minors’ two top levels, and his splits at Double-A (16 homers, 14 steals) and Triple-A (17 homers, 15 steals) were nearly equal in these categories. His place as a five-tool talent has been solidified. (S Dykstra- MLB.com - Oct 7, 2021)

  • July 29, 2023: Last 2 games for Bobby Witt Jr. of the Royals: 9 RBI, 8 hits, 4 extra-base hits, 2 home runs, 1 grand slam, 1 stolen base.

    Since RBI became an official stat in 1920, only one other MLB player has put up all of those numbers over a 2-game span: Willie Mays (May 12-13, 1958).

  • Aug. 4, 2023: Witt became the first player in Major League history to hit 20 home runs and steal 30 bases in each of his first two seasons.
Fielding
  • Bobby has quick actions and is light on his feet — very smooth without being mechanical. He has impressive range to both sides as a shortstop. He has excellent hands and impressive footwork. He often impacts the game with his 60 grade defense.

    Witt has elite hands, a good first step and good body control, rounding out the package with a plus, accurate 60 grade arm.

    Bobby is the complete package on the field, with foot speed and steady hands as well as a strong, accurate arm. What also separates Witt is how hard he works behind the scenes, a factor contributing to how simple the game appears for him. His makeup is outstanding and he’s a good teammate, helping others with their individual games.

  • There’s no question Witt will also be able to stay at shortstop, with that speed allowing him to have plenty of range. He has very quick hands and an arm that allowed him to throw in the mid-90s off the mound in high school. Scouts rave about his makeup and passion for the game as much as his tools, giving him as much chance as anyone to reach his enormous potential. (Spring 2021)

    Defensively, Witt projects to be a top-tier shortstop with elite hands, a quick first step and good body control. He tends to get crossed up on balls in the hole and needs to improve his footwork, but that should come with time. Witt rounds out his supremely athletic package with a 60 grade plus, accurate arm. While Witt’s physical tools are considerable, his outstanding makeup and instincts stand out even more. (Bill Mitchell - BA Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2020)

  • Witt Jr. has a strong arm when he lets it go. But he will shorten his stride on throws and cut his arm off out front. So, he is still working on the accuracy of his throws. (March 2019)

  • Bobby can throw on the run from multiple arm slots. 

    Witt's super-athletic body reminds you of longtime Rockies super-star Troy Tulowitzki.

  • During the 2020 Pandemic-shortened season, Witt played some third base at the alternate site belonging to the Kansas City T-Bones of the independent American Association.

    “Guys are bouncing around,” Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said in August 2020. “Witt has played primarily short and third. We’re getting an opportunity to look at some guys at different positions.”

    Where Witt will start in the 2021 season is up to conjecture. Goldberg said that would be a player development decision.

    “He has all the intangibles and the physicality to compete at a high level,” Goldberg said.

Running
  • Bobby has 70 grade speed. His instincts on the bases are very impressive.

    Witt's combination of power and speed give him a chance to possibly reach 30-30 in his best years.

    The speed that he showed in 2021 was a surprise to many, contributing to 28 stolen bases, and he could swipe more bags as he gains experience. He also showed he could leg out infield hits and regularly take the extra base. (Spring, 2022)

  • In the summer of 2018, Witt Jr. was clocked in 6.6 seconds in the 60.

  • 2021 Season: 33 homers, 29 steals

    Bobby finished one theft shy of being the Minors’ only 30-30 player in 2021. He had picked up that steal, but a midgame cancellation for Triple-A Omaha wiped it away. Nevertheless, Witt’s season was nothing short of thrilling, even more so considering this was essentially his first full season. The Royals got aggressive in sending him to the Minors’ two top levels, and his splits at Double-A (16 homers, 14 steals) and Triple-A (17 homers, 15 steals) were nearly equal in these categories. His place as a five-tool talent has been solidified.

  • 2022 Season: Witt Jr. finished fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting with 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases. And his 30.4 feet/second sprint speed was evidence of his elite baserunning. 

  • 2023 Season: Witt went 30/30 in his sophomore season, and also finished 2023 with a league-high 11 triples. The speedy shortstop ranked just behind Elly De La Cruz at 30.5 feet per second sprint speed.
     
Career Injury Report
  • July 5, 2022: Witt exited the game against the Astros mid-at-bat after swinging at a 96.8 mph sinker that hit him on the right hand in the ninth inning. The X-rays came back clean.