10 things to know after Witt Jr. signs with KC

No. 2 overall pick in MLB Draft grateful for his opportunity

June 13th, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals signed and introduced shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.

Here are 10 things you need to know about Witt:

The contract

The Royals did not confirm the financials of Witt’s deal, but MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis reports that he signed for the full slot value of $7,789,900, and it’s the second-highest Draft bonus since Gerrit Cole got $8 million from the Pirates in 2011.

The player

Witt, who will turn 19 on Friday, led Colleyville Heritage to the Texas Class 5A state high school championship last weekend. He is the son of former Major League pitcher Bobby Witt, the Rangers’ third overall pick in the 1985 Draft, who pitched for seven teams and won a World Series ring with the D-backs in 2001. Witt and his father are the highest-drafted father-son duo in history.

Witt Jr. is coming off a banner season for Colleyville in which he hit .500 with 37 extra-base hits in 38 games, including 15 homers, and slugged an eye-popping 1.095 against premier high school pitching.

The money

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.”

The organization

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.”

The Mahomes comparison

Callis suggested that Witt will be to the Royals one day what NFL MVP Award winner Pat Mahomes is to the Chiefs right now. Witt said, “Mahomes is a great player and I grew up watching him, him being at Texas Tech and me being an Oklahoma fan -- I was always rooting against him a little bit. But yeah, the plays he made back then, going back and forth with Baker [Mayfield], putting up 60-70 points a game. I’ve heard [Mahomes] does amazing things off the field, too, for the city, and that’s how I want to do things, hopefully, eventually, if I get to the big leagues, and I can do the same.”

The A-Rod comparison

Witt was on an MLB.com list of greatest shortstop prospects since 1987 and he was ranked No. 2 behind Alex Rodriguez and ahead of Chipper Jones. Witt said, “It just kind of motivated me. You can write all that stuff down on paper, but until you perform like they did, it’s never going to be satisfying. ... Maybe one day I’ll actually be on a list with those guys and not just on paper.”

Dayton Moore’s perspective

Moore on Witt: “He’s our kind of guy. He’s your kind of guy. Our city’s, our fans’, baseball’s type of player. I can’t say enough about his family and how he was raised and keeps perspective. The way Bobby treats people and speaks with them speaks for itself.”

The Minor Leagues

Witt: “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.”

Witt’s favorite athletes

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.”

What’s next?

Witt likely will get a few weeks of rest after the whirlwind lately. His high school team just won a state title last weekend. Moore said they’ll likely have Witt go to Arizona for a bit, perhaps with the rookie league team, and then they’ll decide from there if he’ll be assigned elsewhere.