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10 things to know about Bobby Witt Jr.

Son of Major Leaguer is Royals' top Draft pick
@mattkellyMLB
June 3, 2019

With the second overall pick in this year's MLB Draft, the Royals selected Texas high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. Here are 10 facts you should know about Witt, MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall Draft prospect.

With the second overall pick in this year's MLB Draft, the Royals selected Texas high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. Here are 10 facts you should know about Witt, MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall Draft prospect.

• If the name sounds familiar, it should -- the Rangers took Witt’s father, Bobby Sr., with the third overall pick out of the University of Oklahoma in the 1985 Draft. Witt Jr. is also committed to play for the Sooners, if he chooses college over the pros.

Witt Sr., a right-handed pitcher, went 142-157 with a 4.83 ERA across 16 seasons with the Rangers, A’s, Marlins, Cardinals, Devil Rays, Indians and D-backs. He was a member of Arizona’s World Series championship team in 2001, his final season, and he pitched a clean eighth inning in Game 6 of the Fall Classic against the Yankees.

• The Witts will presumably be 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. (28th in 2002, didn't sign; 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)

• Witt Jr. is making a name of his own with an extremely powerful bat for Colleyville Heritage (Texas) High. He’s batting .519 in his senior season with 14 homers, 12 doubles and seven triples across just 127 plate appearances against some of Texas’ finest competition.

• 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.

• Last December, 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 RBIs during the tournament. The victory helped the USA clinch a spot in the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Busan, South Korea -- an event the U.S. has captured gold in four times running.

• That was one highlight of Witt’s offseason, but he also shined during the inaugural States Play tournament last August at Globe Life Park. Witt captured the most outstanding player award after he homered in each of team Texas’s wins in the event.

• Witt Jr. is one of 25 semi-finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, given out by USA Baseball. to the most outstanding amateur baseball player in the country. He would be the first high school player to win the award; only two non-NCAA Division I ballplayers (Alex Fernandez from Miami-Dade Community College-Kendall in 1990, Bryce Harper from College of Southern Nevada in 2010) have claimed the honor before. The Golden Spikes winner will be announced Friday, June 14 on ESPN.

• Witt’s father is among the pitchers who have twirled a four-strikeout inning in the big leagues, and he did so back before it was a slightly more common event. Witt punched out four Orioles in the top of the second inning on Aug. 2, 1987, and finished that game with 11 K’s in a 5-2 Rangers win. At the time, Witt was only the 17th pitcher on record to achieve that feat.

• As Witt Sr. told Baseball America last July, his son has had a powerful swing for a long time.

“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 named Derek Jeter as one of his favorite players growing up, and Jeter is someone his dad knew well from battles on the diamond. Witt faced Jeter in 25 plate appearances during their career, with the Yankees star compiling a .273 average with two homers and a triple.

• Witt’s uncle, Doug, was the Rangers’ bullpen catcher and later became a scout for the Blue Jays. The Orioles, owners of the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s Draft, hired Witt last September for their scouting department.

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.