The Kansas City Royals have agreed on a contract with their 2017 MLB Draft first-round selection, first baseman Nick Pratto, the team announced on Monday. Kansas City drafted him with the 14th overall pick out of Southern California, convincing him to forgo his commitment to the USC Trojans and join the Royals organization.
Pratto first made a name for himself during the Little League World Series in 2011, when he hit a walk-off single to win the crown for Huntington Beach over Japan. He would split his time in high school playing for Mater Dei and then Huntington Beach HS, while also appearing for Team USA at the 18U Baseball World Cup.
The Royals happen to have a skilled, left-handed swinging and fielding first baseman currently in the organization in the form of Eric Hosmer. While he is on the books for over $12 million this season, the 27-year-old first baseman is slated to hit free agency at the conclusion of the 2017 season.
Hosmer has been the team’s primary first baseman since he debuted in 2011, having also been a first-round selection by Kansas City, when they took him third overall in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft out of Plantation, Fla. He was named an All-Star for the first time last season and is a three-time Gold Glove winner, but has no long-term deal to remain with the Royals.
Pratto becomes the Royals’ first first-round offensive selection since they took Hunter Dozier in 2013 out of Stephen F. Austin State University.