The crowd (and Witt family) goes wild
As soon as MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the Kansas City Royals were on the clock, Bobby Witt Jr.’s phone started to ring.
After saying “Yes, sir” three times and closing with “Thank you,” Witt told his three sisters and his mother the breaking news.
And then he had sit on it, though it was obvious that he would go to the Royals second overall. Being handed a Royals hat kind of gave it away, too.
Witt and the throng at his house could finally celebrate could finally after eight long minutes between the phone call and Manfred’s announcement on MLB Network. Boy, did they celebrate.
“I still feel like I’m still dreaming, but dreams really do come true,” Witt said. “Right when I got that call, my stomach dropped. I never thought I would actually have tears of joy.”
The Colleyville Heritage star shortstop, the Gatorade National Player of the Year, became the highest player selected from Tarrant County since Ben Grieve (Arlington Martin) in 1994.
The Baltimore Orioles used the first overall pick on Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, as had long been projected. The Royals were linked to Witt in most mock drafts, saw most of his games this season, and stuck with the potential five-tool player.
The Royals and Texas Rangers share a spring home in Surprise, Ariz., and Witt will likely head there shortly after signing his contract to begin his professional career. An Oklahoma commit, Witt said that he plans to sign with the Royals.
The bonus for the No. 2 overall pick this year is $7,789,900.
“It’s been a joy to scout him,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “It’s been an absolute honor and privilege to follow him and his career. It’s a great celebration in this organization today because we were able to select him. We knew a little over a year ago that this was a player that we were going to target. To see this day come has been very, very special for all of us.”
Witt entered last weekend batting .500 with 15 home runs before Colleyville Heritage swept two games from Lubbock Monterey in the Class 5A Region I finals and advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history.
Witt was on the mound for the final out of each game as the Panthers’ closer. He said that their game Thursday against Corsicana is his top focus, and he can look forward to what the Royals have planned for him next week.
“It setting in right now,” Witt said. “I want to get there first, go out there and do my things, and go out there and help change the organization in any way possible.”
Witt is the son of former MLB pitcher Bobby Witt, who logged 16 seasons after the Rangers selected him third overall in the 1985 draft. The Witts surpassed the Grieves as the highest-drafted father-son duo in draft history.
Tom Grieve, the Rangers Hall of Famer, was selected sixth overall by the Washington Senators in 1966 before the franchise relocated to Arlington in 1972.