KANSAS CITY -- First baseman Nick Pratto, the Royals' first-round pick (14th overall) in the 2017 MLB Draft, was at Kauffman Stadium before Friday's game against the D-backs along with all the other Minor Leaguers the club recently honored.
Pratto, 18, ranked as the club's No. 1 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, was chosen as the Royals' player of the year at Rookie League Surprise (Ariz.), where he hit .247 with 22 extra-base hits and 34 RBIs in 52 games.
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Jumping from high school baseball directly to professional baseball was about what Pratto expected.
"I knew that it was really going to be challenging," Pratto said. "I expected it to be like that, and moving forward, I'll be better prepared."
Pratto, who signed for $3.45 million, was regarded as one of the premier hitters in the Draft coming out of Huntington (Calif.) Beach High School.
"Aside from the competition change, just getting used to the clubhouse vibe, getting to know teammates was different," Pratto said. "It was fun. Really learned a lot."
Pratto already is thinking of ways he can improve. He hinted that he struck out too much -- 58 times in 198 at-bats.
"Making more contact for sure, have to do that," Pratto said. "When I did make contact, it was hard and hit well. I just need to be more consistent in my at-bats and approach, especially my mental approach."
Yet it was a memorable few months playing the Arizona Rookie League.
"I had a blast, meeting new people and playing against old friends," he said. "I think things slowed down a lot for me. There's a lot of down time when you're away from the field. But you just stay focused. You're here to get better, and get better every day. Go to the field with the mindset of getting better. That's it."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.