A number of former first-round picks made their MLB debuts on September 1. In addition to Yankees catcher Austin Wells, former Baylor star Nick Loftin was penciled into the Kansas City Royals lineup against the Red Sox. Here’s a look what Royals fans can expect from Loftin.
A Look at Loftin
The Royals selected Nick Loftin with the 32nd pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. A former standout at Baylor, Loftin was a career .311 in college and played with a couple of other first round picks in Davis Wendzel and Shea Langeliers.
In three pro seasons, Loftin hit .272 with 42 career home runs. The 24-year-old cracked the double digit marker in home runs in each of his three pro seasons and stole a career-high 29 bases last year between Northwest Arkansas (AA)
Loftin’s not a physically intimidating figure at 5’11, but the 24-year-old has been an adept hitter at the pro level. Loftin possesses good bat-to-ball skills and won’t strike out all that much, and does possess about average power.
Defensively, Loftin saw time at all four infield positions in the Minors, but the vast majority of that action came at second, third, and short. He also played a significant amount of time in center field last season, but only saw three games in the outfield this year prior to his promotion.
Loftin will make his debut on September 1 and start in the DH slot.
What it Means for the Royals and Fantasy Outlook
Loftin figures to be a piece for the Royals infield in 2024. He’s got the bat and speed to impact a game, and his versatility should serve him well in the new age of baseball.
The Royals have two nice pieces on the left side of their infield in speedster Maikel Garcia and budding star Bobby Witt Jr., as well as a couple of intriguing first basemen in Nick Pratto and Vinnie Pasquantino.
However, the Royals do have holes in their lineup. 2B Michael Massey‘s been productive in spurts, but a .220 average and .617 OPS won’t guarantee the 25-year-old anything come next season. Kansas City’s outfield also hasn’t been productive. If the Royals want to get Loftin back in the outfield, he could be a player that gets time in a number of different positions in Kansas City in 2024.
As far as fantasy is concerned, Loftin doesn’t have great RBI potential and his average power output won’t make him awfully appealing. However, he could be someone to watch in AL-only formats over the final few weeks.