Sunday, October 2 2022
Bobby Witt Jr. walks to the dugout before a spring training game against the Rangers.

Bobby Witt Jr. walks to the dugout before a spring training game against the Rangers.

Not everyone gets social media shoutouts from their “boss.”

Bobby Witt Jr. does. His boss just happens to be a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and NFL MVP.

Patrick Mahomes, a minority owner of the Kansas City Royals, quote-tweeted a highlight of a Witt Jr. spring-training moonshot last week with a few “bomb” emojis. The two Texas natives actually share trainers in the Fort Worth area.

Through his partnership with Chinook Seedery, Witt Jr. – ranked the top prospect entering the 2022 season by MLB Pipeline – spoke with USA TODAY about messaging with Mahomes, what having a dad who played in the majors was like and more.

Questions and answers have been lightly edited for clarity.

USA TODAY: Patrick Mahomes is shouting you out on Twitter.

Bobby Witt Jr.: “Oh yeah, it’s awesome, having a shoutout from my boss. We actually work out in the same place during the offseason, have the same offseason trainers. So it’s been awesome being able to kind of link together through that. Never really personally met him but have had text messaging back and forth and social media back and forth.

“Seeing behind the scenes is really cool, because you see how much work he puts in and then you go to the season and see what he does. That’s not gonna happen just because of how gifted he is. He truly puts in the work.”

USA TODAY: Was there a favorite player of yours you had growing up?

BW: “My dad (Bobby Witt Sr., 16-year MLB pitcher from 1986-2001) is the obvious answer. But Dustin Pedroia and Derek Jeter. I always looked up to Pedroia because I was always the smaller guy, and the high energy he had, the way he played the game. He left it all on the field. Same with Derek Jeter, and they were also good dudes off the field and, from what I heard, great teammates. So that’s how I try to model myself and not be them, but be just like them.”

USA TODAY: How did you develop your swing?

BW: “I think it just comes from myself. I maybe took bits and pieces growing up from other types of swings. But really when you’re 13 to 15, your swing’s never really going to have a dramatic change. You’re always going to have that same type of swing. You’re always fine-tuning it throughout high school, throughout pro ball to start, just trying to simplify as much as possible. Hitting is hard enough as it is. Guys are throwing 100 mph, the ball’s moving this many inches or they’re throwing these nasty sliders. It really comes down to simplifying things, being on time and getting the barrel on the ball and let things happen. That’s how I approach it, never been a big mechanical guy.”

USA TODAY: What is that like when you know you get a hold of one?

BW: “It’s just a great feeling. I’ve been starting to play golf a little bit and I’ll hit a golf ball pretty good and it’s just nothing like hitting a baseball. In golf, it’s sitting on a tee. Once you hit that home run in baseball, there’s no other feeling. It’s always good just because you know you’re helping the team out in whatever way it is because you ‘re scoring runs when you hit one good. It’s just a good feeling.”

Witt Jr. was the second overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft.Witt Jr. was the second overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft.

Witt Jr. was the second overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft.

USA TODAY: How has third base been? Do you miss shortstop?

BW: “I played a little bit of it last year (17 games). I knew coming into this season that could be an opportunity for me to maybe make the team, at third base. Been doing good things with the coaching staff, getting into a routine, taking early ground balls, that kind of stuff. … I feel like, if you can play shortstop, you really can play anywhere in the infield. (Third) is more reactionary than shortstop. It’s great to just be able to be on the infield with guys like Adalberto Mondesi, Nicky Lopez, Carlos Santana. It’s a lot of fun to be around those guys and be in the same infield with guys that are big-leaguers.”

USA TODAY: What’s it like having your dad as your agent?

BW: “It’s awesome, not only having him as an agent, but just him being there when I was growing up. He’s done, ultimately, what I want to do: play in the big leagues. I say this a lot, but it’s like a cheat sheet I have. Just asking questions, him telling me things and really just telling me to be myself. Play hard, stay humble and keep working. So it’s great to have him there and also being able to work with some of the baseball stuff off the field.”

Bobby Witt Sr. played 16 major-league seasons from 1986-2001.Bobby Witt Sr. played 16 major-league seasons from 1986-2001.

Bobby Witt Sr. played 16 major-league seasons from 1986-2001.

USA TODAY: Does it help that he was a pitcher and you can pick his brain differently than if he were also an infielder?

BW: “I think so, for sure. He was also always able to throw me BP (batting practice). … Just having two different paths is really cool. It also helps me communicate with pitchers that we have in our organization. ‘What’s the right thing to say? Maybe stay away from the guy getting hit around a little bit.’”

USA TODAY: You have three older sisters, so how did that impact your upbringing and make you who you are today?

BW: “Honestly, it’s like having three other moms. So they’ve been awesome for me and still are awesome. Throughout the offseason, I was kind of picking and choosing ‘Oh, I’m gonna stay at her house this weekend,’ and ‘Oh, I’m gonna stay at her house next weekend.’ Just jumping around a little bit.

“I don’t know where I’d be without all three of them. They’ve all really impacted my life and made me who I am today. It was really hard at first – I was a super shy guy growing up. Whenever I brought a girlfriend, it was really tough. I had to get the OK from all three of them. The girl I got right now, she got the OK, which is awesome. Yeah, I’ve been with her for a while. I was very nervous at first to bring a girl around.”

USA TODAY: I noticed all the social media shoutouts for the girlfriend (Maggie Black, who plays softball at Northwestern State)

BW: “She’s doing well too. She plays softball so she understands what I’m going through and I understand what she’s going, so it’s really nice. When she does something well, I give her a nice confidence boost.”

USA TODAY: Which pitchers are you most looking forward to facing?

BW: “I think just the (Jacob) deGroms and (Max) Scherzers of the world. Because they’re the best. And I think in order to become the best, you have to beat the best. So I’d have to face a guy like that or (Clayton) Kershaw, Gerrit Cole, the aces.”

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr. Q&A: MLB’s top prospect on third base, Mahomes

Source: Yahoo Sports

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