Royals sign first-round pick Pratto

Royals sign first-round pick Pratto

KANSAS CITY -- This wasn't the first time first-round Draft pick Nick Pratto donned a Royals cap at a significant moment.

As it turns out, Pratto was wearing a Royals cap and shirt when, at the age of seven, he hit his first home run while in a Little League game near Huntington Beach, Calif.

Pratto put on a Royals cap 11 years later at Kauffman Stadium on Monday as the team announced Pratto, the 14th overall pick, had signed. MLB.com reported Saturday that, according to a source, Pratto's deal is worth $3.45 million, slightly below the $3,727,600 slot value for the pick.

Pratto on being a Royal

As happy as Pratto was Sunday when he flew to Kansas City to sign the deal, he also could recall that first time he put on a Royals uniform as his parents, Jeff and Laura, proudly looked on at Monday's news conference.

"The funny thing is it was a pitch above my eyes and I just waved at it," Pratto said of his first home run.

It was Pratto's father, Jeff, who coached Nick at the time and was also behind selecting the uniforms for that season.

"I just thought it would be different to go with Royals uniforms that year," Jeff said.

And now Nick Pratto will wear the Major League version. Pratto, the No. 13 prospect on MLB Pipeline's top 200 Draft prospects, will report to the Arizona Rookie League on Tuesday.

"We're bringing in an incredible talent," said Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg.

Royals scout Rich Amaral has known Pratto and his family for more than 10 years, as Amaral's sons played in Little League with Pratto.

Royals sign first-rounder Pratto

"He reminds me of a lot of J.T. Snow," Amaral said of Pratto's skill set. "He's a great defender, sort of like a shortstop at first base. He can also play the corner outfields if you need him to. You think about Wally Joyner. Maybe [Joey] Votto. I have thought about a lot of different guys for him."

Pratto, who received a congratulatory call from George Brett last week, said he was fine with the Snow comparisons.

"I know J.T. Snow just from watching him when I was really young," Pratto said. "I never really tried to emulate one person. People will compare me to players. It's not my job to do that."

Royals general manager Dayton Moore was pleased to get the deal done quickly.

"There was a natural trust between the people involved and [Pratto]," Moore said.

Pratto has watched the Royals from afar and said he is anxious to get started in his professional career.

"I like to bring my style of play -- play hard and play to win," Pratto said. "I like to call myself a leader. The Royals' organization has won a World Series, and that atmosphere is awesome to watch from the outside. Now I'll be on the inside."

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.