In the summer of 2011, 13-year-old Ocean View Little League first baseman Nick Pratto stepped up to bat against Japan’s fastballer and knocked a game-winning hit up the middle to win the Little League World Series. Now, only six years later, Pratto is going pro. On Monday night, he was selected in the first round of the MLB draft by the Kansas City Royals. Pratto, who just graduated from Huntington Beach High School and was committed to playing at University of Southern California, is going pro.
Back in 2011, Pratoo was a nervous kid in a tough situation. Ocean View was tied 1-1 with Japan in the bottom of the sixth inning. The bases were loaded. There were two outs. Pratto was feeling the pressure, but he looked calm and he got the bat off his shoulder quickly.
While little league glory may be the end of the road for most baseball-loving kids, Pratto has continued to have success on the diamond. He was widely considered the best hitting prospect in this year’s draft and Kansas City, which is known for recruiting free-swinging speedsters, was happy to have him with the 14th pick.
Pratto will not be the first Little League World Series player to end up in the majors. Before him, some 45 LLWS alums became major leaguers, including Mets left fielder Michael Conforto and White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier. But none had the expectations that Pratto will be facing. Fortunately, the kid is good in the clutch.