While the Royals did not dominate the league defensively as they did in 2015, they still finished second in baseball in Defensive Runs Above Average behind only the amazing Cubs. Royals defenders made some flashy plays all season, so let’s take a look at the some of the top plays of the year.
April 14 - Alcides' stunning double play against the Astros
Alcides had a down year defensively but he showed he was still capable of making a stunning play. In this early game against the Astros, Alcides took a blooper to shallow center and make an incredibly athletic catch. Then to top it off, he had the presence of mind to whirl around and fire the ball to first to get an amazing double play.
April 21 - Alex Gordon’s running catch against the Tigers
There was some concern that Alex Gordon may not recover from his groin injury from last year and be the same kind of defender. Gordon put those fears to rest with a fine defensive season, including this early season gem against the Tigers. According to Statcast, he covered 122 feet to catch this deep fly ball from Justin Upton.
June 7 - Lorenzo Cain robs Pedro Alvarez of a home run
Yordano Ventura was lit up in the first inning of his start at Camden Yards in Baltimore, giving up four runs in the first. But the damage could have been much worse in the second, had it not been for the heroics of Lorenzo Cain. With a runner at first, Pedro Alvarez blasted a pitch into left-center that was headed for the bullpen beyond the outfield fence. Lorenzo Cain casually ran back and snagged the ball just before it disappeared over the wall. Cain’s grab was about the only highlight in a 9-1 loss that featured a brawl between Ventura and Manny Machado.
August 9 - Raul Mondesi flips it to Alcides Escobar
It was puzzling when the Royals called up infielder Raul Mondesi at the end of July. While the top prospect had high potential with power and speed, he had major holes to his game offensively and had failed to produce. However, his glove was said to be "Major League ready" and he showed it in a game against the White Sox. Jose Abreu bounced a grounder up the middle. Mondesi, playing second base, slid to his knees to field it, but with his momentum headed the wrong direction, he alertly flipped the ball to Alcides Escobar who was able to finish off the highlight reel play with a throw to first to nab Abreu.
August 25 - Raul Mondesi’s throw against the Marlins
Mondesi again flashed leather when the Royals headed down to Miami. The speedy Dee Gordon led off the bottom of the first, and he laced a hot grounder up the middle that Mondesi backhanded. Despite all his momentum headed away from first, Mondesi was able to get enough on a throw to first to easily nail the speedster.
August 25 - Jarrod Dyson robs a home run in Miami
Not to be outdone by Mondesi, just two hitters later, Jarrod Dyson made a highlight reel play of his own. Christian Yelich launched and Edinson Volquez to deep centerfield. Dyson, on a dead sprint, leaped at the wall to snag the ball before it went over the fence for a home run-saving catch.
October 2 - Dyson's over-the-back catch
We received a late entry for play of the year. Francisco Lindor killed the Royals this year, and it looked like he might have extra bases when he launched a drive to dead center field off Ian Kennedy in the last game of the year. Jarrod Dyson drifted back, and with his back to home plate, casually reached up and made the grab, just in front of the 410 sign in center.