The Royals may not have the amazing defense they had in 2015, but they were still capable of some highlight reel plays. Here are the top Royals defensive plays of 2017.
April 7 - Lorenzo’s leap robs George Springer
The Royals were clobbered by the Twins to start the year, so they badly needed a win in Houston. They lead 5-1 in the eighth, but George Springer had designs on a Houston comeback. The young outfielder smacked a ball to the alley in deep right-center, but Lorenzo Cain snatched it off the top of the wall, leaving Springer to simply tip his cap in awe.
May 10 - Gordo’s catch in center
When Ned Yost first suggested putting Alex Gordon in center field, many scratched their heads. Could the 33-year old former third baseman really handle the hardest defensive position in the outfield? Gordon answered critics immediately, in his first inning at the position against the Rays. Logan Morrison launched a drive to the wall, sending Gordon back to make a leaping catch, taking out part of the flimsy Tropicana Field wall. No one had any doubts about Alex’s defensive abilities after that.
July 14 - Esky shows range on a pop up
Esky is in the lineup every day, mostly for his defense. By the metrics, Escobar improved defensively in 2017 from a year ago, despite his advancing age. In a July game against the Rangers, the former Gold Glover showed he still had some range on a pop-fly hit by Drew Robinson. Mike Moustakas and Alex Gordon gave chase, but the ball was swept into foul territory. Esky was able to chase it down in a sliding grab.
July 25 - Boni doubles off Mikie Mahtook
Jorge Bonifacio had a nice little rookie season, but defense was clearly not his strong suit. Still, he had his moments, like in this July game when his attentiveness paid off. Tigers slugger Victor Martinez lines a ball down the line, where Bonifacio makes the catch. He has the presence of mind - and the arm strength - the gun it to first base to catch a napping Mikie Mahtook for the double play.
July 31 - Baltimore blast no match for Cain
Some may have thought Lorenzo Cain had lost a step, but his metrics still looked quite good this year, and Orioles slugger Chris Davis found that Lorenzo was still capable of home run robbery. Davis launched a ball that looked destined to land in the bullpen of Camden Yards, but Lorenzo Cain calmly drifted back and brought the ball back for an out.
August 13 - Gordo robs Nicky Delmonico to end the game
As if Alex Gordon needed to reprove his center field bona fides anymore, he did just that in Chicago. With the Royals already up 14-6, Nicky Delmonico was trying to continue his hot hitting. He launched a ball that looked to be a sure home run, but Gordo drifted back and robbed the young first baseman, ending the game in the process.
September 4 - Mikie Mahtook can’t believe Gordo’s catch
Mikie Mahtook must really hate the Royals. In addition to getting doubled off in a great play by Jorge Bonifacio, he was the victim of this great catch by Alex Gordon. But that would pale in comparison to what Gordo had in store for him on September 4. Mahtook sent a ball soaring into the air for what looked like a home run. But all that hang time just gave Alex Gordon an opportunity to set up and show off his ups. All Mahtook could do was look on in disbelief.
What was the best defensive play by the Royals in 2017
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Cain robbing George Springer
Gordo robbing Logan Morrison in center
Esky’s foul pop up catch
Bonifacio doubling off Mikie Mahtook
Cain robbing Chris Davis
Gordo robbing Nicky Delmonico to end the game
Gordo robbing Mikie Mahtook