The Royals showed they could still flash some leather this year, finishing 11th in defense according to Fangraphs metrics. The return of Gold Glover Salvador Perez helped, as did the emergence of Nicky Lopez as a Gold Glove candidate and Alex Gordon continuing his Gold Glove performance.
Here are the top defensive plays for the Royals in 2020.
July 23 - Alex Gordon does a Patrick Mahomes no-look throw
Okay, so this was technically an exhibition game, but Alex Gordon put the league on notice that he still had an arm that could nab unsuspecting baserunners. In a tune-up against the Cardinals, Alex Gordon caught a Tommy Edman flyball and set up for a throw home to catch the runner trying to advance to score a run. But apparently Gordo had been learning from new Royals owner Patrick Mahomes, because while his eyes looked home, he actually threw it across his body to second to catch Harrison Bader, who was trying to advance to second. Gordo nabbed him in time to end the inning before the run could score, showing the old man still had a few tricks up his sleeve.
*Flies out to Gordo with one out and the bases loaded*— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) July 22, 2020
"Now you're all in big, big trouble."#AlwaysRoyal pic.twitter.com/CIgBEzu9Wi
August 2 - Jakob Junis kicks it to Maikel Franco for the double play
Jakob Junis may have attracted some scouts from Sporting Kansas City after an impressive kick that led to two outs. In a game against the White Sox, Eloy Jimenez lined a ball off Junis’ foot that went high up into the air. Maikel Franco caught it in the air and flipped it to first for what seemed like one out. But upon replay, it was clear that Junis had actually kicked a line drive into the air - the ball had never touched the ground - meaning that Jimenez had been out as soon as Franco had caught it, and Franco instead had turned a double play by catching the runner off first base.
August 9 - Alex Gordon’s diving catch
They don’t give away seven Gold Glove awards for nothing, and Alex Gordon showed why he is one of the best defensive left fielders in recent memory with another amazing catch against the Twins. Slugger Nelson Cruz laced a sinking liner to the gap, but Gordo closed in quickly, laid out for the ball, and showed he could still patrol spacious Kauffman Stadium.
September 25 - Mondesi flips it over the umpire’s head
It was a tough year for Adalberto Mondesi at the plate, at least in the first half, but his defense was still solid throughout. Mondi showed off his skills in a game against the Tigers late in the year. Niko Goodrum sent a grounder up the middle, but Mondesi scooped it up. Umpire Manny Gonzalez stood between Mondesi and second base, so Mondi simply flipped it over his head to teammate Nicky Lopez for a 6-4-3 double play.
September 26 - Alex Gordon throws out his last baserunner
Can you believe there are still baserunners that try to test Alex Gordon? Tigers catcher Austin Romine decided to give it a shot and tempt fate by scoring from second on a single. But Alex Gordon showed off the best left field arm in the game with the 102nd, and final, outfield assist of his career.
Gordo and Salvy.— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) September 26, 2020
Tormenting baserunners as long as they've been together.#4EverRoyal pic.twitter.com/LlT94RpZVK
What was the best defensive Royals play of 2020
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Alex Gordon no-look throw
Jakob Junis kicks the ball
Alex Gordon diving cach
Mondesi flips it over the ump
Gordo throws out his last runner