Witt looked like a center fielder for a couple of seconds, sprinting into the outfield grass, tracking the ball perfectly and grabbing it in his glove before sprawling out headfirst.
“He came out of nowhere,” Quatraro said incredulously. “That was an incredible play. I cannot wait to see the metrics on it. I can’t imagine too many players who get that ball.”
“It looked like Jim Edmonds,” third baseman Matt Duffy added. “That was an impressive catch, especially with the wind.”
The 22 mph winds were howling at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday, making for some interesting spin on fly balls.
“I knew it was windy, so I just saw it in the air and just knew I had a chance,” Witt said. “It was one of those reactionary plays where you just go out and get it. … I knew we have a Gold Glover in center field, so I wasn’t sure how far I needed to be going. Then I just saw it up, and [Bradley] said he didn’t know how the wind was playing either, so I just tried to track it down and make a play.”
Springer looked shocked when he realized Witt caught it, while the crowd at Kauffman Stadium and the Royals’ dugout exploded with delight. Nicky Lopez threw his hands up in the air, while Bubic grinned.
“Holy hell, Bobby,” Bubic said. “You don’t see that very often. I knew it was going to be interesting because it was off the end of the bat and in that in-between zone, kind of bloop territory. He’s got crazy speed. I figured it would be an outfielder before it’d be him. Pretty insane play, and he’s one heck of an athlete.”
Witt covered 97 feet to track the ball down, registering a 28.5 feet per second sprint speed to time his catch.
The Royals have committed to Witt as their everyday shortstop in 2023, citing his athleticism and defensive skill to help him bounce back from a tough rookie season in the infield. Five games into the season, and the 22-year-old is showing why he’ll be just fine as the anchor of the Royals’ defense for years to come.
“So far, that kid has impressed me,” Duffy said. “He does something exciting each night.”