ANAHEIM – Royals top prospect Bobby Witt Jr. continues to impress in the Minors, but his performance Tuesday night is one that might be talked about for a different reason.
Witt went 3-for-4 with a home run and a triple for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Yet, the stat line isn’t telling of what the prospect should have finished with as he missed home plate following what should have been his second home run.
It wasn’t until before the Royals' series finale against the Angels on Wednesday that manager Mike Matheny learned of Witt's blunder at home.
“I was just recently told about that,” Matheny said. “I thought he had a great day with a homer and a triple. I didn't realize it was two homers that didn't quite make it. But I'll bet it doesn't happen again.”
Matheny compared Witt’s baserunning mistake to that of Ke’Bryan Hayes, who failed to touch first base after crushing a pitch to right field against the Dodgers on Tuesday night.
The Royals' skipper also likened the moment to his own near-blunder while running the bases during his first career home run in the Majors.
“We watched it happen the other day,” Matheny said. “We had a Major Leaguer hit a home run and miss first base, right? First home run in my career, I was watching it because it was in right field, and I was so shocked it went over. I tripped and almost missed first base. And I was too embarrassed to go back to make sure the umpire saw it. It does happen. You try to limit the times."
Matheny said the blunder is something Witt can both learn from and laugh about.
“Fortunately, that happened there, instead of here,” Matheny said. “There's going to be all kinds of these growing pains that happen along the way. I'm sure that's something he's not going to ever have to talk about again.”