Kendrys Morales is paid to hit.
The Kansas City Royals’ designated hitter posted a .290/.362/.485 line last year, and was a consistent bat in the middle of the World Champion Royals’ lineup.
Morales, though, perhaps unlike any player outside of Boston, is strictly a DH. At 33 years old, a healthy size, and on a surgically reconstructed leg, Morales has played in the field only a handful of times in the last five years, all of them at first base, where range is not really a requirement.
But then, last night, thanks to a confluence of events including a game in an NL park and an ill-timed outfield injury, something happened. Something magical. Something that makes baseball fun: Morales played in the outfield.
Starting in right field for the first time in EIGHT YEARS, Morales didn’t just stand out there like a lump, either. He actually made a really impressive catch that had his teammates tipping their caps:
I love that Statcast can break down the details for us and reveal that the eye test is telling the truth: Morales really did take a good route to that ball, and made an excellent play.