How impressive was Kyle Isbel’s catch in a Royals rainstorm? Diving into the numbers

Kansas City Royals outfielder Kyle Isbel knew he was taking a risk.

In adverse weather conditions, Isbel turned in the highlight of Thursday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. He robbed Blue Jays infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa with a sliding grab.

It was the play of the night — and one of those catches that the Royals will revisit in video packages for years to come.

“It was tough to see as the weather was not very good,” Isbel said. “I got a good break on it and figured I could catch it off the bat and was able to come down with it.”

How impressive was the catch? Let’s look at the numbers.

In the fifth inning, Kiner-Falefa hit a 92.2 mph fastball into center field. Isbel, who is known for his quality jumps, traced the baseball while battling the rain. The baseball was tailing in the opposite direction of his pursuit.

As a result, Isbel had to reach above his head to snag the baseball. He registered a 28.3 feet-per-second sprint speed on the catch. He also covered 90 feet as he raced down the baseball in the gap, per Statcast.

“Just taking your eye off the ball and running,” Isbel said of his thought process. “Taking your eye off the ball helps you run faster because you are not running with your head sideways. So that was a big key there. I knew it was going to be iffy off the bat, especially the way the wind was and with the rain.”

Isbel also dealt with a tenuous terrain. He likened the outfield conditions to playing in a swamp. And when Kiner-Falefa hit the baseball, Isbel didn’t have too much time to react.

Kiner-Falefa hit the baseball 385 feet with 4.5 seconds of hang time. The line drive also packed a significant punch. Kiner-Falefa stung the baseball with a 100.6 exit velocity that increased the difficulty of the catch.

“Anything I can do to help the team win,” Isbel said. “Cole (Ragans) is battling up there in these conditions. I couldn’t imagine throwing the ball because after I dove right there, I got up and my hands were just drenched.”

Statcast measured that Isbel’s grab had a 75% catch probability, though the weather and field conditions, which are not quantified in that statistic, made it significantly more difficult.

The hitting numbers registered it as more of a 50/50 chance (47% hit probability), again, in normal conditions.

Either way, Isbel made the play. He hauled in an impressive catch in a key spot in the game as the Royals pulled out a 2-1 victory in a rain-shortened five innings.

“For him to be able to get a great jump and track the ball down,” said Royals outfielder Hunter Renfroe,” was pretty incredible.”