Royals’ Hunter Renfroe showcases electric arm with outfield assist against Blue Jays

Kansas City Royals star Bobby Witt Jr. saw the baseball fly toward second base. At that moment, he knew Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Davis Schneider was caught.

In the second inning, Schneider attempted to run on Royals right fielder Hunter Renfroe. It was a daring attempt, as Renfroe possesses one of the best arms in the major leagues.

Schneider rounded first base after hitting a single off Royals ace Cole Ragans. He hesitated and continued going once Renfroe picked up the baseball. Renfroe corralled the baseball a little late after it spun away from him.

It wasn’t late enough.

Renfroe twirled and threw a one-hop strike to the second-base bag. The baseball beat Schneider as Witt applied the tag.

“Keep testing him, and he’ll keep proving them wrong,” Witt said. “So it’s fun to watch him do that out there.”

Renfroe earned his 67th outfield assist since the 2017 season. He leads the majors during that span. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Teoscar Hernandez trails him by eight outfield assists (59) in the category.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all: the accurate throw right on the money,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “From Renfroe, we have seen that a lot.”

The defensive play came in a key spot. It erased a potential early rally for the Blue Jays. Additionally, it helped Ragans settle into the game.

Ragans allowed one run in 6 ⅔ innings on Tuesday night. The Royals earned a 4-1 victory and evened the three-game series in Toronto.

“I thought we had a great game plan,” Ragans said. “The defense played great, and Renfroe ... throwing Schneider out at second (base) was big.”

Renfroe has made pivotal plays in the outfield this season. He owns a .978 fielding percentage and has made just one error so far.

Witt, who is a terrific baserunner in his own right, paid Renfroe the ultimate compliment after the game. He felt opposing teams should think twice before running on him.

“Any time he has the ball and I’m rounding the base, I don’t know if I’m running,” Witt said.

The Royals improved to 18-13. They set the franchise record for most wins prior to May 1 on Tuesday night.