Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. cemented himself as a future trivia answer on Friday night against the Philadelphia Phillies by launching his 20th home run of the season. In doing so, Witt became the first player in National or American League history to record at least 20 home runs and at least 30 stolen bases in each of his first two seasons.
Take a look at the historic moment:
Witt, for his part, was not aware of the accomplishment until he discovered that his bat had been confiscated by Major League Baseball for authentication.
"I didn't even know that happened," Witt told reporters, including MLB.com. "I didn't know it was a thing until they grabbed my bat during the game. I was looking for my bat and I didn't know where it was. They said they authenticated it."
Witt, 23, is now hitting .270/.308/.480 (114 OPS+) with those aforementioned 20 home runs and 32 stolen bases in his first 109 games. Last season, he batted .254/.294/.428 (103 OPS+) with exactly 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases.
The overall line belies how well he's performed as of late. In his first 19 second-half games, he's posted a .329/.345/.646 slash line with six home runs, 19 RBI, and five stolen bases on seven attempts. The Royals would probably like to see him walk more often -- he's recorded 13 more strikeouts than walks in 84 trips to the plate -- but it's otherwise hard to knock his production.
Witt's hot hitting has helped the Royals compile MLB's longest active winning streak, at seven games. Alas, the Royals still have the second-worst record in MLB this season, ahead of only the lowly Oakland Athletics. It's worth remembering that MLB now determines the top six picks in the draft via lottery, with each of the top four teams maintaining equal odds of landing the No. 1 pick. In other words, Witt and the Royals' recent play does not necessarily benefit the A's.