KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the first time since 1999, three Kansas City Royals rookies led off the batting order with MJ Melendez leading off, Bobby Witt Jr. second, and Vinny Pasquantino third against the Detroit Tigers during a double-header on Monday.
As the lead-off hitter, Melendez became the first catcher in Royals history to hit leadoff in a game.
“Put them 1-2-3 and see how it plays out, and they ended up coming up in big situations,” manager Mike Matheny said. “Watching their excitement that they bring, their style of play, they’re being themselves. They’re having fun and it’s contagious.”
Across the two games, the trio of rookies combined 7-for-11 with four RBI, winning game one 3-1 and game two 7-3.
Witt earned his first career four-hit game in the nightcap adding 3 RBI.
RBI became an official stat in 1920, and since then, Witt is the first American League of National League player to log 6+ hits, 3+ RBI, and 3+ stolen bases in a doubleheader sweep.
“He’s fun to hit behind for sure, because he’s in scoring position no matter where he is,” Pasquantino said.
Pasquantino hit his second career homerun and added two hits in game 2 and two walks.
The rookie performances earned praise from Tigers manager A.J. Hinch.
“Anybody who hits at the top of the order, you can create some momentum when they come up,” Hinch said. “They’re good kids. They were really good in Omaha. They’re getting their feet wet here, and we’re seeing first-hand why they like them.”