KC Royals fans only had the good fortune to cheer for super-utility man Ben Zobrist for a little over three-months as a member of their favorite tiime. But, he and his wife Julianna left an indelible impression on Kansas City Royals fans.
The 34-year-old Zobrist played left field, right field, second base, and third base in his short stint with the KC Royals. He was everything advertised when rumors of the KC Royals interest began to circulate last June.
Zobrist proved a capable fill-in for All-Star left fielder Alex Gordon after he crumpled to the warning track with a torn groin muscle on July 8. When Gordon returned, Ben Zobrist took over for second baseman Omar Infante—who was having a poor season while suffering from bone chips in his right elbow.
Overall, Zobrist hit .284/.364/.453 with 16, doubles, 7 home runs, and 23 RBI’s in the final two months of 2015, for an OPS+ of 121 (21% better than a league-average hitter).
The switch-hitting Zobrist moved into the no. 2 position in the batting order behind free-swinging shortstop Alcides Escobar. Zobrist’s patience, and ability to draw walks, help make up for Escobar’s need to hack. Many times Zobrist prevented an opposing starter to make quick work of the first innings by working deep into the count after Escobar swung on a game’s first pitch.
Zobrist was the perfect fit for the KC Royals “keep the line moving” lineup. With his addition, and Alex Rios effective late-season play, opposing pitchers had to navigate a batting order without a hole. I have to think that helped mentally wear down their opponents under playoff pressure.
Here are the five Ben Zobrist moments I will always remember from the 2015’s championship season: