Remember when Bobby Witt Jr.'s late-season quest for a coveted "30-30" year — 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases — was just about the only thing keeping fans interested in the last-place KC Royals, a team so disturbingly bad that few (if any) observers gave it any realistic chance of avoiding the worst campaign in franchise history?
It wasn't that long ago, folks. But amazingly, and just in time, these once-given-up-for-dead Royals are on a tear. Because they've won six games in a row and 10 of their last 11 after sweeping Houston over the weekend for their fourth consecutive series win, breaking the all-time Kansas City loss record will now require work — only if they lose five of their final six games will they surpass the 2005 club's 106 losses.
So, too, will Witt's fight for that 30-30 season require some effort, but not a lot considering he stole his 30th base long ago (and now has 48, but more on that in a moment) and needs only one more homer to reach 30.
And a bit more work over his team's last half-dozen games could allow him to achieve more. For Witt, the stakes are high.
What can KC Royals star Bobby Witt Jr. accomplish with a good final week?
While the Royals have things they should do before Sunday's season finale against the Yankees, Witt has some big things he can do. First up, of course, is reaching that 30-30 plateau, something no other Royal has ever done.
But there's more ... much more.
Witt enters tonight's series opener against the Tigers in Detroit needing only two steals to reach 50. Pair that accomplishment with the one more homer he needs for 30, and Witt will join Eric Davis (1987), Barry Bonds (1990), and Ronald Acuña (this season) as the only big leaguers with 30-50 seasons. We mentioned just last month that a 30-50 year was within the KC shortstop's grasp.
Three more extra-base hits — a pair of doubles and one triple — will also be meaningful. The two doubles will give Witt 30 for the year, and he'll reach 10 triples with another three-bagger.
Finally, Witt has a chance to drive in 100 runs. His RBI total stands at 93, so he'll need to average a bit more than one per game this week.
Keep a close watch on Witt. His week could be interesting.