Who knew the 2023 season would already produce an overwhelming favorite for Catch of the Year on Opening Day. Thanks to an unbelievable catch by Angels right fielder Hunter Renfroe during Thursday’s home game against the Athletics, that’s exactly what we got.
Renfroe, who was traded to L.A. in November, made a big impression in his first game with his new team courtesy of a stellar defensive play in the bottom of the fifth inning. With the Angels leading 1–0 and superstar Shohei Ohtani on the mound, A’s second baseman Jace Peterson blasted the reigning MVP’s four-seam fastball into right field on the third pitch.
As the deep fly ball made its descent, Renfroe spun around and tracked the ball over his right shoulder. But, just when it appeared the Angels would surrender a leadoff double, the right-hander extended his glove out to his left into the perfect spot to make a ridiculous, no-look catch for L.A’s first out of the inning.
Renfroe’s unreal snag elicited quite a reaction from the crowd and Angels play-by-play man Wayne Randazzo. But, perhaps the most memorable reaction to the memorable play was from a stunned Ohtani, who threw his hands over his head in amazement over what his teammate just accomplished.
WHAT WAS THAT 😱 pic.twitter.com/5weADj8bGt— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) March 31, 2023
Needless to say, Renfroe didn’t take long to endear himself to his new fanbase. And, if the 31-year-old continues to make plays like he did Thursday, big things could be in store for the Angels newcomer as the season continues.
But, for now, let’s all just marvel at absurdity of the play, and the fact that Renfroe made it look way easier than it actually was.