Even if we’re able to complete a 2020 Major League Baseball season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unlikely we’ll see a catch better than one made by Detroit Tigers center fielder Derek Hill on Wednesday.
During a Detroit intrasquad game, Jeimer Candelario hit a line drive deep into center field at Comerica Park. Hill sprinted back and had to adjust as the ball began tailing, and made an over-the-shoulder diving catch. As Hill was rolling over, the ball bounced out of his glove, but he secured it with with his bare hand.
The play would’ve been sensational even before the barehanded conclusion, but that really made it an unbelievable grab.
Here’s video of the absolutely ridiculous catch:
We haven't even played a game yet, but we already have the catch of the year. pic.twitter.com/pcwNqRf07L
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 8, 2020
And here’s what Hill had to say about the catch, via 97.1 The Ticket:
Did he really catch it?
“Oh, always,” Hill said with a smile. “Just barely got it before it hit the ground.”
“I’ve always been pretty defensive oriented, so I’ve got pretty good instincts out there,” he said. “Ball started out on my left side and faded back over my right side. Didn’t have time to really flip around and pick the ball back up, so decided to do it over my shoulder and just got lucky — or at least that’s what we’ll call it.”
Hill, 24, played in Double-A last season and was a first-round pick by the Tigers in 2014, So, he’s trying to make a good impression in this “summer camp” opportunity with the Tigers, and that catch — at a premium position in center field — is certainly a great start.