Royals' Brazilian rookie Paulo Orlando has five triples already
Orlando's two-run triple Monday night helped to break open Kansas City's 7-1 victory against the Twins. It was his fifth triple -- which leads the league -- in seven total hits.
They used to say of Hall of Fame football player Cris Carter: "All he does is catch touchdown passes," as if it were a bad thing. They also say that the triple is the most exciting play in baseball, aside from the rare inside-the-park home run. If true, that must make Paulo Orlando of the Kansas City Royals, a 29-year-old rookie outfielder from Brazil, the most exciting player in baseball. Because all he does it hit triples.
Orlando is unlikely to become a Hall of Famer, but he is a major-league record holder already, because he hit his fifth triple in seven games Monday night. No one had ever hit so many triples over a seven-game span, not to mention a seven-hit span. An astounding five of Orlando's seven total hits have gone for three bases. Dee Gordon led the majors in 2014 with 12 triples, for a reference point.
Orlando's teammates are giving him a good-natured hard time.
"They'll say to me, 'You're never hitting singles, all you hit is triples,'" Orlando said. "They are very funny. I'm just trying to use my speed to help the team."
The third Brazilian-born player to reach the majors, after Indians catcher Yan Gomes and Marlins pitcher Andre Rienzo, Orlando hit 63 triples in the minors, although it took him nine seasons (the first 2 1/2 with the White Sox) to do it.
Here's the triple Orlando hit Friday:
As impressive as five triples already sounds, Orlando doesn't have a comfortable league lead because Sam Fuld of the Oakland Athletics has three. Five players have two, and — in what seems like a lot for two weeks into the season — 64 players have hit at least one triple. The #yearofthetriple hashtag already has appeared on Twitter in a joking way. You might start seeing more feature stories on the triple soon. And it is a fitting sort of hit for the Royals, whose ballpark was designed to enhance the possibility of hitting triples, especially when the playing surface was artificial and the fences were further back. The Royals of the 1970s and 1980s would hit a lot of triples. George Brett, Hal McRae, Willie Wilson — they all used to hit a lot of triples.
Here's one of the triples he hit April 12:
And here's the other triple he hit April 12:
But it's not just the shape of Kauffman Stadium, or the natural speed of Orlando, that's getting it done. He's hitting the ball well.
Here's his first career hit from April 9:
Orlando said he knows pretty early after he makes contact when he has a chance for a triple.
"Usually when it gets over the infielder's head," he said. "… The whole game, I tried to pull everything. But the last pitcher, we got a report that he threw a little cutter, so I tried to think right side."
And he also tried to think "triple."
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