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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ramon Laureano threw the s**t out of this baseball.

Ramon Laureano has played a total of five games in the majors, all this season, all since the start of August. It’s been a fun start! He’s already had a number of defensive highlights, and his first hit in the bigs was a walk-off game-winner in extras, in his first career game.

spanx for the memories Posted: August 12, 2018 at 12:23 PM | 150 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:41 AM (#5726250)
In a perfectly functioning baseball ecosystem, strong-armed guys would only get slightly more assists than weak-armed ones, but that's not the way it works.

I would guess that it's very hard for base runners and coaches to adjust on the fly to the specific strength of the OF arms.
   102. SoSH U at work Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:54 AM (#5726259)
I would guess that it's very hard for base runners and coaches to adjust on the fly to the specific strength of the OF arms.


Baserunners, yes. But that should be a primary responsibility of the base coaches to know the arm strengths of that day's outfielders.
   103. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:58 AM (#5726262)
Baserunners, yes. But that should be a primary responsibility of the base coaches to know the arm strengths of that day's outfielders.

They know the arm strength, but translating that into in the distance from the base vs. where the OF gets to the ball, considering arm strength and accuracy, and game situation, and deciding when it's safe to go, is very complex. Think about writing an algorithm for that.
   104. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 10:03 AM (#5726267)
Just the pure question of whether or not the runner could make it seems like it might be one of those things where experienced humans making snap judgments are more accurate than any algorithm we're capable of coming up with today. But I would bet that coaches do a disappointing job at properly factoring in the game situation math, which is not easy for us even from the comfort of the basement. 2 outs, you're down by 2, 7th inning ... it's fair enough for us to know that the next hitter probably has a 27% chance of driving the runner in, and that if the runner is 50/50 to make it you might want to send, but how to account for the fact that you have multiple innings to play, the chance for a multi-run inning, etc?

Someone could probably write an entire book on the topic
   105. SoSH U at work Posted: August 14, 2018 at 10:10 AM (#5726273)
They know the arm strength, but translating that into in the distance from the base vs. where the OF gets to the ball, considering arm strength and accuracy, and game situation, and deciding when it's safe to go, is very complex.


That's their primary job function. But again, if the guys with the strongest arms are throwing out more runners, then they're not doing it right.

The decision whether to advance a runner should be based on a breakeven point that exists before the pitch is thrown. So, then the only factor remaining is where a given play falls on that point as it develops.
   106. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 14, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5726285)
The decision whether to advance a runner should be based on a breakeven point that exists before the pitch is thrown. So, then the only factor remaining is where a given play falls on that point as it develops.


I don't think they do a very good job of this - my sense is that most third base coaches send a guy home based on whether he's more likely than not to make it. But with two outs, if the chances are better than the next hitter's OBP (which is generally about 32 percent), it's worth sending him. If I were a third base coach, and there's a relatively weak hitter on deck, I'd basically always send the runner home with two outs. Just because a runner is out at the plate, that doesn't mean it was a bad send.

Part of the issue is that a third base coach will get blamed if a runner gets thrown out at the plate. But he'll never get blamed if a runner ends up stranded at third while the backup catcher strikes out.
   107. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 10:37 AM (#5726296)
But with two outs, if the chances are better than the next hitter's OBP (which is generally about 32 percent), it's worth sending him.


But it's actually a lot more complicated than that, as I said in #104. The next guy could hit a homerun. The next three guys could get hits. Etc.

Also, as per your math, a relatively weak hitter has a break-even around 30%, but a relatively good one around 36% ... there's no way people (or machines) are accurate enough to differentiate.

edit > By "differentiate" I mean differentiate between the odds that the runner has a 30% vs 36% chance of scoring, not differentiate the quality of the hitters, which obviously we're pretty good at, although even that's a touch more complicated when you start to look at it, given that you don't know if the opposing manager will bring in a lefty to face the next guy, etc.
   108. SoSH U at work Posted: August 14, 2018 at 10:43 AM (#5726300)
I don't think they do a very good job of this - my sense is that most third base coaches send a guy home based on whether he's more likely than not to make it. But with two outs, if the chances are better than the next hitter's OBP (which is generally about 32 percent), it's worth sending him. If I were a third base coach, and there's a relatively weak hitter on deck, I'd basically always send the runner home with two outs. Just because a runner is out at the plate, that doesn't mean it was a bad send.


I agree with this, and this seems like an area where the analytics-driven ballclub can gain an edge. As it exists now, it's not efficient.

   109. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 14, 2018 at 10:55 AM (#5726309)
I agree with this, and this seems like an area where the analytics-driven ballclub can gain an edge. As it exists now, it's not efficient.


While I agree with this generally I think it's a lot more difficult than that. This is decision making in an extremely short time frame with much less information than you really need. In the end it's always going to be a glorified guesstimate at best. I think it might be useful to see WHEN those outfielders are getting their assists. If you are letting a Jackie Bradley throw out a runner at the plate with no outs, yeah that's a #### up, but with two outs it's probably worth the gamble.
   110. SoSH U at work Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5726312)
While I agree with this generally I think it's a lot more difficult than that. This is decision making in an extremely short time frame with much less information than you really need. In the end it's always going to be a glorified guesstimate at best.


I don't agree with that. If you have, for instance, two outs and a runner on base and a crappy hitter up next, the base coach ought to have a pretty good sense of what the breakeven point* on a send home is. From there, it's just evaluating where the chances of being safe are on a given play (if you could re-run the play, how often would the guy be thrown out). And if he can't do that, what the hell is he out there for? It's not like teams are flashing bunt and hit-and-run signs all that often anymore.

If you are letting a Jackie Bradley throw out a runner at the plate with no outs, yeah that's a #### up,


That's the thing. Jackie Bradley should throw out a runner at the plate just as often as a rag-armed outfielder does, overall. In JBJ's case, the throws should simply be from deeper.

* Hell, I don't think there's any rule that would prevent a base coach from having a cheat sheet.

   111. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5726316)
I agree that it's a difficult calculus to process in a very short amount of time, with a lot of moving parts. My basic point is that the "send" level is almost always too high with two outs. It doesn't have to be breakeven for it to be a good send, because if there are two outs, the runner isn't likely to score anyway.

I'm probably biased because the Rockies announcers always, always praise third base coach Stu Cole for being cautious in sending runners home. But they never say, "And Wolters strikes out for the third time, leaving Dahl stranded at third - thanks a lot, Stu!"
   112. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:27 AM (#5726339)
Should be noted that talking about the "decision" to send the runner makes it sound a lot more controlled than it is. Players do not, needless to say, always pay attention to the third base coach. Who knows how many of the players being thrown out were because they ran through a stop sign?

EDIT: I mean, nowadays we could compile that information, but for plays in the past, it will not always be available.
   113. SoSH U at work Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5726344)
Should be noted that talking about the "decision" to send the runner makes it sound a lot more controlled than it is. Players do not, needless to say, always pay attention to the third base coach. Who knows how many of the players being thrown out were because they ran through a stop sign?


Quite true. Not all bad outs on the paths (or, on rarer occasion, bad stops), are on the base coach.

   114. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5726363)
110 - I agree that the coaches should have a good sense of what the breakeven point is (and frankly I'd be shocked if they aren't given such guidance in this day and age) but I think identifying it on a given play at full speed is virtually impossible. I don't think anyone can, at full speed, be closer than within 20%. That is to say if the breakeven on a given play is 40%, on a base hit to center I don't think a base coach can confidently say that the runner has a 45% chance of being safe. I think the best bet is some version of "no chance", "with a bit of luck", "close", "barring a great throw" and "he's in standing up."
   115. SoSH U at work Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:06 PM (#5726414)
110 - I agree that the coaches should have a good sense of what the breakeven point is (and frankly I'd be shocked if they aren't given such guidance in this day and age) but I think identifying it on a given play at full speed is virtually impossible. I don't think anyone can, at full speed, be closer than within 20%.


I think they should be much better than that. And if they're not now, then practice to get better at it. Run all sorts of plays in the video room to see how frequently various types of plays result in outs/non-outs. I see no reason to accept such poor recognition. We don't anywhere else on the diamond.

When the Alex Gordon play developed, the overwhelming consensus here was he had a less than 20 percent chance of scoring, and further testing kind of confirmed that. I don't think it's nearly as difficult to narrow down a play's place on the breakeven spectrum as you're suggesting.
   116. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:32 PM (#5726513)
I think they should be much better than that. And if they're not now, then practice to get better at it. Run all sorts of plays in the video room to see how frequently various types of plays result in outs/non-outs. I see no reason to accept such poor recognition. We don't anywhere else on the diamond.


I'm not opposed to that but I don't think you can get that level of precision. There are a lot of moving parts involved both in terms of the play (how is the ball rolling, where was the fielder positioned, what kind of angle is the runner taking) but the break/even is going to need to be adjusted batter to batter. You can start with your basic run expectancy chart but besides the obvious differences (is it JD Martinez or Sandy Leon on deck) there are the more subtle differences (is it Eduardo Nunez or Jackie Bradley on deck, what kind of pitcher is on the mound, is the manager likely to make a change) at work. None of these are impossible to model generally but I think short of giving the 3B coach a Giradi-binder there is a limit to what can be expected in terms of precision.

With that all said I don't think you're wrong. There probably is more to be done. I agree that if 3B coaches don't at least have a rough run expectancy chart committed to memory they should have one in their pocket and I like your idea of running simulations. With statcast data a team should at least now how far from home plate different spots on their home park is.

With that information I don't think the rough five categories I laid out winds up being sufficient. Just as we expect fielders to know what to do with the ball when it is hit to them a 3B coach should be able to identify within those five categories what his cutoff is. And I'm not committed to those five categories, I'm fine if you think there should be a couple more but I don't think it's possible for a 3B coach to watch a play and make an informed decision about what the likelihood of a runner scoring is.
   117. SoSH U at work Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5726533)
I don't think it's possible for a 3B coach to watch a play and make an informed decision about what the likelihood of a runner scoring is.


With absolute precision? No.

With far greater precision than they operate now? Absolutely.
   118. Hysterical & Useless Posted: August 14, 2018 at 04:02 PM (#5726719)
Clemente, Barfield, and Valentine

Rocky Colavito was a contemporary of Clemente who also had a cannon.

Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 14, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5726285)
If I were a third base coach, and there's a relatively weak hitter on deck, I'd basically always send the runner home with two outs.


Wendell! Is that you!?!
   119. Mefisto Posted: August 14, 2018 at 04:11 PM (#5726726)
Rocky Colavito was a contemporary of Clemente who also had a cannon.


Johnny Callison was another.
   120. Sunday silence Posted: August 14, 2018 at 04:35 PM (#5726754)
COnversation has actually taken a more interesting turn; to get back to earlier comments; i can sort of understand what McCoy is saying here.

The throw by Puig (linked above) is a bit more impressive to me because Puig actually has very little time to set himself and has to get the throw off as soon as possible; his throw just gets there in time. In the Laureano throw, the throw beats the runner by quite a bit and Laureano does have a little time to set himself. not a full running start but he does have time to set himself.

In terms of arm strength both throws are stupendous. In terms of overall factors, Puig's seems extra ordinary like 1/1000 play and Laureano maybe 5-10% or so...

Just saying, hes' not trolling here.
   121. spanx for the memories Posted: August 15, 2018 at 12:59 AM (#5726987)
Did someone mention Jeff Francoeur? He also had a pretty good arm in RF if I remember correctly?
   122. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: August 15, 2018 at 08:42 AM (#5727034)
I'd like to see a study on assist rate, hold percentage, and throwing error rate in the first x games of a career compared to the next x games - and how that's changed over time. (Does the league "learn" faster than it used to. I'd think so.)
   123. , Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:12 AM (#5727049)
With far greater precision than they operate now? Absolutely.

Data? I'm not saying you're wrong. But I am saying, we can all pretty much immediately identify a bad send. It's harder to identify a bad hold. But "bad send" happens very infrequently in my opinion. (I'm excluding cases where a guy goes through a stop sign). OTOH, it seems more common, though still infrequent, for a runner to go through a stop sign and score easily.

So, perhaps coaches are too conservative?

You'd also have to not give them credit for obvious holds and sends.

My point is, it's tempting, as in all hindsight, to assume the guys doing jobs we can imagine doing (coaching, managing, GMing) aren't good enough at what they do. But I'm not sure that's the case. Analytics aren't exactly new on the scene. I have to imagine teams have evaluated this and bad coaches have short lifespans.
   124. SoSH U at work Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5727072)
My point is, it's tempting, as in all hindsight, to assume the guys doing jobs we can imagine doing (coaching, managing, GMing) aren't good enough at what they do. But I'm not sure that's the case. Analytics aren't exactly new on the scene. I have to imagine teams have evaluated this and bad coaches have short lifespans.


To me, the fact that assist rates vary so wildly among outfielders indicates the system is not operating anywhere close to optimal efficiency. Since virtually all outfield assists are on discretionary plays by the offense (not forceouts), you shouldn't see large gaps between the strong-armed and the weak-armed (though Der-K's point is a good one about learning). Their assist totals should be somewhat similar; they'd simply occur on different types of plays - where you'd send a guy when Johnny Damon is in center is different than when Rick Ankiel is out there, but for both you'd send the runner when the expected safe rate exceeds the breakeven mark.

Obviously, you'd need to isolate the run through the stop sign/ignore the go sign examples in your evaluations.

   125. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:49 AM (#5727076)
Who are the high-assist guys that only have their poor arms to blame? I know that Vince Coleman racked up some good numbers.
   126. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:49 AM (#5727077)
I wouldn't expect true equilibrium (E(A/inn)) being the same for all outfielders, given that individual fielders have different A/E[subscript]t[/subscript]) but agree with the thrust of your point, SoSH.
   127. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:53 AM (#5727079)
bloop
   128. Mefisto Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:58 AM (#5727083)
Bill James suggested that guys like Coleman got assists because they got to the ball quicker than the runner expected.
   129. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5727084)
Wayne Rooney chased this throw down and denied the opportunity.
   130. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5727085)
Not what you're looking for PF, but a guy I always think of as someone who racked up assists despite not having a good rep from his throwing arm is the Wonder Hamster, Matt Stairs (after all, an insufficient arm was part of why he didn't play third). Yet, he averaged an assist every hundred innings on his career (a hair better than, but in the same territory as, Vince).
Lonnie Smith was in the same ballpark as Vince (groan), possibly because runners wanted to see him fall as he threw.
   131. jobu Posted: August 15, 2018 at 10:15 AM (#5727092)
The throw by Puig (linked above) is a bit more impressive to me because Puig actually has very little time to set himself and has to get the throw off as soon as possible; his throw just gets there in time. In the Laureano throw, the throw beats the runner by quite a bit and Laureano does have a little time to set himself. not a full running start but he does have time to set himself.

In terms of arm strength both throws are stupendous. In terms of overall factors, Puig's seems extra ordinary like 1/1000 play and Laureano maybe 5-10% or so...


I'm a A's fan, so I'm horribly biased here. I think Laureano's throw was extraordinary for all the reasons the "pro" side of the argument has stated. Deep part of the ballpark, perfect strike to Canha on the fly. Canha moved only after the catch, to get off the base. The high arc on the ball is simply a matter of mathematics--that speed and that distance require that arc to get there on the fly. The kid knows his arm.

I find it extraordinary also because this is a guy who has played less than 10 major league games. Not ballyhooed as a prospect at all. Ichiro's throw vs. Terrence Long came at a similar stage of his career, but Ichiro came with a resume.
   132. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5727102)
McCoy argued that 91mph is 91mph is 91mph, but I wonder if that's true. Many outfielders can throw 91mph, but could they all make this throw? Forgetting for a moment the degree to which he was able to set his feet ... does the angle make it more difficult to throw at that speed? Or some other overlooked factor?
   133. McCoy Posted: August 15, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5727111)
McCoy argued that 91mph is 91mph is 91mph, but I wonder if that's true. Many outfielders can throw 91mph, but could they all make this throw? Forgetting for a moment the degree to which he was able to set his feet ... does the angle make it more difficult to throw at that speed? Or some other overlooked factor?

That is not what I argued. I said anyone that can throw in the mid 90's and higher from 250 feet or so could probably throw a ball at 321 feet and have gotten the ball to the base in time.

I'm not sure what exactly was difficult for him in terms of angle or footwork. He clearly had enough time in the video to setup for the throw and did so.
   134. Khrushin it bro Posted: August 15, 2018 at 12:41 PM (#5727194)
Give the guys with the best arms in baseball one shot at this throw and I doubt they get it there accurately more that 1/10. Probably 1/100 they throw a strike to 1st. Only a few times a year does it make a difference in a game. This was a cool improbable play he made a tough catch to begin.

Yes plenty of guys can make that strong a throw just like many pitchers can throw 95 in accurately and get stuck in AAA.
   135. SoSH U at work Posted: August 15, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5727200)
I'm not sure what exactly was difficult for him in terms of angle or footwork.


I'm not sure this is accurate. Most of those measured throws begin with the fielder moving forward before he fields the ball, then continuing to move forward upon release. He was moving forward on his throw, but it certainly wasn't the same as most throws on sac fly type situations, since he'd been previously running away from the bag. I doubt his momentum was the same.

For the record, I did test it out Monday afternoon, and I threw slightly farther when I took the catch and crow hop than if I replicated the footwork here. So 91 here may not be the same as 91 on a typical play to the plate.

   136. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 15, 2018 at 06:04 PM (#5727476)
Most impressive pure throw I've ever seen in person was Rocky Colavito's throw from the low lying RF wall to 3B in YS1. The wall was only about 300' from home at that point, but the throw's arc was like a rope and it was made flatfooted with his back against the wall. Since the runner on second didn't even try to advance, it wouldn't even show up in the box score as an assist, but it was still a thing of beauty. It's not easy to compare legends to modern players without having a comparable supply of videos, but it'd be hard for me to imagine anyone with more powerful arms than Colavito, Mays, or Clemente.
   137. Mefisto Posted: August 15, 2018 at 06:28 PM (#5727482)
After Mays made The Catch, he spun and threw to second base. I pulled up some videos, but can't see where the 2B was when he received the throw. Jolly (or anybody), do you know the answer? I ask because Mays had to be 450' from home at the time and, of course, 2B is 120 feet closer. It's amazing arm strength even if the 3B was 50' on the OF grass.
   138. cardsfanboy Posted: August 15, 2018 at 08:48 PM (#5727549)
I ask because Mays had to be 450' from home at the time


Don't most historians list it at 425'?
   139. Mefisto Posted: August 15, 2018 at 08:56 PM (#5727555)
I'm looking at the photo. Mays was just a few feet to the right of the niche where the Eddie Grant monument stood, and on the warning track. The monument was 483'. The niche wasn't more than 30' deep.
   140. cardsfanboy Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:00 PM (#5727557)

I'm looking at the photo. Mays was just a few feet to the right of the niche where the Eddie Grant monument stood, and on the warning track. The monument was 483'. The niche wasn't more than 30' deep.


Okay, but here are what people who have actually studied it said.

The Greatest Play Ever Made | Sept. 29, 1954 | "The Catch"


Wertz worked the count to two balls and a strike before crushing Liddle's fourth pitch approximately 420 feet to deep center field. In many stadiums the hit would have been a home run and given the Indians a 5-2 lead. However, this was the spacious Polo Grounds, and Giants center fielder Willie Mays,


Wikipedia(which I'm sure is referenced)

Wertz worked the count to two balls and one strike before hitting Liddle's fourth pitch approximately 420 feet to deep center field. In many stadiums the ball would have been a home run, which would have given the Indians a 5–2 lead.
   141. cardsfanboy Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:01 PM (#5727559)
I've never, ever seen anyone reference it as 450', it's almost always been 420'.
(except when romanticized)
   142. Mefisto Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:36 PM (#5727577)
Well, they're better judges than I am, I'm sure. I'd still like to know where Davey Williams was when he caught the ball. The graphic from BTBS looks like about 30', but that's hardly definitive.
   143. Mefisto Posted: August 15, 2018 at 10:24 PM (#5727595)
Ok, I checked some sites on the dimensions at the Polo Grounds, and it sure looks to me as if Mays' made the catch about 450'. Some examples: http://www.ballparks.com/baseball/national/pologr.htm http://www.andrewclem.com/Baseball/PoloGrounds.html The Wikipedia article says Right Center was 449', consistent with the other 2, and includes a good picture of Mays and his position relative to dead center (complete with sign showing 483').
   144. cardsfanboy Posted: August 15, 2018 at 10:45 PM (#5727605)
how in the hell did you come up with 450? he was short of the fence which was at most 440' away, he short of the warning track which was 430 feet away....

From the wikipedia article on the stadium.

Contrasting with the short distances down the lines were the 450 distances in deepest left and right center (the gaps), with the base of the straightaway centerfield clubhouse standing 483 feet distant from home plate, up a 58-foot fairway from the grandstand corners on either side of the clubhouse, which were themselves 425 feet from home plate. The famous photo of The catch made by Willie Mays in the 1954 World Series against Vic Wertz of the Cleveland Indians occurred immediately in front of the "batter's eye", a metal screen atop the grandstand wall directly to the right of the centerfield fairway. Consequently, the ball travelled less than 425 feet (probably about 410–415 feet), admittedly a prodigious smash, but far less than the legendary length many assume. It would have been a home run in several other ballparks of the time as well as in most of today's modern ballparks. The bullpens were actually in play, in the left and right center field gaps.[13] The outfield sloped downward from the infield, and people in the dugouts often could only see the top half of the outfielders.



(imagine a protractor at 440 in those corners and rotating it around the stadium, the fact that the fence from corner to corner was a straight line, means that the part where you are looking at where willie caught the ball is less than the 447 that you see farther to the right of the dimensions of the stadium)
   145. Mefisto Posted: August 16, 2018 at 08:47 AM (#5727684)
He was on the warning track when he threw the ball. You can see it clearly here.
   146. McCoy Posted: August 16, 2018 at 09:42 AM (#5727721)
Certainly but the wall the behind the warning track was not 450 feet away.
   147. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 16, 2018 at 10:21 AM (#5727747)

(imagine a protractor at 440 in those corners and rotating it around the stadium, the fact that the fence from corner to corner was a straight line, means that the part where you are looking at where willie caught the ball is less than the 447 that you see farther to the right of the dimensions of the stadium)

Yes, if Right Center was 449', then the fence immediately to the left or right of the fairway is shorter (425' apparently).
   148. Mefisto Posted: August 16, 2018 at 11:27 AM (#5727849)
Yes, the wall was not at 450'. I agree with that, though unfortunately nobody seems to give the exact distance to the point of the wall where Mays caught the ball. cardsfanboy suggests 440 (#144), assuming the warning track was 10' wide (I don't know). Since the sources referenced in previous comments suggest that Mays caught the ball at 420' (#140), and he was certainly not at the fence for the catch, I'd say the fence was probably at 430'. Mays was entirely on the warning track when he made the throw, so I'd say the throw was from 425'.

I was just trying to get a good sense of how far the throw traveled. It seems pretty impressive given that he basically just spun and threw, but there seems to be no way to know where the 2B was standing. A reasonable guess might be that the throw went 275 or so.
   149. cardsfanboy Posted: August 16, 2018 at 06:56 PM (#5728337)
I'd say the fence was probably at 430'.


Most references I've seen have put it between 425 and 430(since I started to look for it as part of this discussion) But most quotes seem to give it a 420' catch which if the warning track is only 5' then it seems very likely that the wall was somewhere between 425-430' away. The 420 foot estimate I've never doubted, that seems very reasonable to me based upon the distance he ran and the time it took to get there.

I was just trying to get a good sense of how far the throw traveled. It seems pretty impressive given that he basically just spun and threw, but there seems to be no way to know where the 2B was standing. A reasonable guess might be that the throw went 275 or so.


I'm not able to find any footage of where the throw landed, that is kinda sad. They show the throw and the camera starts to pull the focus back so you would be able to see the throw, and then it cuts to the runner going to third. And apparently they didn't save any of the original footage where the camera panned back.
   150. cardsfanboy Posted: August 16, 2018 at 07:10 PM (#5728365)
I think it might be interesting to see what a pure "catcher" would do if he was put in a situation where he was in the outfield and had to make a throw. The best pitchers in baseball have the strongest arms, there is very little doubt about that, that is why Ankiel was able to convert to outfield and immediately have probably the strongest arm in the game for a time. But Catchers have a combo of arm strength that is only surpassed by the pitchers, and training on how to get the most out of that in the quickest amount of time, combined with a lot more repetitions on low arc accurate throws, and I can see a situation where someone like a peak Benito Santiago, Johnny Bench or Molina would have a great time when catching a deep fly ball that they can position themselves correctly.

I was too young to remember Johnny Bench in the outfield, but he only got 3 assists in 111 games so maybe it didn't translate well for him or just the fact that he wasn't really that good out there might have been the real problem.
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