One more WBC-Javy-Baez highlight to share with you. Like you could possibly get enough, right?
Although Baez’s defensive, tagging, baserunning, and bat speed prowess is well known and well discussed, there’s even more to his game that deserves special mention – and thankfully, he showed it off last night. The dude’s got a great arm.
On a ball hit to the wall in left center by Netherlands’ Shawn Zarraga, it looked like Jonathan Schoop should be able to score from first base easily, given that there were two outs and the ball was far, far away from the outfielders.
But left fielder Angel Pagan played the ball perfectly off the wall, got the ball quickly to Javy Baez, who wheeled and fired to the plate (also quickly and perfectly), and Yadier Molina executed a brilliant tag:
That’s one of those plays where the defense should never, ever be able to record an out. The extent to which everything had to be perfect – and then Schoop had to flop a terrible slide – makes it nearly impossible to pull off. But these guys did it, and it was in no small part thanks to the arm of Javy Baez.
Here’s a Statcast video on his throw, specifically:
The near-90 mph throw might not seem like much if you’re thinking in pitching terms, but consider Baez’s body position, and how little he could get his weight behind the throw. As the video notes, only two harder throws by second basemen were tracked all 2016 by Statcast. That is to say, this was a cannon throw.