Some fun from the AAA Iowa game, as one of the more unlikely suspects hit an inside-the-park homer in the team’s game yesterday.
Catcher Taylor Davis has been a consistently solid hitter over the past few years in the upper minors, though he is not necessarily someone you’d expect to be a burner on the bases. So, then, when I heard that he’d hit an inside-the-park job, I figured it had to be one of those where something crazy happens.
Sure enough, Davis poked what you’d expect to be a double into the right field corner, but the opposing outfielder crashed into the wall, and Davis was off to the races:
Hopefully the right fielder there is ultimately all right, but there are two lessons in the play for younger players.
First, for batters, get going out of the box, even if it looks to be a double or a catch off of the bat. You never know when you might be able to stretch a ball like that into a triple, or more if something crazy happens. I’m not one to say that it’s a good idea for hitters to bust it like a mad man on every routine grounder (believe it or not, selective hustle – when applied correctly – can yield good results and also protect against injury). But I will say that there should always be at least some baseline level of get-up-and-go, especially on balls hit deep into the outfield.
Second, the lesson for outfielders actually goes to the center fielder. Did you notice that he didn’t move on that ball? Sure, it was hit far away from him and it was clearly going to be the right fielder’s play all the way. But the only way Davis scores on that as easily as he did is because the center fielder wasn’t even moving in the direction of the play at all off the bat. He just stood there. Had he been jogging over toward right, when the ball kicked over, he easily would have been able to limit Davis to a triple, or maybe even a double.
Again, I’m not saying a player should kill himself on every play that’s far away from himself, but some baseline level of get-up-and-go should always be present.