I’m slowly beginning to think that this is the year of the outfielder arm.
Back in April, we witnessed Yasiel Puig make probably the most amazing throw you’ll ever see, and just last week Michael Conforto unleashed a 94 MPH strike from right field only one day before Jason Heyward fired a 99 MPH fastball from center. All three outfielders got an assist with their arm-cannons, but the effect of the throws has been deeper/wider than that.
Is it possible that base runners and third base coaches are paying attention to this trend, testing the arms of outfielders less, accordingly? It’s difficult to say for sure, but Justin Upton sure looked nervous to challenge Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., last night on an otherwise obvious tag up play.
As it turns out, that was the right call:
Jackie Bradley Jr. sets up camp underneath a fly ball, while Upton touches the bag at third with his back foot. And then, somehow, Bradley let’s go of a 101 MPH throw from deep in right center field, that’s ultimately cut off. Upton then trots back to third slowly, with his tail between his legs. Had he gone and the throw was allowed to go through, I’m fairly certain he would have been out by a mile, despite the depth of that ball in center.
101 MPH, Jackie?! For real?