Last Night's Highlights: The Thrifty Third Basemen

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Last Night’s Highlights: The Thrifty Third Basemen

Baseball Is Fun

Today’s edition of Last Night’s Highlights has a theme: nifty plays from the hot corner.

There were a number of excellent defensive maneuvers from third basemen last night, most of which feature unbelievable throws. The throw from third is something we probably take for granted too often, but really, it’s no walk in the park.

The players/plays below are the reason we forget.

1. The first highlight below features what is probably the strongest throw of the lot. In the top of the fifth inning, Stephen Piscotty hits a hard grounder down the third baseline that takes the Reds’ Eugenio Suarez out into foul territory. Suarez gloves it and fires a perfect throw to Joey Votto at first, just barely beating the runner. Suarez hasn’t been a notably awesome defensive third baseman this season, but he holds his own here. I still can’t believe how perfect of a throw this is:

2. On the flip side, Nolan Arenado is one of the best defensive – and, really, offensive – third baseman in the leauge and last night he showed us why. On almost the exact same play as above, Arenado ranges far to his right, into foul territory, gloves a slow roller, and tosses it over to first in time to beat the runner. The throw might not have been as strong as Suarez’s, but it does a better job of displaying just how far of a toss it really is. According to the advanced defensive metrics, Arenado is the second best defensive third baseman overall, but he has saved the most runs (15 DRS) in all of baseball (by 4 runs over the man in second place!).

3. I feel like we’re quickly going to become numb to the difficulty in the following play today, after watching three fairly similar ones in a row, but it just isn’t as easy as these pros make it look (and this one has a twist). Yesterday, Astros 22-year-old rookie Alex Bregman gets a similar jump on a ball that looks to be a regular grounder down the third baseline, but at the last minute the ball pops up back across his body, forcing Bregman to adjust. He does, gloves the ball, and fires a rocket over to first base. It’s just excellent execution of an otherwise difficult play.

3.5. Lastly, one of the best defensive plays from a third baseman yesterday, came from Javy Baez on the Chicago Cubs. Baez barehands a slow roller in the top of the ninth inning for the first out, with the Cubs up just one run. The play isn’t yet embeddable, however, which is why this is just a halfer: watch/read about it here, or check it out in tweet form, below:

Oh, and also from Last Night:

What you may have missed:

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami