Amazing catches are made in the outfield every single day. For the most part, these catches are made by the very best defensive outfielders – the elite, gold glove calibre types – but many are made by your everyday, “stick him in a corner” outfielder, too. That may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true.
Sometimes those “bad” outfielders aren’t quite capable of reaching the fly balls/line drives (while remaining on their feet) that faster, more responsive outfielders probably could have. The result is a seemingly impressive diving play that another, more capable outfielder would have made to look boring.
But then, there are other types of plays. Plays you wouldn’t expect even the best outfielder to make. Plays that feature balls so deep in a gap, so far away from defenders, that no outfielder in their right mind would even attempt to make.
Yesterday, Billy Hamilton made one of those plays:
As we said on Twitter: Hamilton has absolutely no business making that catch. It should have simply been too far away. Check it out again as a gif, and be amazed, loop after loop:
My lord. In no universe should this be a catchable ball. But Billy Hamilton. pic.twitter.com/kzpGIbQIWX
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) August 24, 2016
Statcast has him taking his first step before the hit even happened, running at an astounding 22 MPH, covering an enormous 123 feet all before completing a full-extension diving grab. We tend to focus on the “catch,” itself, in determining the impressiveness of a play, but sometimes what comes before it is even more important. Last night, Billy Hamilton reminded us why.
What an unbelievable catch.