Despite being just two weeks old, the 2015 season has already offered a fair share of catch-of-the-year candidates, with one of the latest coming from Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar.
Pillar entered his name into that discussion Wednesday, when he scaled the left-field wall at Rogers Centre to take a potential home run away from Rays second baseman Tim Beckham. While anyone could immediately tell that Pillar had made an incredible catch, Statcast can show us more specifically what made it so sensational.
Statcast, the innovative player-tracking technology that will be making its 2015 television debut during Tuesday's MLB Network Showcase game between the Cardinals and Nationals, captured the metrics behind Pillar's homer-robbing grab.
Statcast: Glossary of terms
Thanks to Statcast, everyone can now know that Pillar logged a near-perfect route efficiency of 97.9 percent. The route efficiency metric tracks a player's route to the ball, with a 100 percent route efficiency indicating that the player took an absolutely perfect route from his first step to where he ultimately made the catch.
While Pillar's efficiency in tracking down the baseball was the key to even giving him a chance to make the play, Statcast also shows that he covered an incredible distance of 81.3 feet on the play. He reached a top speed of 15.2 mph on the play, though that number is likely a bit on the lower side due to the fact that he needed to spend the latter part of his dash sizing up the wall and timing his leap.
While nobody needed these revolutionary metrics in order to be in awe of Pillar's ability to reach over the wall in left field, Statcast is able to show everyone why Pillar was able to even be in a position to make that play.
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.