Statcast: Kiermaier, Butler cover lot of OF ground
By Paul Casella
One of the game's best defensive outfielders -- and thus, a frequent subject of Statcast™ -- was at it again on a highlight-filled Monday night.
Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier's latest gem came when he robbed a home run just shortly after the first pitch against the Orioles. As the night went on, one of his own teammates added an impressive catch, while some of the top plays elsewhere included a strong throw to complete a double play, a runner scoring all the way from second on an infield single and another towering home run from one of the game's top rookies.
Here's an in-depth look at each of those plays, courtesy of Statcast™.
Kiermaier adds to personal highlight reel
It took Kiermaier only one batter on Monday night to add to his league-leading Defensive Runs Saved total. Kiermaier, whose 33 DRS entering play on Monday were 14 more than any other outfielder, robbed leadoff hitter Manny Machado of a home run with a leaping catch at the wall. Though Kiermaier's first step was a bit slower than usual at 0.7 seconds after contact, he logged a route efficiency of 95.1 percent and covered 62.9 feet of ground to put himself in position to make the catch.
As if the first-inning thievery wasn't enough, Kiermaier actually logged a better route efficiency (97.6 percent) and first step time (0.284 seconds) in tracking down Caleb Joseph's line drive just one inning later. The superb routes are certainly nothing new for Kiermaier, who entered the night tied for having the second-most catches with a route efficiency of 95 percent or higher. Kiermaier had recorded 102 such catches prior to Monday, tied with Angels star Mike Trout and just two behind Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon.
Butler makes long running catch
Though overshadowed by his teammate's home run-saving catch to begin the inning, fellow Rays outfielder Joey Butler made a dazzling catch of his own to end that same first inning. Butler covered a whopping 111.3 feet to track down Chris Davis' long fly ball into the left-field corner, all while reaching a top speed of 19.2 mph and logging a prolific route efficiency of 98.8 percent.
Bradley cuts down runner at the plate
Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. showcased his strong arm yet again on Monday, throwing out a runner at home to complete a fourth-inning double play -- a play that proved to be crucial in the eventual one-run victory. With the bases loaded and only one out in a 2-2 game at the time, Bradley caught a Jacoby Ellsbury line drive then rifled a 92-mph throw to the plate -- a distance of 246.1 feet -- to nail Yankees rookie Greg Bird.
Bradley entered the night averaging a league-best 89.49 mph on all throws above 70 mph (minimum five such throws). The 70-mph minimum is used to avoid including inconsequential lobs back to the infield.
Giants score two on Byrd's infield single
National League Rookie of the Year Award candidate Matt Duffy flashed his speed, not to mention superb baserunning instincts, in scoring all the way from second base on a third-inning infield single against the Dodgers. Standing at second with the bases loaded and two out, Duffy took a 10.7-foot lead then extended it to a 22.6-foot secondary lead before teammate Marlon Byrd hit a roller toward second base.
Though Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley made a sliding effort to keep the ball in the infield, Duffy never slowed down as he approached third base, eventually reaching a top speed of 19.7 mph on the play. He needed only 6.787 seconds to go from second to home, including just 3.359 seconds to get from third to the plate.
Correa adds to his home run total
Astros rookie Carlos Correa connected for another home run on Monday, crushing a two-run shot to left-center in the fifth inning of Houston's 8-3 victory. Correa managed to turn around an 89-mph fastball from Vidal Nuno at a 105.2-mph clip, sending it a projected 395.9 feet.
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.