Latest Anti-Rockie Outrage – A very good homer saving catch is the defensive “play of the year”?

In case you haven’t seen it, MLB Network has now told us what the defensive play of the year is, and even used their new toy “StatCast” to prove it. But, no it is not the one you are thinking of.  It’s this one.

Let me be clear, that is a very good catch, with a very good athletic play.  I have watched Pillar’s catches on highlights, and I don’t even know if it is HIS best catch – the one leaping and going INTO the wall was better.  Pillar is one heck of a defensive player, though I should point out we have a lot of great defensive outfielders in the game right now, which probably explains why he hasn’t won a Gold Glove.  I am trying to remember, are there any other 3B who have won the GG in their first two years? Hmmm.   Anyways. note that Pillar gets so high by using the fence to help him get higher and as it were stay there. Yes, it is a very good catch, but we really do see these all the time, every season. I am not sure it even is the best of those type of plays. I still prefer the one made by Pirates Brian Giles (back about a decade ago) and Travis Snider (not know for his great defense) in 2012.

Here is Snider’s

Here is Giles’s

We have actually seen a lot of these over the years. I still love the one by Gary Matthew’s Jr. from what seems like yesterday but was in fact 2006 (my 9 year old daughter was born that year, so I know it wasn’t yesterday):

 

Matthews did it right, parlaying that catch and his career year at the bat into a big fat contract that…was a total bust.

Anyways, did Pillar go over his head?  Did he have to face any wind (Pillar’s is in the dome)?  Did he have to face an object of unknown origin (the tarp vs. fence which every outfielder worth his salt figures out the issues with as soon as he gets into a new stadium)?  Did he risk life and limb? Did he go into the stands?  Did he have the baseball IQ to try and nail a tagging-up runner?

Here is a reminder of just how amazing that catch was (and pivotal in the game’s outcome, as is a homer). Hello MLB, Statcast this:

 

Look I get it, you guys don’t know the Mountain Time Zone exists (Except to fly in for a nice skiing vacation at Vail). I know that the Rockies are not on anyone’s radar. But this was against the defending World Series champs!  Give the man some love!  A number of other experts and such have put it in the 5 or so top catches in televised baseball history.

 

MLB Network, wake-up! You have some genuine superstars playing great ball out here in the Mountain Time Zone (see earlier post about forgetting Tulo-to-DJ double-play comb). No they aren’t wearing Mets, Yanks, or Red Sox jerseys (or even the Cubs or Dodgers), but if you want to make this game more popular to more people, give some love to guys who do this.  But which 3B is all they can talk about the past two months is a very good prospect in Chicago who has yet to take a single Major League AB?  Oh right, he is a Cub, so that matters.

Defensive play of the year? Really?  Time to remove mlb network from my channel list….

**** UPDATE ***** For some reason I got the clip of another Snider catch, now updated with homerun stealing catch. Looks even better now that I watch it again and might be better than Giles…and better IMHO that Pillar.

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rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
5 years ago

I saw the same “analysis” as you did on MLBN. Disgusting. I agree that Pillar’s catch is a typical one; anybody can time their jump and reach for the ball. Degree of difficulty on the Pillar catch is a 5 compared to NoDo’s degree of difficulty rating of 10. Running at full speed in an unfamiliar park, over the bullpen mound, into the tarp roll, flipping, doing gymnastic tumbling action, and making accurate throw to third base.

sabrchip
sabrchip
5 years ago

Gotta agree with you guys. Any guy who’s racing away from homeplate like NoDo, Jim Edmonds, Say Hey Kid…that’s a catch. Even Jeter’s who everyone compares the current catch to was moving laterally. Just like Pillar. Okay Pillar saved runs from scoring, I get that but its easier to look over your left shoulder to track it down than to race to a spot with so many obstacles coming at your from in front while your tracking a ball’s flight… Read more »

sabrchip
sabrchip
5 years ago

But…(I can’t help myself)…we should just continue to ignore the east coast bias. I haven’t read a Sports Illustrated in years…maybe just a couple articles in the Drs offices. Once the Sporting News went to an all sports format I gave up on them too.

Only thing that matters is where we finish at the end of the year.

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

If NoDo gets the runner at 3rd it’s a historically great play.

jaredean
Admin
jaredean
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

Yeah, that would have been on par with Jeter cutting off the throw from right field to flip it home andget the runner in the 2001 ALDS against the A’ – one of my favorite plays ever. Not difficult but VERY high baseball IQ…

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
5 years ago
Reply to  jaredean

That compares with Mark Buerhle’s picking up the bunt with his glove and throwing it between legs with his back to first base.

Or Brandon Barnes’ Swan Dive (my personal name) catch in RF last year, that easily beats Pillar’s in head to head competition.

Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago

Hah! Good one Dr. C. I had to look myself — agreed, no Arenado type gems in there. I guess because everyone was doubting whether Bryant’s glove was good enough to stick at 3B Cubs fans are seeing fielding greatness in fielding o.k.-ness.

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