It’s only April 15th, but we may already have the winner of Catch of the Year. Check out the extension Phillies center fielder Ben Revere gets on this robbery Cincinnati Reds Todd Frazier.
Jay Bruce thought there was absolutely no chance Revere could make that play and is easily doubled off at first base. This isn’t the first time Revere has had a catch of the year nominee, let’s flash back to 2011.
Revere is simply amazing.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
2012 didn’t work out the way the Philadelphia Phillies expected. The pitching is still strong with the big three of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels in the rotation, but it was time to reconfigure a lineup that was middle of the pack offensively. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are back for Opening Day 2013, however Carlos Ruiz is suspended for the first 25 games of the season. The entire 2012 Opening Day outfield of Juan Pierre, Shane Victorino, and Hunter Pence are gone. The Phillies also said goodbye to near-.300 career hitter Placido Polanco at the hot corner. With the free agent pool looking slim, it was up to trades to upgrade the offense for next season.
Phillies acquire CF Ben Revere
Twins acquire RHP Vance Worley and RHP prospect Trevor May
Phillies acquire 3B Michael Young
Rangers acquire RHP Josh Lindblom and RHP prospect Lisalverto Bonilla
It is going to be weird to see Michael Young wearing anything but a Texas Rangers uniform. No one has played more games in their career for the Rangers than Young. With the emergence of Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, the studliness of Adrian Beltre, and super-prospect Jurickson Profar waiting in the wings, it was time for the Texas’ clubhouse leader to look to greener pastures for a full-time role. Young last season hit .277 (his worst since 2002), but is still just one season removed from leading the American League in hits and batting .338. Philadelphia will be pleased if they get something the middle, plus Young’s great clubhouse leadership.
Revere is a vital cog for the new-look Phillies outfield and is the second centerfielder that the Twins have traded for pitching in a week. Revere was known more for his speed and defense in his rookie season, but evolved into a better hitter in 2012 (hitting .294). Revere will now be the Phillies table setter atop the lineup and does well in not striking out, with only 100 in 989 career at-bats. That should only get better as the 24-year-old continues to grow and enters his prime. Revere was also one of only six players with 40 or more stolen bases last season.
The Twins have been looking for pitching. A lot of it. Minnesota only has Scott Diamond set for a rotation and Worley will factor into the mix if not be assured a spot of his own. May had a rough 2012 in the minors, but was one of the top Phillies pitching prospects prior to that.
Lindblom will factor into the bullpen needs for the Rangers. More importantly though, it sheds $10 million off their payroll in an attempt to bring back Josh Hamilton.
-Bryan Mapes ( @IAmMapes)
Chicks may dig the long ball, but it’s fielding that makes for the most exciting highlights in the game of baseball. What have been the best displays of defensive excellence this season? Let’s see if I can only limit Mike Trout to one play.
Let’s start it off with Mike Trout with what I believe is the best play of the year. Look at the leap. Look at the extension. I don’t think there is anyone else that makes this play in the Majors. Trout has taken away five home runs this season, but this one was the best.
Trout’s catch was given a run for it’s money though by Blue Jays Rajai Davis. He uses the wall to catapult himself up over a 10-foot wall to rob Casey McGahee. This one is a thing of beauty.
This is one of the top infield plays of the season by Diamondbacks do-it-all man Willie Bloomquist. He ranges to the other side of 2nd base and flips the ball backward almost in a somersault position to Aaron Hill for the force out. Bonus points for getting out Emilio Bonifacio, one of the fastest players in MLB.
Speaking of somersaults, here’s Twins Ben Revere making a great catch in the 9th inning and rolling into a somersault. Revere is one of the best in the league at spectacular plays.
I’m impartial to this play because I was at the MLB Fan Cave when it happened. Tigers Quintin Berry gets turned around, goes back and make a leaping catch over his head. I’m still not sure how he got to it. It was a huge save for the Tigers as they kept the lead at one and took the lead in the 9th inning. Without this catch, they lose.
Who has the best right field arm? My answer has been Jeff Francouer since he was an Atlanta Brave. Look at that laser rocket arm throwing out Alexei Ramirez.
Why has Brandon Phillips won two straight Gold Gloves at second base? Plays like this are part of the reason. He makes a behind-the-back flip look easy.
I promised my fellow podcast host Jeremy Dorn that I would get a Dodgers play into this. Check out Justin Sellers going full sprint over the shoulder and going head first into the stands. If you can get Vin Scully to go “Whoa!” and “Gee whiz!” that works for me.
A late addition to this blog. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pitcher almost end up on the dirt to make a play in no-man’s land going the wrong way like J.P. Howell.
The hands-down Minor League play of the year. Jason Repko robs a grand slam from Kosuke Fukudome for the Pawtucket Red Sox. He even tumbles OVER the wall to complete the play.
Bottom of the 12th, up by one with runners on 1st and 2nd, Roger Bernadina saves the day as he becomes one with Minute Maid Park to win the game for the Nationals.
I’ll close with a double-dip of amazing Giants plays. The first was an amazing, diving catch for Gregor Blanco. This catch was the most important on this list as it preserved Matt Cain’s perfect game. The second is the kookiest play of this list as Pablo Sandoval bobbles a catch in foul territory, dives, tips it up and is caught by a diving Brandon Crawford.
Everyone goes with a top ten list, but I love defense so much that I went with a top thirteen! I can’t resist the urge though, here’s another Mike Trout home run robbery! This one to end the game off the bat of Prince Fielder.
Did I miss anything? What’s your favorite play of the year? Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)