Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano may only have five major league games under his belt, but it’s hard to imagine how he’ll be able to improve on the chart-topping double play throw he delivered during Saturday’s 7-0 shutout against the Angels.
In the third inning, with two outs and Eric Young Jr. on first base, Justin Upton sent a line drive into center field. Laureano snared the ball and fired a perfect throw to first baseman Mark Canha, who doubled Young off the base and brought the inning to a close.
The brilliance of the play is in the details: According to Statcast, it took Laureano just 4.4 seconds to cover 76 feet and make the initial catch. He returned the ball with a 91.2-MPH, 321-foot laser to Canha; both the pinpoint accuracy of his throw and Young’s 90-foot sprint from second base back to first culminated in the highlight reel-worthy play.
Following the game, Laureano revealed that he hadn’t even considered hitting the cutoff man on the throw — not if he was going to have a chance of beating Young back to the bag.
“It was a crazy play, a crazy moment,” he told reporters. “I was shocked. It’s kind of like I just caught it and I’m like, ‘Damn, I’m the only one that has a shot I guess,’ so I just threw it.”
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.