These were the slickest double plays of 2016, starring Javier Baez, Yadier Molina and more
Major League ballplayers regularly do incredible things, but most them are individual efforts: a pitcher breathing fire on the mound, a batter launching a dinger at the plate, an outfielder making a diving catch. When world-class athletes get a chance to combine their efforts, though, the result is guaranteed to be extra jaw-dropping -- and 2016 was no exception.
From the impossibly smooth to the improbably ridiculous, this was a banner year for the high art of the double play. Luckily for you, we've rounded up some of the best for your post-Thanksgiving enjoyment.
Javier Baez is a trickster
Baez can slap down a tag from every conceivable position and also do stuff like this, so it just seems unfair that he's also smarter than everybody else. The Dodgers had men on first and second in the sixth inning of NLCS Game 2, when Baez proceeded to snuff out the rally by himself. Instead of catching Joc Pederson's soft liner for one out, he let it drop and got two.
Your thoughts, Javy:
Starlin turns two while blowing a bubble
You might think that trying to run to second base, lean back, barehand a ball, pivot and throw to first base while Cameron Maybin bears down on you is some fairly stressful activity. Starlin Castro just wants to know what the big deal is:
Why yes, that is a fully blown bubble:
The ol' 1-6-3 off-the-umpire double play
Yes, you read that correctly: 1-6-3, off the umpire. We could describe it to you, but that wouldn't really do it justice:
Yadier Molina does Yadier Molina things
Typically, when Molina turns a double play, it's of the strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out variety. But Molina has tired of hosing baserunners, so he decided to try out this whole "fielding" thing for himself:
One of the craziest turns you'll ever see
Lest you think that's hyperbole, watch West Virginia Black Bears shortstop Stephen Alemais manage to twist his body parallel to the ground and still complete the double play:
Dellin Betances goes between the legs
Betances stands at an imposing 6-foot-8. Which, while it gives him an undeniable advantage on the mound, means he has to reach a long, long way to touch the ground. That made his play to slam the door on a potential Royals rally all the more impressive:
Ender Inciarte busts out the deke
Inciarte is one of the sneakiest outfielders around. If you're not careful, he'll fool your baserunners, and then he'll turn around and steal your home runs. Alas, no one thought to pass this message along to Carlos Ruiz -- he was just minding his own business, trying to properly run the bases, when what he thought might be a base hit turned out to be a cruel joke:
Michael Martinez does his best Francisco Lindor impression
In Lindor, the Indians have their very own human highlight reel at shortstop. But even on those days when Lindor isn't manning the 6 for Cleveland, they've got Michael Martinez -- with a nifty assist from Jason Kipnis -- ready and waiting to do stuff like this: