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Davis' incredible catch earns Play of Week nod

@mattkellyMLB
June 3, 2019

Major League Baseball honored Blue Jays rookie center fielder Jonathan Davis on Monday with the Play of the Week Award presented by W.B. Mason. Davis was selected for his diving catch in center against Rays slugger Avisaíl García in the first inning of last Wednesday’s 4-3, extra-innings win for Tampa

Major League Baseball honored Blue Jays rookie center fielder Jonathan Davis on Monday with the Play of the Week Award presented by W.B. Mason.

Davis was selected for his diving catch in center against Rays slugger Avisaíl García in the first inning of last Wednesday’s 4-3, extra-innings win for Tampa Bay. The Blue Jays held an early 2-0 lead, but the Rays had runners on first and second with two outs against Toronto starter Trent Thornton in the bottom half of the first when Garcia drove a 1-0 fastball a projected 400 feet to the warning track in left-center. Garcia struck the pitch with a 98.8-mph exit velocity and a 26-degree launch angle, per Statcast, giving him an expected batting average of .520 based on similar batted balls tracked in the past.

But Davis made sure Garcia’s potential bases-clearing double became an out. The rookie raced backward and to his right while reaching a top sprint speed of 28.3 feet per second -- faster than the 27 feet per second average for Major Leaguers -- and covered 105 feet in a span of 5.3 seconds. Statcast gave Davis just a 35 percent catch probability based on that opportunity time and distance, but Davis was able to beat the odds before laying out for a full-extension Superman-like dive and glove the ball before crashing to the ground. Davis and his Blue Jays teammates were fired up by his superb effort on the play.

Davis is a perfect 3-for-3 in converting 4-star play opportunities, which encompass catch probabilities ranging from 26-50 percent. His 28.2 feet per second average sprint speed ranks third-fastest among qualified Blue Jays players this year.

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.