ANAHEIM -- Such pristineness in one play could perhaps not even be perfected in practice, yet Ramon Laureano made it all look so easy in game action on Saturday evening.The A's rookie center fielder thrilled with an extraordinary catch. Then he outdid himself with the throw. Goodness, the throw. His
ANAHEIM -- Such pristineness in one play could perhaps not even be perfected in practice, yet Ramon Laureano made it all look so easy in game action on Saturday evening.
The A's rookie center fielder thrilled with an extraordinary catch. Then he outdid himself with the throw. Goodness, the throw. His teammates couldn't peel their eyes from the highlights postgame.
"About as good as it gets," A's manager Bob Melvin said after the A's 7-0 win over the Angels.
Laureano's inning-ending double play to cap the third was simply sensational. Some hadn't seen anything like it.
Facing catchability odds of 46 percent on a Justin Upton fly ball to left-center, Laureano raced 76 feet in 4.4 seconds to run it down, then turned and fired it from the warning track to first baseman Mark Canha to double up Eric Young, who was rounding second when the ball was caught.
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"The catch, I know I've made it before, but the throw is pretty crazy," Laureano said. "I don't even know what to say. It was a crazy play, a crazy moment. 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."
The ball's jaw-dropping journey generated a predictably raucous scene in the A's dugout. Starter Edwin Jackson, stunned, tipped his cap, his hands frozen in the air.
"I knew he had it in him, but plays like that, if they don't get you fired up," Jackson said, "then I don't know what does as a pitcher."
"That's the best throw I've ever seen, at least the farthest throw I've ever seen on the line," A's shortstop Marcus Semien said. "I was ready to be the cutoff man, and he probably didn't even see me."
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The throw, per Statcast™, was clocked at 91.2 mph, traveling 321 feet and inducing awe with its accuracy. To put 321 feet in perspective, consider this: There are numerous outfield fences in the Majors -- such as the Crawford Boxes in Houston or Pesky's Pole in Boston -- that are less than 321 feet from home plate, meaning the throw went as far as plenty of Major League home runs. Or, perhaps more simply, 321 feet is greater than the distance from goal line to goal line (300 feet/100 yards) on a football field.
"First of all, he goes so far to get it, and you're thinking to yourself, 'You know what? Just hit one of the three cutoff men,'" Melvin said. "And he didn't need any of them. When he originally threw it, you're like, 'No,' and then the next thing you know it hits Canha in the glove chest-high."
"I saw them, and I'm like, 'You know what, I'm just going to throw it,' Laureano said. "I should've hit my cutoff man."
From there, Melvin said, he was transported to June 10, 2014. The backdrop was the same, and the main character, Yoenis Cespedes, recovered from a booted ball in the left-field corner to nab Howie Kendrick at home plate with an eye-popping throw that, years later, is routinely found in highlight reels.
"And I'm guessing that was a farther throw today," Melvin said, "so pretty spectacular all the way around. There was disbelief for a minute, and then obviously guys were fired up, but I think everyone had their mouth open for a couple of seconds. You just don't see that play."
"That's probably one of the more impressive things I've seen in baseball," A's left fielder Chad Pinder said. "He went 80 feet and to do that, have his back turned to the field, not knowing what's going on, to turn around and put it on the money is next level."
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.