Is this the craziest double play ever? Maybe!

April 22nd, 2019

OAKLAND -- A's center fielder has added to his superb defensive reputation with a handful of astonishing plays this season, but Sunday's tops them all.

With a runner on first and one out in the second inning of the A's series finale with the Blue Jays -- an eventual 5-4 loss -- Teoscar Hernandez hit a rocket off Brett Anderson to center. Laureano raced back to the wall and leaped to pull back what would have been a no-doubt home run, and a 2-0 lead for Toronto.

Laureano had the presence of mind to immediately throw back to first in an attempt to double off Justin Smoak, but the ball sailed well past the bag. That's when catcher Nick Hundley, backing up in foul territory, corralled the ball and threw to shortstop Marcus Semien, who tagged out Smoak for the second out.

Even Anderson, who is usually stoic and even-keeled on the mound regardless of the situation, let out a roar with a fist pump as he watched Laureano make the incredible catch while standing near the A’s dugout.

“I try to not show emotion, but that one kind of got the best of me,” Anderson said. “The robbed homer and the tag, the whole ordeal was pretty crazy. He’s definitely special out there.”

It was yet another addition to the impressive defensive highlight reel Laureano seems to be putting together early in the season. Like the rest of his phenomenal plays, Laureano said there wasn’t much thinking involved on the play. It was all reaction.

“It was in the air and what I remember was that the wind was kind of helping it stay in play,” Laureano said. “I saw the wall and I just jumped.”

Laureano airmailed his throw to Kendrys Morales at first, but he’s probably the only player in Major League Baseball with enough arm strength to even do that from his position out in deep center field.

Perhaps adrenaline had a little to do with that.

“I was really pumped up, so it didn’t go in the right direction,” Laureano said. “I throw without thinking. That happens sometimes.”

Every aspect of the play was insane. So what was the most impressive part about it? For A’s manager Bob Melvin, that was easy to answer.

“The catch, because he overthrew everybody,” Melvin said. “He almost threw it into the stands. Hundley did a great job backing up that play and it ended up being a nice off-balance throw by him. The only thing that surprised me was that [Laureano] didn’t throw that ball directly to first base.”

The only play Anderson could recall being made for him while on the mound that was similar came in the 2012 playoffs, when Coco Crisp robbed Prince Fielder of extra bases with a leaping catch at the center-field wall of the Oakland Coliseum.

Laureano has made some great plays, but even he had a hard time coming up with one that topped this.

“Maybe when I was a kid,” Laureano said. “I don’t remember.”