105.7! Doyle's throw fastest in Statcast era

Rockies center fielder also matches season’s quickest outfield assist in win

September 3rd, 2023

DENVER --  couldn’t get over it.

All throughout the Rockies’ clubhouse after they held on for an 8-7 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday night at Coors Field, Jones could be heard yelling the same number over and over again: “105.7!”

As in, 105.7 mph. Jones, who has the best average arm strength in baseball per Statcast (98.7 mph), couldn’t contain his excitement. He quickly found his fellow rookie outfielder and “Colorado Cannon,” .

“A hundred and five point seven,” Jones told him. “It was a hundred and five point seven!”

Doyle flashed a smile. But that smile would be hard-pressed to spread across his face faster than the speed of his throw to home plate in the ninth inning.

With the Rockies clinging to an 8-6 lead and a runner on third base with none out, Blue Jays slugger Vladmir Guerrero Jr. lined a ball to center field. Doyle’s starting depth on the play, according to Statcast, was 338 feet.

Doyle moved in 47 feet to make the play, and then he unleashed the fastest throw Statcast has recorded by an outfielder since it began tracking in 2015.

Jones, still stunned in the postgame clubhouse, moved on to other teammates to share the news that there was a new Statcast Arm Strength king. Doyle’s rope eclipsed a 105.5 mph throw by the Yankees’ Aaron Hicks in April 2016.

“When we outfielders met in center field during the pitching change, I was like, ‘That was probably the best throw I’ve made all year,’” Doyle said. “Too bad the guy didn’t run.”

The guy -- Davis Schneider -- thought better of testing Doyle. It was a good decision, but that’s the trouble for outfielders who have tremendous throwing arms: many times, you don’t get to see your work result in an out because of the devastating deterrent attached to your shoulder.

Doyle’s missile in the ninth inning wasn’t his only jaw-dropping throw of the game. In the first inning, he threw a 100.9 mph laser to third base to get Daulton Varsho. It was tied for the fastest outfield assist of the season, and it set a Rockies record for fastest throw on an outfield assist under Statcast. The previous mark was 100.4 mph -- set by Doyle four days earlier.

But it was the ninth-inning throw that was literally off the charts.

“I had really good momentum behind the throw,” Doyle said. “I had the perfect four-seam grip. … I knew it was one of the hardest. I didn’t expect it to be almost 106.”

Doyle has often been a defensive hero this season. He also extended his franchise record of consecutive games without an error to 96. But his performance at the plate has left a lot to be desired. Doyle entered Saturday slashing .186/.240/.309 with a 37 percent strikeout rate.

In each of his first two plate appearances on Saturday -- once with the bases loaded in the second inning, and then again with runners at first and second in the fourth -- Doyle struck out.

The 25-year-old Doyle is eventually going to have to hit some to be an everyday player in the big leagues. With an arm like Doyle’s and his ability to play the notoriously difficult center field at Coors Field with aplomb, you need him out there every day if you’re the Rockies.

So it was satisfying for manager Bud Black to see what Doyle did in the fifth. With Colorado down, 5-4, with the bases loaded and two outs, Doyle drove a 98 mph fastball from Blue Jays reliever Yimi García off the top of the wall in right field for a bases-clearing triple.

“That was a confidence-builder for sure,” Black said. “ … We think he’s an everyday center fielder. It’s hard to hit in the big leagues. He’s got some adjustments to make this offseason … but he’s a really good outfielder, and you like that in our park.”

As the Rockies continue to look to the future, hoping to develop a young core for the next competitive window, there will be growing pains. But there are also some games like Saturday, in which you can see what that future might look like.

For Jones, the future is much more immediate. And he already has a demand for Doyle.

“I wanna see 106 tomorrow,” he said.