SAN DIEGO -- Against most outfielders, Kyle Schwarber's second-inning fly ball would've easily plated Addison Russell and given the Cubs an early three-run lead over the Padres on Monday. Hunter Renfroe is not most outfielders.The rookie right fielder uncorked a 101.6-mph missile to the plate, the fastest throw from the
SAN DIEGO -- Against most outfielders, Kyle Schwarber's second-inning fly ball would've easily plated Addison Russell and given the Cubs an early three-run lead over the Padres on Monday. Hunter Renfroe is not most outfielders.
The rookie right fielder uncorked a 101.6-mph missile to the plate, the fastest throw from the outfield this season according to Statcast™ -- eclipsing White Sox outfielder Willy Garcia, who hit 101.2 last month.
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Russell, fully aware of Renfroe's other-worldly arm strength, stayed put. The Padres would escape the inning unscathed and ultimately rally for a 5-2 victory.
"It definitely helps when guys don't try to push for extra bases," said Renfroe, who is tied for the Major League lead with five assists this year. "It's good to not be tested sometimes."
The book is out on Renfroe: He's got a cannon, and the rest of the baseball world knows it. Perhaps more importantly, he's honed his powerful arm with more accuracy of late. His throw Monday was about 10 feet up the line, but his recent successes preceeded him.
It marked the third time this season a Renfroe throw has been clocked at 98 mph or faster -- the most in the Major Leagues. Of the 16 outfield throws to surpass 100 mph in the Statcast™ era, Renfroe has two.
Asked afterward whether Monday's laser was the fastest he's ever thrown a baseball, Renfroe didn't hesitate.
"No, not at all," he replied succinctly. "I've got more."
Renfroe ended up playing the role of hero more for his bat than his arm. He launched a fourth-inning grand slam to give the Padres a lead they would never relinquish. It, too, was a bit of a Statcast™ anomaly.
Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks came inside with a two-seam fastball. Renfroe said he hit the ball as much with the handle of his bat as he did with the barrel.
It left the yard anyway, with a 95.2-mph exit velocity, according to Statcast™. That's the second-lowest exit velo on a Padres home run this season and the fourth lowest on any grand slam in the Major Leagues.
"I was just able to get enough barrel on it to muscle it out," said Renfroe.
Renfroe's power and his arm are undoubtedly his two best tools, and he's put them on full display through two months in the big leagues.
"I've noticed when balls are hit to Hunter, opposing runners do not get aggressive," said Padres first baseman William Myers. "From what I've seen so far, they've been told, 'This guy's got a cannon.'"
Manager Andy Green, who spent a season coaching third base with the D-backs (and a few others in the Minor Leagues) noted the problems that an arm like Renfroe's can present.
"When I was coaching third base, those were tough decisions," Green said. "Sometimes you take the risk, especially if you're not getting a lot of runs across the board. But it's really hard to take a risk when a guy throws it 105 miles an hour. Guys are definitely hesitant to test him. They know that at any point in time he can throw someone out by 15 or 20 feet."
Not quite 105 mph. But Green wasn't off by much.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.