Cannon Arms in 2014

June 11, 2014
 

Last season, two players separated themselves from the field with their excellent outfield arms. Gerardo Parra saved the Diamondbacks 12 runs with his arm, part of his combined 41 Defensive Runs Saved season across all three outfield positions. That tied him with Andrelton Simmons for the most in 2013 and most by a player in a season in the DRS era (2003-present). Meanwhile, Juan Lagares saved 11 runs with his throwing arm in only 108 games played.

Expectations were high for both players entering 2014, but neither makes the list of most Outfield Arm Runs Saved so far this season. Parra has just one Outfield Arm Run Saved and three Defensive Runs Saved total. He is part of a major defensive decline in Arizona from last year to this one. In contrast, Lagares remains one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. His 14 Defensive Runs Saved leads all center fielders, but he has yet to record an Outfield Arm Run Saved in part because so few runners are willing to run on him after 12 Baserunner Kills (direct throw to a base to nab the runner) last season.

Here are the Outfield Arm Runs Saved leaders in 2014:

Most Outfield Arm Runs Saved, 2014
Player OF Arm Runs Saved
Alex Gordon 6
Leonys Martin 5
Yoenis Cespedes 5
Yasiel Puig 3
Jose Bautista 3
Marlon Byrd 3
Melky Cabrera 3
Oswaldo Arcia 3
Nick Markakis 3

 

There are several familiar names at the top of the list. Since 2010, Alex Gordon is first in baseball with 35 Outfield Arm Runs Saved, and he leads the list with six so far this season. Jose Bautista is second since 2010 with 27 Outfield Arm Runs Saved and is tied for fourth with three this season. Bautista recently demonstrated his arm strength by throwing out batters at first base after would-be singles to right field on consecutive days at the end of May.

Leonys Martin and Yoenis Cespedes are tied for second place with five Outfield Arm Runs Saved, each. Martin was near the top of the list saving six runs with his arm in 2013, his first as the starter for Texas. Cespedes had been above average with his arm each season of his career, but he particularly stands out this year. He has six Baserunner Kills, most by any outfielder thus far this year.

Beyond Bautista, there are five more players with three Outfield Arm Runs Saved, headlined by Yasiel Puig. Puig demonstrated his incredible arm strength in his first game in the majors in 2013 when he doubled off Chris Denorfia at first base from the right field warning track to end the game. Marlon Byrd, Melky Cabrera, Oswaldo Arcia, and Nick Markakis also have three Outfield Arm Runs Saved.

 
 

COMMENTS (6 Comments, most recent shown first)

mauimike
I think that the Angels were wondering if the catcher had blocked the plate. He did a hell of job faking Howie out. He acted like there was no way that the ball was gonna get there, then he reached up caught it and made the tag. Great play at both ends.
6:11 PM Jun 14th
 
steve161
I was at the game where Cespedes threw Kendrick out. We all wondered why the Angels challenged the call, and decided it must be pure disbelief.

Of course this illustrates a problem with this metric as a way of evaluating outfielders' arms: after a while, the opportunities to pile up kills diminish or disappear, and the Runs Saved total goes down. We've seen a similar effect with Yadier Molina, who typically has about half as many chances to throw out basestealers as most catchers.
1:29 PM Jun 14th
 
OwenH
That's the old Lonnie Smith trick, isn't it? Boot it, then gun him down when he goes for the extra base?​
7:12 PM Jun 12th
 
mauimike
Tonight he threw out Albert at third. His new trick is to kick the ball away and thus entice the runner to go for the extra base and then he nails them. He's gotten 4 Angels this year. New rule, don't run on Cespedes.
11:23 PM Jun 11th
 
OldBackstop
A quick glossary question. The OFA category doesn't include relay kills, correct?

Does any category capture that for an individual OFer? One of the greatest plays in baseball.
3:28 PM Jun 11th
 
sroney
Does this include Cespedes' kill of Kendrick at home last night (6/10)? I would tend to guess not, since it happened late, but could be mistaken.
2:46 PM Jun 11th
 
 
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