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Watch: MLB Player Turns Dumb Mistake into Highlight Play with Rocket Arm

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The difference between screwing up and scoring style points is purely in the eye of the beholder.

After all, if you can appear to make an error in the outfield, boot the ball several feet away from you, then pick it up and absolutely effortlessly flick the ball back toward second base — from the warning track, while turning your entire body around, but still effortlessly in the eyes of anyone who watches you do it — then is it really a mistake?

Yasiel Puig of the Cincinnati Reds demonstrated this principle against the Atlanta Braves in the third inning of the Reds’ 4-2 victory Thursday.

Freddie Freeman hit a single to center field. It was just your standard, everyday base hit.

Puig booted it, Freeman saw Puig boot it, and Freeman sensibly concluded that he could use Puig’s gaffe to advance a base. It was just your standard, everyday outfield error leading to an extra base. Having a runner in scoring position with two out might well have been the Braves’ chance to break open a scoreless game in the third.

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Puig then collected it and fired a cannon shot to second that had Freeman out by a mile and would’ve been enough to get just about anyone in the league since Rickey Henderson was still around.

Cincinnati has been atrocious with the bat this year. Scoring four runs against the Braves is half a run more than they average per game — 84 runs scored in 24 games puts the Reds 11th in the National League and 25th in all of baseball, fully 1.13 runs per game below the MLB average — so every run you can take off the board defensively makes it easier for your offense to score enough runs to win these soccer-like final scorelines.

Puig himself, meanwhile, has been putrid this year, with a .190/.205/.342 slash line and an attendant .547 OPS that puts him among the worst starting outfielders in baseball.

Since his lone All-Star appearance in 2014 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Puig has been in decline, never quite able to recover from a 2015 injury.

Last year, he even led all National League right fielders in errors with eight.

But that doesn’t matter when you have a cannon arm, an enemy player fooling himself into believing he’s got a free base after a single, and one monster throw to get onto the highlight reel.

Then again, maybe cannon arms come standard on Cuban outfielders.

After all, Puig’s countryman, Yoenis Cespedes, had an awfully similar-looking situation on a ball he initially appeared to misplay in left field not long ago:

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The point, perhaps, is that when there’s a guy in the other team’s outfield who can wipe out your trip around the bases with what looks to the untrained eye like a mere flick of his wrist, you might want to just take your base and be thankful you got that much.

Because otherwise, you’re Freddie Freeman, walking back to the dugout shaking your head and getting ready to go play defense.

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Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
Education
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Nevada-Reno
Location
Seattle, Washington
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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