AL West

MLB 2011: The Top 5 Most Exciting 6-4-3 Double-Play Trios in Both the AL and NL

Lake CruiseAnalyst IMay 14, 2011

MLB 2011: The Top 5 Most Exciting 6-4-3 Double-Play Trios in Both the AL and NL

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 05: (L-R) Derek Jeter #2, Mark Teixeira #25 and Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees pose with their Gold Glove Awards prior to their game against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium on April 5, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Robinoson Can and Alex Rodriguez could some day be able to say they played on an all Hall of Fame infield.

    They've all won Gold Gloves and have been known to play pretty good defense as a team over the years.  Committing a bunch of errors, they've recently been janky—unstrustworthy. 

    But where do the Jankees—I mean Yankees—rank on my list?  Inquiring minds want to start the show.  Let's go...roll graphics...

American League: The Kansas City Royals' Mike Aviles and Alcides Escobar

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    ATLANTA - JUNE 19:  Mike Aviles #30 of the Kansas City Royals against Kris Medlen #54 the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 19, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Aviles and Escobar are a young double play combination on the rise—along with the Royals.

    Kansas City is in second place behind the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central.  The Royals double play mates didn't make my top five this time, but they could soon.

    Soon come with me through the ranks of the AL's best keystone combos.

5. Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler: Texas Rangers Protecting the Middle of the Diamond

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22:  (L-R) Elvis Andrus #1 and Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers run off the infield towards the dugout at the end of an inning against  the New York Yankees in Game Six of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpar
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Andrus was the cause for manager Ron Washington to move Gold Glove shortstop Michael Young to third base. It evidently worked.

    Andrus hasn't won a Gold Glove, yet, and Kinsler hasn't either, but they form a solid duo. It's not their fault the Rangers are one of the worst fielding teams in the Majors.

4. Los Angeles Angels: Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis Shine

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    ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 21:  (L-R) Howie Kendrick #47 and Maicer Izturis #6 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim celebrates after scoring in the second inning against the New York Yankees at Angels Stadium on August 21, 2007 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo b
    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Along with Kendrick and Aybar, current third baseman Maicer Izturis is capable of playing just about any position on the planet.

    None of the three have won any Gold Gloves, but they play outstanding defense behind a good pitching staff. They also have a little flavor and style.

3. Boston Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia and Jed Lowrie Are Solid Defenders

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    SAN FRANCISCO - JUNE 25:  Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox in action against the San Francisco Giants during an MLB game at AT&T Park on June 25, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Pedroia left the game later in the inning.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsoh
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Are second baseman Dustin Pedroia and his Boston Red Sox infield mates ready to turn two? Of course. Dustin looks like he's 15 years old. 

    He reminds me of Tanner Boyle from the Bad News Bears. Boston's other infielders probably feel like they had better make the double play, or have to deal with Dustin.

2. Cleveland Indians: Asdrubal Cabera and Orlando Cabrera Are Outstanding

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    CLEVELAND - JULY 28:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees is called safe after a sixth inning double next to Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the Cleveland Indians on July 28, 2010 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Ima
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The Cleveland Indians' cousins—not really—middle infielders have been consistently making highlight reels for their defense. 

    Second baseman Orlando has won a Gold Glove, and shortstop Asdrubal has perfected the Derek Jeter jump-throw from deep short.

    Keep an eye out on these two to see if they develop more chemistry and flair.

1. New York Yankees: The Bronx Bombers Can Do It on Defense, Too

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    DETROIT, MI - MAY 04: Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees talks with Alex Rodriguez #13 while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on May 4, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 4-0.(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    New York has been very shaky on defense this year, and they've dropped series to the Tigers and Royals to prove it.

    They hit a ton of home runs, but their Gold Glove infield needs to step it up for the Yankees to make it back to the playoffs this year.

    After all, Jeter probably invented the jump-throw from deep short.

National League: The Up and Down Braves' Defense Has Been Very Good so Far

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 19:  Shortstop Alex Gonzalez #2 of the Atlanta Braves throws out A.J. Ellis of the Los Angeles Dodgers from his knees to record the last out of the game on April 19, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  The Braves wo
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The Braves have a very solid infield—ranking high in the NL in fielding percentage and double plays. They didn't make my top five, but they could.

    All shortstop Alex Gonzalez needs to do is keep making throws from his knee, and I'll see what's up.

5. Colorado Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki Isn't Just the Anchor of the Offense

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    DENVER, CO - MAY 09:  Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies tags out Willie Harris #22 of the New York Mets as he tries to steal second base in the ninth inning at Coors Field on May 9, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Met
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Tulowitzki won the Gold Glove last year at shortstop. The rock of the Rockies, "Tulo" is one of the best players in the Majors and he makes an infield strong up the middle.

    Whether it's Omar Infante or someone driving an Infinity next to him, the double play will get done. Behind a strong pitching staff, the Rockies are the No. 3 in team fielding.

4. Cincinnati Reds: Brandon Phillips and His Shortstop Are a Formidable Duo

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    HOUSTON - MAY 09:  Second baseman Brandon Phillips  #4 of the Cincinnati Reds makes a diving catch on a line drive against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 9, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Brandon Phillips is a one man double play waiting to happen. The two-time Gold Glove winner doesn't care who plays shortstop next to him, Phillips gets it in.

    The Reds had one of the top defenses last year, and they're starting to crank it up this one. Phillips had an error last night, but his fielding percentage was 100 percent before then.

    Last year, it was .996. The Reds can rake on offense and quickly erase runners on defense.

3. Philadelphia Phillies: Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley Get It in Gold Glove Time

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 15: Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies warms up before the game against the Florida Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on April 15, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Look at the ball all the way into your glove—like Utley is doing in this flick. He's mastered the wrist-flick at the plate and the flip to Rollins.

    Rollins is one of the best pivoting shortstops in the NL and a multiple Gold Glove winner. The Phillies, this season, had turned 34 double plays through 36 games.

    That's the best double play percentage in the Majors.

2. San Diego Padres: Orlando Hudson and Whoever Else Plays Next to Him

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    HOUSTON - APRIL 15:  Second baseman Orlando Hudson #1 of the San Diego Padres can't reach this ground ball hit by Carlos Lee #45 of the Houston Astros in the ninth inning at Minute Maid Park on April 15, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Hudson has won four Gold Gloves and become synonymous with fantastic defense. He only needs a warm body to do a solid job at shortstop and good things will happen.

    He's one of the few infielders who have won Gold Gloves in both the NL and the AL.

1. Milwaukee Brewers: Rickie Weeks and Yuniesky Betancourt Do It Big

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 17:  Yuniesky Betancourt #3 of the Milwaukee Brewers and Rickie Weeks #23 during the second game of a doubleheader against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 17, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Ima
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Second baseman Weeks and shortstop Betancourt form perhaps the most exciting double play combination in the Majors.

    They play with naked flair—barehanded-double plays, behind the back flips with the ball in the glove, tosses with their eyes closed...Negro League infielders would be proud.

    If you watch the play they made this year, then you'll see what I mean. As my faithful readers know, I mean what I say and say what I mean. I hope you enjoyed the show. 

    Catch me on the next edition of Lake's Power Cruise.

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