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