Ranking the Top 10 Defensive Plays of the 2013 MLB Season

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IISeptember 28, 2013

Ranking the Top 10 Defensive Plays of the 2013 MLB Season

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    Chicks dig the long ball. But unless it's a 500-foot bomb, it's not going to make Sportscenter's top 10 plays.

    Defensive gems are what generally get the glory for top plays, and here at Bleacher Report, it's no different. We've written multiple stories highlighting a play that happened on a particular night that was beyond all measure.

    While some plays are game-savers, others are just spectacular plays that came out of nowhere. Regardless, all of these plays deserve recognition.

    Here's a look at the top 10 defensive plays from this year.

10. Yasiel Puig Incredible Throw in Debut

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    Date: June 3

    In his first game in the big leagues, Yasiel Puig let it be known to not test his arm in right field.

    In the bottom of the ninth with one out, San Diego's Chris Denorfia took off on a hit-and-run with Kyle Blanks at the plate. Blanks hit to Puig who then fired to first to get Denorfia by half a step.

    It was the first of any great defensive plays we have since become accustomed to seeing Puig make in the outfield.

9. Everth Cabrera's Fancy Moves

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    Date: June 12

    Everth Cabrera had a head's up play in the ninth inning against the Braves with a runner on first base. The ball off Chris Johnson's bat bounced off the glove of second baseman Logan Forsythe. However, Cabrera was right there to make the play.

    Cabrera grabbed the booted ball, did a spin move and threw a laser to first base to get Johnson out by a step.

    The fact that Cabrera was in the right place at the right time is what allowed this play to happen. If he started one step further to his right or wasn't moving toward the play to cover second, that ball would have ended up in center field.

    Sometimes the best plays are all about being in the right place at the right time.

8. Josh Donaldson Diving Catch

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    Date: Sept. 3

    When a player dives into the stands to catch a ball, he pretty much knows it's going to hurt.

    However, Oakland's Josh Donaldson took a little bit more of a risk diving toward the stands with a rolled-up tarp in front of him. The ball was fouled off the bat of David Murphy and Donaldson made a long run to the ball just to be able to make the play.

    And then he just sells out and dives for the ball, holding up the ball the entire time to show he still had it.

    Bleacher Report featured columnist Joel Reuter wrote about the advantage the big foul territory gives the A's, and there's no doubt it came into play here.

7. By the Seat of His Pants

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    Date: April 29

    Andrelton Simmons is known for his range, but on this play, it was the throw he made from the seat of his pants that gets recognition.

    With the score 3-2 and the Nationals batting in the top of the ninth, Ian Desmond grounded a slow roller to Simmons. He lost his footing, but made a strong throw to first as Freddie Freeman did a full split to get the ball.

    Some will say Desmond was safe, others will say he was out. But the fact remains, it was a bang-bang play that went the Braves' way and earns a spot on this list.

6. Carlos Gomez Game-Saving Catch

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    Date: July 8

    Carlos Gomez made a huge defensive play in center field in the top of the ninth with the Brewers leading the Reds, 4-3. There were two outs, a runner on and Joey Votto at the plate. 

    Votto smashed a ball to deep center. With Gomez already playing deep, he waited for the ball to get to the wall and he leaped up to take a home run away from Votto, and a win away from the Reds.

    What makes this play special is the point in the game that it happened. He had enough time at the wall to time his jump, but it's a play that saved the win for the Brewers.

5. Yasiel Puig Cuts Down Marlon Byrd

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    Date: Aug. 14

    For some reason, people just keep running on Puig, despite knowing what a cannon for an arm he has.

    On this one, Justin Turner hit a bloop single to right. New York's Marlon Byrd thought he could go from first to third, but Puig had other ideas.

    Puig came up firing and threw a direct to Jerry Hairston Jr. at third base to get Byrd out. Maybe people will stop running on him. He's proven he can gun anyone out who tests his arm.

4. Michael Cuddyer Diving Catch

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    Date: April 2

    This was an early-season play, but Michael Cuddyer really laid out on this one.

    The Rockies were leading the Brewers, 8-4, in the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on second and one out. Alex Gonzalez lined a ball to right-center field and Cuddyer went and got it. He jumped up and immediately threw a strike to second to get Jonathan Lucroy out for an inning-ending double play.

    The fact that Cuddyer immediately popped up to throw a strike to second for the double play only added to this amazing catch.

3. Victor Martinez Back-Handed Flip

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    Date: June 23

    Victor Martinez robbed Jacoby Ellsbury on this one.

    Ellsbury hit a liner to first in the sixth inning as the ball caromed off the glove of Martinez and into foul territory. Not even knowing where Drew Smyly was, Martinez flipped the ball behind his back to Smyly to get the out. Ellsbury acknowledged the play and gave Martinez a quick pat as he ran past him.

    It was a play where Martinez just trusted his pitcher was doing his job of covering first and it turned out to be a great play.

    The MLB Network made it their top play of the first half, which is why a No. 1 pops up in the video. However, there are two plays that were not only better in the year, but also in the first half.

2. Manny Machado's Cannon from Third

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    Date: July 7

    Manny Machado has given Baltimore fans a lot to be excited about.

    Luis Cruz hit a grounder down the third-base line. After the ball bounced off his glove, he stuck with it and fired a strike to first base for the out.

    It was his cannon that earned him the No. 2 spot. It's hard to think any other third baseman could have made that play.

1. Ben Revere's Spread Eagle

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    Date: April 15

    The best play of the year came a few weeks into the season by Ben Revere. 

    In the bottom of the second against Cincinnati, Revere robbed Todd Frazier of a hit as he made a leaping grab to rob Frazier of a hit. He then fired the ball to first to double up Jay Bruce, who was already past second when the play was made.

    Actually, the word "leaping" would be an understatement in this case. This catch brings back memories of the catch Jim Edmonds made in 1997 while a member of the Angels.

    Revere's catch deserves to be put in the same conversation with Edmonds' and is one that will be played on highlight reels for many years to come.