Rafael Furcal, Scott Rolen and The 15 Best Infielder Arms In MLB History

Chris LeydenCorrespondent IIJanuary 25, 2011

Rafael Furcal, Scott Rolen and The 15 Best Infielder Arms In MLB History

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    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 10: Scott Rolen #27 of the Cincinnati Reds throws to 2nd base against the Philadelphia Phillies during game 3 of the NLDS at Great American Ball Park on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Phillies defeated the Reds 2-0.  (Photo
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    It seems that almost every day a new list of strongest arms in the MLB is published. The problem with almost all of these lists is that they only include outfielders.

    There is definitely some logic behind this, because in general outfielders do have stronger arms than infielders, and get to show them off more.

    But, believe it or not there are infielders who have great arms too, and for once they are going to get the recognition they deserve.

    The problem with rating infielder arms is that there are two very different ways to look at it, accuracy or power. This list has some players that are better at one and some that are better at the other.

    What makes an infielder's arm especially special is if they can master both of these skills, strong, powerful throws on a line to the glove.

    Feel free to offer your comments below on what players should or should not have been on this list.

#15 Ron Santo

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    Ron Santo was the Chicago Cubs third baseman through the 1960's and early 1970's, before finishing up his career across town with the Chicago White Sox.

    Santo was more regarded for his power hitting than his strong arm, but he was a five-time Gold Glove Award winner.

    What made Santo's arm strength incredible was the fact that throughout his career he played with diabetes, which none of his peers knew until late in his career.

    In some amazing statistical notes Santo set a Cubs record with 41 double plays at third base in 1961. He also broke the team records in assists in 1962, and lead the National League for the next six years.

    Unfortunately Santo passed away in December due to complications from Bladder Cancer and diabetes.

#14 Roberto Alomar

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    ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 17:  Second baseman Roberto Alomar #12 of the Chicago White Sox throws to first to make the out against the Texas Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington on August 17, 2003 in Arlington, Texas.  The White Sox defeated the Rangers 6-4.
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Although it is difficult to show off arm strength as a second baseman, Alomar is one of the best ever at the position.

    A ten time Gold Glove Award winner, Alomar was also elected to the Hall of Fame earlier this month.

    Alomar's arm was best shown off when balls were hit deep into the hole between first and second or between him and second base.

    Alomar was not only one of the best at getting to the ball but he could make the off balance throw to first look like the flick of a wrist.

    Alomar played for seven teams throughout his career, before retiring in 2004. He was only in his second year of eligibility when he was chosen for the Hall of Fame.

#13 Troy Tulowitzki

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    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 2: Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies throws to first base against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 2, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Rockies 1-0 in 11 innings.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwana
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    An up-and-comer in baseball, Troy Tulowitzki has only been in the league since 2006. In this time though, he has drawn comparisons to Derek Jeter for his range and arm strength.

    Tulowitzki had a monstrous rookie year, in which he lead MLB shortstops in fielding percentage, putouts, assists, and double plays turned.

    Tulowitzki won his first of probably many Gold Glove Awards in 2010. By the time Tulowitzki's career is over he may regarded as one of the strongest armed shortstops of all time.

#12 Eric Chavez

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    OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 12:  Eric Chavez #3 of the Oakland Athletics throws to first against the Seattle Mariners during a Major League Baseball game on April 12, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Eric Chavez managed to win the Gold Glove Award six times in a row in the early 2000's, and rightfully so.

    The third baseman is known around the league to have one of the strongest arms and to play the "hot corner" the best.

    Although Chavez was just a slightly above par hitter, he received a six year $66 million contract extension, largely in part due to his strong arm and fielding skills at third base.

    Chavez played for the Oakland Athletics from 1998 to 2010, and is now a free agent.

#11 Adrian Beltre

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 13:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Boston Red Sox throws to first base against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 13, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Adrian Beltre definitely fits better into the category of having a strong arm and not as much in the category of laser like accuracy.

    The third baseman actually managed to win the Gold Glove Award the same year that he lead the American League in errors.

    Although Beltre has been in the league since 1998, it has been of late that his strong arm has really shown.

    Beltre is also well known for refusing to wear a cup, and actually suffered a serious injury relating to that and was put on the disabled list because of it.

#10 Michael Young

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31:  Michael Young #10 of the Texas Rangers throws to first for the out against the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Michael Young's strong arm was displayed after the departure of Alex Rodriguez. Young slid over from second base to shortstop.

    Then in 2008 Young moved all the way over the third base. This shows that not only does Young have a strong arm, but he also has a versatile one too. 

    Although Young has only won one Gold Glove Award (2008), in 2002 he placed second in the entire league in fielding percentage.

    Young has a rocket of an arm, and still can make the throw from deep third to first even though he is now 34.

    Changing positions in baseball is harder than most people think, but Young almost seemed to improve after each change, an attest to his throwing arm.

#9 Derek Jeter

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 6: Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees throws to first during game one of the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins on October 6, 2010 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Although his range and arm have slowed down a bit the past few years, Derek Jeter will always be remembered as one of the, if not the, best defensive shortstop in the game.

    Jeter was famous for his iconic play in which he would field the ball with his backhand, and then jump-throw the ball over to first base. With his body moving away from first base, this throw proved to everyone that Jeter's arm was supernatural.

    Jeter's fielding is up for a lot of debate, because on one hand he has been awarded five Gold Glove Awards, but studies have come out proving he is one of the worst defensive shortstops in the league.

    The 36 year old may not be able to get to the ball as much now, but when he does he shows off that he has one of the best arms in the league.

#8 Ozzie Smith

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    You know the competition on this list is good when a guy nicknamed "the wizard" for his defensive skills is only eighth.

    Ozzie Smith, shortstop, set MLB career records for assists and double plays. He also won an astonishing 13 Gold Glove Awards.

    A first ballot Hall of Fame inductee, Smith may not have had the strongest arm, but he had one of the best. Smith was not known for heaters across the diamond, but more for his consistent and instinctual plays.

    Smith made one of the best defensive plays of all time when he dove and caught a ball with his bare hand and then threw the runner out going to first.

#7 Robinson Cano

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 19:  Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees turns a successful double play in the ninth inning over a sliding David Murphy #7 of the Texas Rangers in Game Four of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 19,
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Another second baseman on the list, no one turns a double player fast than Robinson Cano. He looks effortless as he catches the ball from short or third and throws it over to first.

    What makes this throw even more impressive is the fact that he is able to pivot, with someone trying to take him out, and still throw a laser.

    Cano has both the accuracy and strength to qualify as a great infielder. Cano won the Gold Glove Award this year, and the 28-year-old is sure to win a few more before he retires.

    Cano is a great threat on the field, as not only does he have the very strong arm, but he also gets to almost every ball that is hit his way.

#6 Brooks Robinson

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    Considered by most to be the greatest third basemen of all time, and labeled the "human vacuum cleaner," Robinson was great at gobbling up the hot drives sent his way.

    Although more known for his ability to glove anything sent this way, you aren't considered the greatest third baseman of all time just for stopping the ball. Robinson also had a strong arm, and one that could throw darts across the field.

    The Hall of Fame member won 16 Gold Glove Awards in his 22 year career.

    Robinson played all 22 years with the Baltimore Orioles, and is a legend around Camden Yards.

#5 Mike Schmidt

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    Mike Schmidt was another third basemen who may consider to be one of the best.

    A 10 time Gold Glove Award winner, Schmidt had possibly the strongest arm in the league when he was playing.

    Schmidt was especially good at fielding balls barehanded and then rocketing the ball over to first to get the runner in time.

    Like Robinson, Schmidt played on a single team his entire career, the Philadelphia Phillies.

    A first ballot Hall of Fame member, Schmidt will always be regarded as one of the best arms in the MLB.

#4 Alex Rodriguez

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees throws to first base after fielding the ball in the second inning of Game Six of the ALCS against the Texas Rangers during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Oc
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Alex Rodriguez has one of the, if not the strongest arm in the MLB right now. After moving from shortstop to third base, Rodriguez really got to show off his strength.

    Rodriguez does not receive much recognition for his strong arm in terms of rewards, as he has only won the Gold Glove Award twice, and they were both earlier in his career. This is because although Rodriguez's arm strength is absolutely ridiculous, his accuracy can be way off at times.

    Although Rodriguez may be on the downswing now, at his prime he threw the ball incredibly hard.

    Most people may recognize A-Rod for his hitting achievements, but he was the complete package with an amazing arm as well.

#3 Shawon Dunston

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    19 May 1997: Shortstop Shawn Dunston of the Chicago Cubs throws the ball as first baseman J.T. Snow of the San Francisco Giants slides at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs won the game 15-4.
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Many consider Dunston to have an outfielders arm even though he played shortstop. Although he was not one of the best players of the decade, he did have one of the hardest throwing arms.

    He never won a Gold Glove Award, mainly because most people felt as though he was "an eternal rookie," or someone who made rookie mistakes throughout his entire career.

    Dunston was also a force on the double play, and was elected twice to the All-Star Game with his partner, second baseman Ryne Sandberg.

#2 Rafeal Furcal

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    ST. LOUIS - JULY 18: Rafael Furcal #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws to first base against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on July 18, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Dodgers 5-4.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    For being a quicker guy Furcal sure has an arm. Currently the shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Furcal's arm strength may be the only fielding aspect that he has going for him.

    Furcal actually lead all league shortstops in errors in 2003, and also had the worst fielding percentage. Furcal's throws may be inaccurate at times, but when they are on target they can take the glove right off the first baseman's hand.

    Furcal, like Dunston, is known around the league as a guy who will make a spectacular play and then have the next ball hit at him go right through the wickets.

#1 Scott Rolen

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    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 10: Scott Rolen #27 of the Cincinnati Reds throws to 2nd base against the Philadelphia Phillies during game 3 of the NLDS at Great American Ball Park on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Phillies defeated the Reds 2-0.  (Photo
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    In my opinion the best infielder arm in MLB history goes to a current player, Scott Rolen. Before I go into what makes Rolen so special I want to mention that this list has a lot of current players because every year players are getting stronger and throwing harder.

    The final third baseman on this list, Rolen has the perfect combination, a great arm and an accurate one too.

    Although his throws may not clock in at the fastest in the league at any point, he is up there in the top five. He also plays almost error-free baseball, and has been rewarded for that with eight Gold Glove Awards.

    Watching Scott Rolen throw the ball across the diamond is a perfect way to learn the art of third base, and that is why he tops this list.


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