It’s already been well established on this site that Twins outfielder Byron Buxton is fast as hell when it comes to running the bases. But what hasn’t been talked about enough is that he’s also one of the best fielders in baseball with one of the best arms on one of the best teams in baseball right now. Those skills were put on display on Sunday against the Rays when he used his speed to run down a ball that Tampa Bay’s Yandy Diaz had hit deep into center field, and used his powerful arm to beat Austin Meadows as he was heading back to first.
The throw was great in its own right, but what makes this clip especially cool is the fact that pitcher Jake Odorizzi had already started to hang his head in disappointment, thinking he just gave up a dinger. Odorizzi must have surely jogged to the dugout with more confidence than he had less than a minute earlier.
Buxton’s amazing display of athleticism was definitely helped by Meadows’s bad base running—I’m going to guess he thought Diaz had hit a home run—but the Twins outfielder still needed the strength to get the ball all the way to C.J. Cron at first base. The play was also still close enough that most players with weaker arms than Buxton’s probably would not have completed that.
The 8-3 double play wasn’t the only jaw-dropping highlight Buxton displayed on Sunday. In the top of the fifth, he decided to only show off his absurd base running speed, using a squeeze bunt to score from third despite the Tampa Bay pitcher only needing to complete a 10-foot throw at most.
If for some reason you’re not impressed, here’s a still that puts the distance in perspective.