The legend of Laureano’s laser: How the A’s outfielder went viral

Final summer time, simply eight days into his large league profession, Ramon Laureano went viral.

His spectacular outfield help — the one during which he caught a Justin Upton drive on the run on the warning observe in left-center, then turned and fired a strike to first base to double up Eric Younger — was the type of play legends are manufactured from. And the type of video that finally ends up all over the place.

On April 22, the Oakland Athletics middle fielder one-upped himself by robbing Teoscar Hernandez of a homer, then unleashing a missile to first base that resulted in a double play. The throw, which traveled practically 400 ft, in keeping with some estimates, really sailed previous first and into foul territory, however that does not matter. What issues is Laureano has made a behavior of doing physics-defying issues along with his proper arm.

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In his very first MLB sport final summer time, he stopped the Detroit Tigers’ Jose Iglesias, who was attempting to stretch a double right into a triple. The very subsequent day, he bought Mike Gerber. Earlier this season, he recorded an outfield help in all three video games of a collection in opposition to the Boston Crimson Sox (Xander Bogaerts was a sufferer twice).

Since making his debut on Aug. three, 2018, Laureano’s 14 assists are greater than any outfielder within the majors and virtually twice as many because the next-closest man. It is no fluke, both — in 380 minor league video games, he tallied a jaw-dropping 50 assists.

“I have been doing that since highschool and Little League,” says Laureano, a local of the Dominican Republic who moved to upstate New York as a youngster. Recruited as a pitcher/outfielder, he landed at Northeast Oklahoma A&M, the place he performed one 12 months earlier than the Houston Astros chosen him within the 16th spherical of the 2014 draft. 5 years later, he is patrolling middle area in Oakland and difficult Draymond Inexperienced for the Bay Space’s largest help monger.

So simply how deadly is Laureano’s laser? To seek out out, we spoke with those that’ve seen it in individual.

We requested those that have watched Ramon Laureano develop — and some of his victims, too — to share their tales. Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire

Higher Room Christian Faculty head coach Tony Passalacqua: His arm was simply ridiculous. He would hit 94 on the radar gun off the mound, however he would at all times say, “Coach, I do not wish to pitch.” No one might actually run on him at the highschool degree. There have been many instances when he’d throw somebody out, and also you’d sit there and say, “That is simply not proper for a highschool participant to try this.”

Northeast Oklahoma A&M head coach Roger Ward: The arm power was a no-doubter, however he did not pitch as a result of we have been fearful about how many individuals he would harm. It was 93, however it was all over the place, and he had a tough time throwing strikes. It ran arm-side on him, exhausting. If it ran 2 or three ft on the plate, it could run 10 ft from the outfield. He undoubtedly corrected that challenge and has gotten extremely correct with it.

Baltimore Orioles GM Mike Elias, previously Astros scouting director: In scouting, we use a 20-to-80 scale, the place 80 is pretty much as good an arm as you may have. I most likely would have referred to as it a 60 or 65. We did not say, “Oh, my gosh, that is one of the best arm on the planet.” However it was apparent he had a plus arm.

Philadelphia Phillies farm director Josh Bonifay, previously Greenville Astros (rookie ball) supervisor: It was our opening minicamp for the Greenville Astros. It is in June, proper after the draft. We’re taking outfield and infield, and the primary time I hit him a floor ball, he throws it to second base, and I am like, “Oof, that is a hose.” So then he throws it to 3rd, and it was nowhere close to the third baseman. I feel it ended up extra within the dugout than something. And then you definately hit him to house, and he throws it midway up the display. We knew then he had an absolute bazooka. We simply needed to harness it.

2 Associated

Crimson Sox coach Ramon Vasquez, previously Lancaster JetHawks (Class-A) supervisor: They did not actually run a lot on him as a result of the entire league type of knew from the start of the season. I really had a bit little bit of an argument with him throughout that season about conserving the ball low. His throws have been in line more often than not, however as robust as his arm was, he overshot the cutoff man, and bases. The accuracy was going to return.

Tampa Bay Rays third-base coach Rodney Linares, previously Corpus Christi Hooks (Double-A) supervisor: No one ran on him. They realized within the minor leagues. He ought to have had 25 assists. There have been instances when it was a stable single to middle area, and the man ought to have scored however they only stopped. They stopped working on him midway via the 12 months. His arm is the stuff fairy tales are manufactured from.

Fran Riordan, Las Vegas Aviators (Triple-A) supervisor: We have been enjoying in Nashville final 12 months. He was enjoying in proper area, and there was no person out. Deep fly ball into the right-field nook, the place the guests’ bullpen is. He goes actually deep into the nook and makes an unbelievable catch going full dash. The runner at first base tagged up, not pondering there was going to be a play. Ramon calmly unleashes a line-drive missile all the way in which to second base and the runner would not even slide, pondering there’s going to be no play. He was out by 5 ft.

Vasquez: We talked about him. We all know he is a plus arm, a 70 arm. We advised our guys. However once you have a look at these performs, they needed to occur. Typically you gotta problem the man. He really made three good throws. All three performs, for those who have a look at these performs, if that throw would’ve been a step to the left, a step to the appropriate, perhaps a bit bit increased, we might have been secure. He executed these completely.

“His arm is the stuff fairy tales are manufactured from.”

Rodney Linares, Ramon Laureano’s former Double-A supervisor, now the Tampa Bay Rays’ third-base coach

Riordan: In case you have a look at what he is executed within the large leagues on a really quick pattern measurement, and I noticed what he did final 12 months in Triple-A, these aren’t good throws. These are throws that must be good to be able to get the out. He is not simply making good throws — he is making good throws from not possible locations on the sphere in any respect bases. I have been managing within the minors for 20 years. There’s a whole lot of robust arms in skilled baseball, and there is a whole lot of correct arms in skilled baseball. For my part, there is not any mixture of arm power and accuracy like Ramon’s.

Linares: I do not know why individuals hold working on him. With Ramon, you gotta watch out. [In Tampa Bay] we pleasure ourselves on being actually aggressive, however after we play Oakland, I do know when to cease the fellows.

Orioles shortstop Richie Martin (thrown out at house by Laureano on April 9): I imply, shoot, he is probably the greatest outfielders within the league proper now. He simply made an excellent play. It was type of laid up for him, a one-hop ball to throw me out. However I believed with my soar that I bought proper off the bat — I knew it was going to be shut — however I believed I used to be going to beat it. However he had me by like three or four ft. It was an ideal throw. He is legit.

Orioles OF/1B Trey Mancini (on deck when Martin was thrown out): In our assembly, they will run via the arms of everybody on their staff. So we knew that he had a fantastic arm — it is no secret. Richie’s actually quick, however he made an ideal throw and bought him with a number of steps to spare. Leonys Martin’s bought a extremely good arm, however I feel Laureano’s bought one of the best arm I’ve ever seen. Sadly, we realized the exhausting manner that you do not run on him.

Bogaerts (multiple-time Laureano sufferer): He has an excellent arm and his accuracy, I bear in mind, I bought a double at [Fenway Park]. I considered stretching it to a few once more and I rounded second and I finished as a result of I remembered what he did to me. As soon as, it is OK. The second time, I risked it once more, however then it is like, nah. He has the arm and the accuracy, so I simply shut it down. I simply do not perceive how he throws it good like that. He throws it proper there, man. Chapman. Increase. And it is proper there.

ESPN’s Joon Lee contributed to this story.

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