The next installment from our Statcast series for the Atlanta Braves’ 2022 season takes a look at the top defensive plays in the outfield in terms of catch probability. Before we get started, I want to note that the eye test on some of these plays may not measure up. It is important to note Statcast’s definition of catch probability which you can read more about here. There are several factors that go into determining a catch’s probability and below offers a nice summary.
Catch Probability represents the likelihood that a batted ball to the outfield will be caught, based on four important pieces of information tracked by Statcast. 1. How far did the fielder have to go? 2. How much time did he have to get there. 3. What direction did he need to go in? 4. Was proximity to the wall a factor?
As you would expect, Michael Harris is well represented on this list and figures to be a staple on such lists going forward. The Braves had 12 plays that were converted with a catch probability of less than 50 percent. They are listed below.
Up first is this nice play by Guillermo Heredia taking a hit away from Phillies infielder Didi Gregorius which had a hit probability of 87 percent. This was a rare off day for Michael Harris in center field and the Phillies scored three runs in the eighth to take a 3-1 win.
Here Michael Harris runs down a would be double by Sean Murphy in the gap in right center. Harris only needed to cover about 66 feet and got there without a dive which as you are going to see, is a trend on this list. Guillermo Heredia’s seventh inning home run was the difference in this one as the Braves pulled out a 3-2 win.
The next two entries on the list by Harris came in the same game against the Dodgers. Up first is Harris running down a drive by Gavin Lux in the right center gap with the score tied 3-3 in the 11th.
From the same game in the ninth inning, Harris races in to take a single away from Trea Turner. This ball had a hit probability of 63 percent. Despite the two big defensive plays by Harris, the Dodgers would win this one 5-3 in 11 innings.
This is probably the play by Harris that most people will remember. It came in his second game in the majors as he takes a hit away from Garrett Cooper. You can’t see it on this angle, but Harris caught a lot of this ball with his bare hand. Atlanta won this game 6-3.
Robbie Grossman’s lone entrant on the list is this first inning play against the Rockies where he takes a hit away from Rockies shortstop Jose Iglesias with a nice sliding grab. This ball had an 87 percent hit probability and Grossman covered 45 feet in 3.3 seconds. Spencer Strider set an Atlanta record with 16 strikeouts in this game and the Braves won 3-0.
It seems like an eternity ago, but Adam Duvall began the 2022 season as the Braves’ every day centerfielder and did a passable job. Here he helps out Bryce Elder by taking a hit away from Lucius Fox on a ball that had an 84 percent hit probability. Duvall also had three hits at the plate and the Braves went on to win 16-4.
Ronald Acuña Jr’s only entry on this list was a big one as he took a hit away from Bryce Harper with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning with Atlanta holding a 4-1 lead. This ball had a hang time of just 2.9 seconds and a hit probability of 74 percent. Atlanta hung on to win this one 4-3.
The first of two plays by Eddie Rosario. This one doesn’t look that impressive, but had just a 35 percent catch probability per Statcast. He runs down this fly ball by Jurickson Profar in the right field corner. The Braves won this game 5-2.
Here is another play by Rosario where he ranges into foul territory to make a sliding grab on a fly ball by Cesar Hernandez. Rosario got an excellent jump on this one and covered 81 feet in about 4.4 seconds. Atlanta held on at the end to win this game 5-4.
The top two plays of the season by Braves’ outfielders belong to Michael Harris and for good reason. Here he runs down a soft fly by Kyle Farmer and frankly makes it look easy. Harris gets a good jump while covering 67 feet in about 3.9 seconds.
This catch by Harris had just a 5 percent catch probability according to Statcast, but again Harris make it look way too easy without even needing a dive at the end. This time he ranges into left center to snag this fly ball by Luis Garcia.