The next installment of our Statcast series for the Atlanta Braves’ 2023 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 the probability of a catch and below is 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, but there are a couple of surprises along the way. The Braves had nine plays with a catch probability of less than 50 percent and they are listed below.
T-6. Kevin Pillar 45 percent (April 14 at Kansas City)
I was glad to see Kevin Pillar make this list and just looking at the video, it would be easy to think that this play should rank higher. Pillar makes the nice sliding grab in foul territory up against the wall and still manages to pop up quickly and make a strong throw towards the plate.
T-6. Michael Harris 45 percent (August 11 at New York Mets)
This is the first of five plays on this list that were made by Michael Harris. Here he comes charging in and makes a sliding grab to take away a hit from Mets’ infielder Jeff McNeil.
T-6. Michael Harris 45 percent (May 14 at Toronto)
This play by Harris is pretty similar to the one in New York. Here the ball is only in the air for 2.8 seconds, but that is enough time for him to snag it and take a hit away from Whit Merrifield.
T-6. Michael Harris 45 percent (September 24 at Washington)
Here is another nice play from Harris who ranges into the right center gap to take away a potential double from CJ Abrams. The ball left the bat at 101 mph and Harris covered 58 feet from his starting position to make the grab.
5. Michael Harris 40 percent (September 2 at Los Angeles)
Harris starts out the top 5 by taking away this hit from Mookie Betts. This one had a catch probability of 40 percent, but Harris makes it look relatively easy.
4. Eddie Rosario 30 percent (September 7 vs. St. Louis)
Eddie Rosario is a Gold Glove finalist this season and is heavily represented at the top of this list. To my eye test, this looks like the most difficult play on the list, but it checks in with a catch probability of 30 percent. Rosario didn’t get a great jump on this one, but recovered with the slide at the end for the out.
3. Eddie Rosario 25 percent (August 7 at Pittsburgh)
Rosario doesn’t need a slide this time, but 57 feet in time to snag this looping line drive off the bat of Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds.
2. Michael Harris 20 percent (May 14 at Toronto)
This is Michael Harris’ top play in terms of catch probability. He goes back on balls so well that this one doesn’t look all that impressive, but it had a catch probability of 20 percent.
1. Eddie Rosario 15 percent (June 4 at Arizona)
If you had Eddie Rosario at the top of this list, then congratulations. Again, this one doesn’t look all that impressive but left the bat at 101.8 mph and had a catch probability of just 15 percent. Rosario gets an excellent jump here and makes this play look much easier than it probably was.