Jesus Montero Time To First Base
Last night, the Mariners played the A’s, and Jesus Montero started for the Mariners, because he’s a starter for the Mariners. The A’s were starting a lefty on the mound, which was good news for Montero, but the worse news was that the lefty is good and he generates a bunch of grounders. Sure enough, Montero wound up 0-for-4, and the three times he faced Brett Anderson, he grounded out up the middle. Some players are able to beat out grounders up the middle, but some players are Jesus Montero.
They weren’t just three groundouts, though. They were three moderately close groundouts, allowing us to time Montero down the line to the bag, since he would’ve been trying to out-run the throws. I remember during yesterday’s Red Sox/Yankees game I saw Ichiro bounce a classic soft grounder the defense wasn’t able to turn for a double play because Ichiro booked it to first. For some players, slow grounders are a part of the skillset, but Jesus Montero should try to avoid grounders like Eric Sogard should try to avoid peanuts. (Eric Sogard looks like he has a peanut allergy.)
How did Montero do? We go in order:
- Grounder No. 1
- 149 frames from contact to base
- 4.97 seconds from contact to base
- Double plays often involve three infielders. This was not a double play, but it involved three infielders, and the throw from the first one to the second one bounced and caused the second one to lose his momentum. Montero was out because it took him five seconds to get to the base, because he must’ve assumed a hit at first and kind of dogged it a little. Which is never a good idea because Montero could’ve been thrown out at first from center field, too. It isn’t out of the question that Jesus Montero runs on stilts.
- Grounder No. 2
- 144 frames from contact to base
- 4.80 seconds from contact to base
- This was kind of a routine grounder, and Montero pulled up at the end, but he still hustled down the line, probably because he heard it about his first effort. And he beat his first effort, by better than three percent. Alternate theory to the stilts theory: Montero always bats right after someone in the dugout gives him dual dead-legs. Or maybe he sits on his feet and his legs fall asleep. If there is one baseball thing you’re better at than Jesus Montero, this is it, this is it right here.
- Grounder No. 3
- 142 frames from contact to base
- 4.73 seconds from contact to base
- Sure, you could say Montero came close to beating this out. But he didn’t come that close, and look at the shortstop as he’s making the play. Look how he gets himself comfortable before throwing to the base. For most hitters, this play would’ve been rushed; for Montero, it was allowed to blossom organically. They always say defenders know who’s running before the ball is put in play, so they know how quickly they have to react. This isn’t necessary for Jesus Montero, as defenders can pick up the baseballs and ask the other infielders about Montero’s running speed and general off-field interests before completing the plays. “Who’s this guy?” “Jesus Montero.” “He run?” “Not really.” “Isn’t there another…” “Yeah, there’s another Jesus Montero, in the minors.” “Can he run?” “Don’t know.” “You think, though?” “I mean, maybe, but I doubt it, probably a catcher and well, you know.” “Yeah.” “Yep.” “Man, this thing’s kinda slippery.” /crow hops /crow hops /throws
And that’s another analysis of Jesus Montero running to first base. In time this’ll get old, but for now it feels fresh, just like everything else having to do with the new baseball season. Pretty soon it’ll all get routine, and pretty soon after that it’ll probably all get kind of boring, with occasional exceptions. Our astonishing, irrepressible ability to adjust is our greatest strength and our most crippling weakness.