By Todd Singer @breakingbadfish on June 13, 2014
On June 10, Yoenis Cespedes unleashed one of the best throws anyone has ever seen to nail Howie Kendrick of the Los Angeles Angels at the plate. Cespedes' throw from the left-field corner went close to 300 feet on the fly, equivalent to the length of a regulation size football field. Cespedes leads the majors in assists this season, but which of these other competitors can challenge him for the best arm in the league?
Juan Lagares shot on to the scene last season with the New York Mets and quickly established himself as one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. Lagares may not have the sheer arm strength of some other players on this list, but his pinpoint accuracy more than makes up for that. Lagares had an astounding 15 assists in only 116 games last season, which has prevented anyone from even testing him this season.
The word about Leonys Martin's arm has apparently gotten around the league as, similar to Lagares, runners have been wary of testing him this season. While Martin only has four assists this season, he had 14 last year and displays one of the strongest arms in the game out of center field. Martin also has the distinction of being one of three Cuban-born players on this list, which makes you wonder what's in the soil down there that has bred such strong arms.
Carlos Gomez is regarded by many as being the premier defensive outfielder in baseball. With warp speed, efficient routes and a cannon for a right arm, Gomez has entrenched himself as one of the best overall defenders in baseball. There is nothing Gomez doesn't do well out in the field and, now that his bat has seemingly caught up with his glove, he's become one of the best all-around players in the game today.
While Nick Markakis doesn't get the same notoriety for his arm as some of the other players on this list, opponents have learned time and again why it's not a wise idea to run on him. While Markakis' assist totals have been on the decline after runners decided to stop consistently testing him, he still possesses one of the strongest arms in the game and frequently nabs runners trying to take the extra base.
While many people know Giancarlo Stanton for his moonshot home runs, Stanton is almost equally proficient with his arm. Stanton has one of the strongest and most accurate arms in the majors, which has been on display many times. If the Marlins ever chose to put Stanton on the trade block, there's no telling how expansive the package would have to be to acquire him.
Jason Heyward has been a bit of a disappointment offensively, but his defense has more than held up its end of the bargain. Heyward's left arm is one of the best in baseball, and he routinely cuts down runners on the bases. Heyward's renowned arm has scared off a lot of would-be challengers, which has kept his assist totals low, but one glance at one of his throws and it's easy to understand why.
Josh Reddick has made some of the best defensive plays ever seen in the past few seasons, which is a good thing considering he's struggled to crack a .700 OPS each of the past two years. Reddick's defense has been good enough to keep him in the lineup, but ever since he exploded for 32 homers in 2012, Reddick has a combined 16. As you see in the above video, so long as Reddick keeps making those throws, he'll find a spot in the field.
Yasiel Puig registered eight assists last season in only 100 games and is already halfway to that total this season. Puig's legend continues to grow in Los Angeles as he has quickly become one of the best and most polarizing players in the game. Although Puig's flair can often times be misconstrued as being brash, opponents have learned better than to test his right arm.
Alex Gordon has one of the best arms in baseball and has finished in the top three in Outfield Arm Runs (ARM), which describes the amount of runs above average an outfielder saves with their arm by preventing runners to advance (courtesy- FanGraphs), in each of the last three seasons. Gordon is once again in the top three this season, and his deadly accurate arm prevents opponents from challenging him more frequently.
Yoenis Cespedes leads the major leagues with nine assists this season, and with plays like in the video above, it's easy to see why. Cespedes has perhaps the strongest arm in the game today, and even though he plays left field instead of right, he's still able to make a huge impact on the running game with his Roberto Clemente-like throws. Cespedes was known more for his light-tower power when he was signed, but he has quickly made people take notice of his arm as well.
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