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The best defensive plays of the first half

We’ve reached the unofficial midway point of the 2014 MLB season, and we’ve seen some memorable plays this year. We figured that instead of just reliving the best defense from this weekend, it would be better if we relived the best defense from the entire first half. There hasn’t really been that one iconic catch yet this year, but we’ve still seen a lot of plays that have wowed us. Obviously, some great plays will be omitted, and that’s cool – we’re not saying this is a comprehensive list by any means. Here’s a dozen of the best defensive plays we’ve seen this year, in chronological order.

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February 26th – Josh Reddick dazzles twice.

Yeah, we’re starting off in Spring Training. Way back in February, Josh Reddick robbed Michael Morse of not one, but TWO home runs in one game. What an incredible performance for Reddick. Unfortunately for him, these two catches may have been the highlights of an injury-plagued season.

April 17th – Adam Eaton robs David Ortiz.

Eaton just kept going…and going…and going. He eventually reached the wall, threw up his glove in a prayer, and robbed Ortiz of a homer.

April 25th – Justin Smoak ends the game.

Ninth inning, bases loaded, one out, one run game. You can’t blame Adrian Beltre here, he absolutely smashed this ball. But Justin Smoak made an unreal play to rob him of extra bases, and then stepped on the first base bag to end the game. Freakishly good.

April 27th – David Lough gets some air.

This isn’t one of those catches where a player catches the ball, then dives to make it look better. Lough got some great hangtime on this dive, and barely made the catch. Look how long he was in the air!

May 21st – Giancarlo Stanton has a glove, too.

Giancarlo Stanton’s bat is obviously his best asset. But in this game against the Phillies, Stanton showed that he can field, too. This diving catch of a Cody Asche sinking liner was wonderful.

May 22nd – Yasiel Puig impresses us again.

This catch by Yasiel Puig was just lovely. Look at how far he ran to pull it in!

May 27th – Aaron Hicks goes up for a homer.

With some home run robberies, the player clearly doesn’t reach over the fence. He just jumps at the wall, and it looks good. That didn’t happen with Aaron Hicks here – he went full extension.

June 10th – Yoenis has a gun.

I’m only going to highlight one of Yoenis Cespedes’s incredible throws. This was clearly the better of the two throws – a perfect rainbow to home plate, nailing Howie Kendrick.

June 11th – Kevin Kiermaier is here to stay.

You typically don’t see an outfielder’s arm extend at an obtuse angle when making a catch in the outfield.

June 17th – BROCKHOLT.

Brock Holt isn’t a center fielder. He came out of nowhere to bail Jonny Gomes out on this fly ball. I still have no idea how this happened. It’s absurd.

July 5th – Puig being Puig.

So, Yasiel Puig took an awful route to this ball, still laid out to make the diving catch, and fired a strike into Hanley Ramirez, who relayed the ball to third to complete the double play. That’s just insane.

July 9th – JBJ is good for something.

Jackie Bradley Jr., get outta here with that. Bradley’s career has been a bit of a disappointment so far, but this catch lived up to the hype.

Joe Lucia

About Joe Lucia

Joe is the managing editor of The Outside Corner and a contributing author at Awful Announcing. He lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is stuck somewhere between tolerating and hating Pittsburgh and Philadelphia sports.

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