A closer look at Ramon Laureano’s extraordinary July

Ramon Laureano has a penchant for the risky play

  • Oakland Athletics’ Ramon Laureano, right, is congratulated by Chad Pinder after scoring on a hit by Chris Davis off Minnesota Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson during the fourth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 18, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

  • Oakland Athletics baserunner Ramon Laureano (22) runs to home plate scoring on a double hit by Josh Phegley (19) in the fourth inning of their baseball game against the Texas Rangers at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Stephen Piscotty also scored on Phegley’s hit. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

  • Oakland Athletics baserunner Ramon Laureano (22) dives into home plate scoring on a double hit by Josh Phegley (19) in the fourth inning of their baseball game against the Texas Rangers at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Ramon Laureano also scored on Phegley’s hit. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

  • OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – JULY 3: Oakland Athletics’ Ramon Laureano (22) makes a catch on a linedrive hit off the bat of Minnesota Twins’ Jorge Polanco (11) in the sixth inning of a MLB game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, July 3, 2019. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

  • OAKLAND, CA – JULY 16: Oakland Athletics’ Ramon Laureano (22) a double against the Seattle Mariners in the eighth inning at the Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • OAKLAND, CA – JULY 16: Oakland Athletics’ Ramon Laureano (22) heads to home plate on a throwing error by Seattle Mariners’ Dee Gordon (9) in the sixth inning at the Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • Oakland Athletics baserunner Ramon Laureano (22) collides with Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Villar (2) as he dives into second base safe on a double in the second inning of their baseball game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

  • OAKLAND, CA – MAY 12: Oakland Athletics’ Ramon Laureano (22) scores a run against Cleveland Indians’ Roberto Perez (55) off of a single by Oakland Athletics’ Jurickson Profar (23) in the third inning at the Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, May 12, 2019. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

of

Expand
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

CLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile device

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Ramon Laureano is in a zone; perhaps best evidenced by one singular play in the A’s win on Friday night.

Laureano cracked a what looked like a routine ground ball single up the middle of diamond and, sniffing out the extra maneuvers centerfielder Max Kepler would need to turn the play, whipped off his helmet and gunned to second base for a double.

“That’s how he plays,” manager Bob Melvin said of the play. “He’s a very aggressive player, he’s always looking to take the extra base. He’s always looking to put the pressure on somebody in the outfield.”

Sure, Laureano’s improved tremendously on his discipline at the plate. A more consistent swing pattern formed the backbone to a silly rate of success spelled out into a July in which he’s batting .455 with a 1.000 slugging percentage (six home runs and 12 RBIs).

But Laureano’s magic seems to stem from his guts to use his pure athleticism, affinity for improvisation, and speed to go a bit off-script. The initial horror when he goes off the book and awe when his risks pay off. it’s a quality that’s shaped a few Bay Area sports icons.

Like, Rickey Henderson perhaps? Watch the two A’s run side by side, the intense arm motions and gusto draw parallels, Melvin said.

“They’re low to the ground, very strong lower half,” he said. “So he looks like a guy who’s a high maintenance runner, turf’s flying everywhere, just a real strong lower half.”

But Henderson’s base-stealing invincibility was baked into his game — it became a known variable that drew shock and awe throughout his 25-year career. Laureano is just 146 games into his big league career, so mystery still colors his game.

Laureano’s decision to turn a single into a double — to take risks in big games against first-place teams and defy unspoken guidelines for how to play the game the right way — is reminiscent of some other Bay Area sports icons.

Like, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson?

Melvin himself characterized Laureano’s style in one thought bubble.

“It’s kind of like the 3-point shot where you say ‘no, no,no’ and it goes in and you’re like ‘yeah, yeah, yeah,’” he said.

Laureano isn’t revolutionizing the sport, per say, but there’s intrigue to his style of play that’s undeniably propelled the A’s offense and defense this season. His defensive metrics don’t register atop the league. His -2.2 SABR Defensive Index rating is one of the worst; the statistic measures efficiency, and Laureano often runs questionable routes in center field. But he makes up for it with an innate ability to alter the course of a game with one home run-robbing catch or gun-down throw.

Those gaudy July numbers aren’t a product of ordinary routine, but his penchant for the extraordinary not only adds an extra layer of potency to this A’s offense, but is must-watch for Bay Area sports fans.

 

 

 

blog comments powered by Disqus