Friday, April 11, 2008


This is one of those rare instances where I have something nice to say about a member of the Red Sox (and it's not just because he's on my fantasy team this year...although he is).

I want to draw your attention to the fact that Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox is working on a 198-consecutive-games-errorless streak at first base. I think, as of game 2 or 3 of this season, he set the record, and is adding to it each time he plays first base (more on that in a minute).

To me, this is impressive on a number of fronts:

1) First base is, obviously, a high-traffic area. There's a lot that could go wrong - throws from the infield, fielding grounders, pickoff throws, pop-ups in fair or foul territory, throwing the ball all over the diamond, etc.

2) There are a lot of first basemen who have trouble with the above skills. Most common for errors, I would say, are throwing the ball to second to turn the 3-6-3 DP, or, over the course of the season, losing focus for a play or two, and dropping some throws, or letting some get by. That hasn't happened to Youkilis in a long time.

3) This one might be most impressive, and it's what I hinted at above - I said the streak will continue when Youkilis plays first base. The reason that needs to be clarified is because right now, he's filling in for Mike Lowell at third base, since Lowell has been placed on the DL. That's a special first baseman there - how many others around the league have the versatility to pick up and go to the hot corner, without losing much? (Incidentally, the Red Sox don't suffer defensively at first, as the sure-handed Sean Casey steps right in there.)

So Youkilis shores things up at third, and then when Lowell is back, he'll head back over to first. And all the while, he continues to be a hitting/on-base machine (.324 avg., .415 OBP). That's impressive.

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