Beek's Blog: Nuts automatic up the middle

Double play combination steadiest in Modesto in many years

08/17/2013 5:20 PM

08/17/2013 5:20 PM

MODESTO - With all of the great shortstops that have come through Modesto in the last 20 years, from Miguel Tejada and Bobby Crosby with Oakland through Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Rutledge with Colorado, there has been a dearth of great double play combinations.

There is a reason for that. Seldom do shortstop-second base combinations get the chance to spend a lot of time together, which is vital in getting the timing down just right to be able to turn two consistently.

There is one combo that comes to mind. The 1999 middle defense of shortstop Caonabo Cosme and second baseman Esteban German was very good, but this year’s duo of Trevor Story at shortstop and Taylor Featherston at second base might have them beat as far as the speed in which they can turn a double play.

“We’ve been together for two years now and we’re good buddies,” Featherston said. “We also know exactly where we want throws and there have been a lot of ground balls between the two of us the last two years so there’s an extremely high comfort level.”

It would be great to have statistical evidence to back up the claim that these two guys are very good up the middle, but the league doesn’t break down defensive stats by double-play combination. We do know, however, that the Nuts have turned 110 double plays this season, second in the league to the 118 that Bakersfield has turned.

So you just have to take my word for it that the Story-to-Featherston combo is the best I’ve seen in Modesto in many years.

And on top of that, Featherston, who was drafted as a shortstop out of Texas Christian University, has become a fan of the fellow Texan who mans that position for the Nuts.

“Trevor’s a heck of a shortstop and it’s an honor playing with him every day,” Featherston said. “I hope he feels the same way. We both have a lot of confidence in each other and I know the pitchers feel the same way. If there’s a ball hit up the middle, it’s going to be an out.”





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