The great baseball skills competition — final four

Welcome to the Great Baseball Skills Competition, a weeklong breakdown and ranking of baseball’s elite and unique talents. Baseball field images Each day this week, we have taken an aspect of the game and profed the players who best demonstrate specific skills.

After examining those who have the top defensive traits, unique abilities on the mound, unparalleled skills at the plate and elite athleticism, your voting has determined the champion of our Great Baseball Skills Competition final four. Lattice energy And the winner is … Facebook stock history Champion: Clayton Kershaw

What makes him great: Clayton Kershaw is not a pitcher who overwhelms you with velocity, but rather a combination of pitches with nasty looks and nasty breaks. Home design ideas Though Kershaw has an excellent fastball, what separates him is that he has an outstanding curveball and slider.

By Fangraphs’ pitch-value stat, his ranks as the most valuable slider among starting pitchers over the past three seasons. Simple landscaping ideas His curveball ranks third to Corey Kluber and Lance McCullers.

Opponents slashlined .142/.157/.208 against it in that span. Gardening zones The .364 OPS was the lowest among 125 pitchers who qualified (made at least 50 starts). Facebook desktop login Next lowest was Jon Lester’s .417 and Kluber’s .424.

Kershaw’s slider has a sharp break, and hitters swing right over the top of it. Softball positions Over the past three seasons, Kershaw has induced misses on 45 percent of swings against it. Sales pitch That’s third best in the majors, trailing only Noah Syndergaard and Max Scherzer.

Kershaw’s curveball has a loop to it. Frances bean cobain courtney love You might swing over the top of it, or you might buckle at the knees. Dot patio Whatever you do, you’re not hitting it. Frances bean cobain 2016 Opponents’ batting averages against it the past five seasons: .083, .096, .122, .121, .118. Realtime landscaping architect 2014 crack That comes out to .109 for the five-year span, best in the majors. Mls softball downey — Simon

What makes him great: One thing old-timers love to complain about is that nobody has a good throwing arms anymore, not like the good ol’ days … Outdoor patio bars near me you know, like the late 1970s and 1980s when guys like Jesse Barfield, Dwight Evans, Dave Parker, Ellis Valentine, Glenn Wilson and Bo Jackson all had legendary cannons. Fantasy football 2016 rankings Wait … Softball sayings that’s the era I grew up in, which makes me an … Pinch hitter game oh, never mind.

Anyway, one thing fans of all ages can agree on: Cespedes has a throwing arm that matches the best of any generation. Spring training florida His throw from deep in the left-field corner to nail Howie Kendrick at home plate in 2014 was an instant classic, one of 16 assists he had that season, which led all outfielders. Jain irrigation news Here’s another video of his best throws that season.

While 2014 was his peak season in assists, Cespedes added 13 in 2015 and nine in 2016 — in part because runners haven’t been testing him as often. Baseball scores For example, when he played left field, runners took the extra base — such as first to home on double or first to third on a single — just 16 times in 63 opportunities. Fantasy sports new york His “hold” percentage of 71.4 percent was above the MLB average of 62.5 percent for left fielders. Washington softball schedule If there’s a knock against Cespedes, it’s that since he doesn’t like to play right field, his arm is wasted somewhat in left field, where there are few opportunities to throw out advancing runners. Facebook live notifications — David Schoenfield

They said it: Cespedes has one of the strongest arms in baseball and can throw runners out at the plate from the warning track without hitting the cutoff man or bouncing the ball to the catcher. Pervious concrete An absolute missile of an arm that puts him in the conversation with some of the best outfield arms of all time, a level just below the likes of Vladimir Guerrero, Barfield and Roberto Clemente and in the conversation with Yasiel Puig, Jose Guillen and Jackson. Lattice method — ESPN Insider Jim Bowden

What makes him great: Posey was the best in baseball at getting his pitchers extra called strikes last season. Football field background By our measure, he recorded 241 more than the average catcher would have on the same assortment of pitches. What is pitchfork In second place for 2016 was Yasmani Grandal at 221.

Posey was almost equally good at making sure pitches in the strike zone were called strikes and getting pitches out of the strike zone but close called as strikes. Football online games “Subtle glove manipulation” is the key to his success, according to longtime Rockies catching instructor Jerry Weinstein.

Added our Jim Bowden: “His consistent targets and setup are so solid and special that it can be deceptive to umpires on certain pitches that land outside the zone, but give the illusion they are on the black.”

Posey is able to adjust his skill to the work of the pitcher. Minor league baseball teams in texas He was in lock-step with both longtime teammates, such as Madison Bumgarner, and newcomers, including Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.

With Bumgarner, Posey widens the outside part of the strike zone against a right-handed hitter. Small garden ideas With Cueto and Samardzija, he gets the extra strikes at the outer, inner, top and bottom edges of the zone. Slow pitch softball hitting drills Most importantly, Posey gives his pitchers peace of mind. How to pitch a movie idea — Mark Simon

They said it: What Buster Posey does with pitch framing is criminal. Front yard landscaping We think of framing as making a pitch look pretty, but what he is doing is framing the hitter — setting the hitter up for imminent failure and somehow putting the blame on the hitter. Wicker park Posey has a future on the wrong side of the law if he so desires. How to build a deck step by step with pictures — ESPN baseball analyst Doug Glanville

What makes him great: You could make a case for any number of hitters as the best two-strike hitter in baseball, and Altuve belongs in consideration, even if there’s not universal agreement on the subject. College softball coach salary He’s a hitter who gets the most out of his body and the most out of every at-bat. Serious softball team names Altuve hit .275 (fourth in the majors) with two strikes last season. Tee ball drills His .266 two-strike batting average over the past three seasons is the best in the majors. Baseball scores live His 13 percent swing rate in that span is 15th lowest, and he ranked as the second-toughest batter to strike out in the American League in each of the past three seasons.

Altuve also had modest two-strike power, and his improvements in that area were in line with his overall improvements as a hitter. Garden of words quotes He totaled five two-strike home runs in the first five seasons of his career. Rock garden designs He hit six in 2016, along with 14 doubles and a triple.

It’s this type of output that has helped Altuve win two batting titles in the past three seasons. Masonry retaining wall design example Altuve is an MVP-caliber performer as he enters the prime of his career. Gardening tips for beginners — Mark Simon

They said it: I think Altuve actually laughs when he gets two strikes. Ewing irrigation locations He thinks it is fun. Mason tools list with pictures Like Mark Grace once told my Cubs teammate in spring training: When you get two strikes on Altuve, it is better for the pitcher to avoid wasting a pitch and throwing the ball down the right-field line before Altuve hits it there. Fabric outlet burlington nc Altuve defines letting the ball get deep; he apparently hits the ball out of the catcher’s hand as he is throwing the ball back to the pitcher. Fantasy basketball draft rankings Now that is deep. Drip coffee starbucks — ESPN baseball analyst Doug Glanville