The base running play of the season
If you have not seen the play yet against the Cubs on Tuesday, please click on this link. Explaining it does not do it justice. The best compliment was that baseball lifers like Bill Schroeder and Jerry Augustine both said on TV they had NEVER seen that happen before. The intelligence, quick-thinking, and awareness were at another level.
Christian Yelich is a great base runner, but even he did not realize what was going on. Cain orchestrated the entire thing. It was just gravy that Travis Shaw paid it off with a 2-RBI double with Cain scoring from first.
That play is even more amazing when you realize that Lorenzo Cain received a late introduction to baseball. He only started playing the game his sophomore year after being cut from the basketball team. This is clearly not the story of the kid that has a bat in his hands when he was 2-years old. Many proponents of the Cain signing did point to having more “tread on his tires” after this late start to playing. He is definitely not slowing down yet.
Intangibles and other metrics
We have gone this far and his fantastic defense has yet to be mentioned. The lead was purposely buried. All of the points prior should be enough to prove his value, but adding his graceful play in center field should put him over the top. He is 15th in Major League Baseball in overall WAR. He is even better when you consider defensive WAR, where he is 5th in baseball at 1.3.
The average Milwaukee Brewers fan likely does not need advanced stats to know that their new center fielder is holding it down defensively. Cain’s first step is amazing. He never looks like he is out of control and makes the difficult catch look routine. How long can he roam out there as he gets older? That’s a discussion for another day, but Mike Cameron did play out there well into his late 30’s.