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April 20, 2011

Tater Trot Tracker

Peter Bourjos Pushes the Limits

by Larry Granillo

On Tuesday, Los Angeles Angels centerfielder Peter Bourjos had himself quite the game. He finished the night 4-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBIs en route to a 15-4 Los Angeles rout of the hometown Texas Rangers. Of his three hits, two went for extra bases: one a double and one a two-run, seventh inning home run. That's a strong night for anyone, let alone the Angels' number-nine hitter.

Bourjos's third hit on the night was by far the most interesting. Technically, it was a run-scoring single in the sixth, but box scores don't always tell the whole tale.

See the Peter Bourjos "single" here.

It started as a simple line-drive base hit off a fastball that floated over the plate. Shortstop Elvis Andrus, who was shading towards the bag to hold on runner Mark Trumbo, ranged to his right, but didn't get close enough to even stick his glove out. Leftfielder David Murphy came charging in. If he could scoop up the ball quickly, he might have a chance to nail Trumbo at the plate. He tried to do too much. The ball scooted over Murphy's glove and kept on rolling. Murphy gave chase, but couldn't corral it until after it had reached the wall.

By this time, the Angels broadcaster was yelling. "Bourjos can fly! He's heading to third. He's going to be waved around! And he is going to score easily! A Little League home run for Peter Bourjos."

It wasn't even close. Bourjos slid into the plate to be safe, but he probably could have done a cartwheel and still made it home without the ball ever getting close to him. It was still sailing over the infield by the time he scored (it ended up at the backstop).

As fun as this play was to watch, it's really not all that rare. Misplayed balls leading to inside-the-park home runs (or their scored-as-an-error equivalent) happen a couple of times a month. So why am I devoting an entire post to this single? In all the home runs I've watched, I have never seen someone fly around the bases quicker than Bourjos. In his four-base single, Bourjos rounded the bases in 14.02 seconds. The fastest single trot in 2010 was this inside-the-park home run by Angel Pagan, and it came in at 14.48 seconds. Bourjos's trot was nearly a full half-second quicker than Pagan's.

I don't know exactly what the theoretical limit to a 360-foot home run trot is, but I have to imagine we're pushing it pretty close with this Bourjos "single". We'll just have to hope that someone even faster than Peter Bourjos gets himself into a similar situation and runs it out with full effort. I'm not sure someone like that exists, but I would've said the same thing about Angel Pagan just two days ago. That's why we watch the trots.

Related Content:  Peter Bourjos

5 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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BurrRutledge

I dunno, he seemed a bit winded afterwards.

Four-base single. I like that.

Apr 20, 2011 20:08 PM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

Awesome wheels. Watching the Angels series against the Jays last week, I realized that I had never before seen a rangier CF. The play reminds me of a four-base double I hit in the Israeli men's championships a few years ago. I hit a low liner off a high BP-ish fastball that went under a diving CF's glove and skirted away. Figuring on a double, a slid into 2B just ahead of the throw back to the infield. While I beat the throw, the ball was tossed well high and off the mark, to the point where the third-baseman could not get to it. I got up and raced towards third, again sliding into the bag. The throw from foul territory to third again missed the mark, going out into left field. I got up and headed home once more sliding. Not quite as fast as Bourgos, but way dirtier and loads of fun. My wife calls it my Al Bundy moment.

Apr 21, 2011 06:57 AM
rating: 0
 
jhardman

David Murphy must have Bourjos nightmares after this series. Bourjos tripled to center last night with Murphy in CF. (Bourjos would have easily caught that ball.) He was on third faster than any player I've ever seen leg out a triple. As Tom Grieve pointed out on the Rangers TV broadcast - he turns the corners on the bases better than anyone he had seen. (paraphrased because I couldn't exactly quote him)

Apr 21, 2011 12:46 PM
rating: 0
 
Llarry

Extrapolate Usain Bolt's 100m time (9.58s) to 360 feet, you get 10.51 seconds.

Consider the dirt being looser than a hard track, corners at the bases (and the potential need to adjust stride to hit them), and the time needed to follow through the swing, and I'd have a hard time seeing anything less than say mid-13s.

Apr 21, 2011 17:55 PM
rating: 0
 
kcshankd

Assuming he squares up a ball this year and hits a sinking liner to center, I'm betting Jarrod Dyson could beat that time.

Apr 22, 2011 02:54 AM
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