OAKLAND — It probably took too long, but teams finally have learned not to run on Ramón Laureano.
Laureano leads all center fielders with five outfield assists this season, and he has 14 in just 87 career games to lead all outfielders over that span.
"You see the highlights of what he's done," Cleveland Indians third base coach Mike Sarbaugh told NBC Sports California. "He's kind of gotten everybody's attention just because of what he's been able to do."
That highlight reel already is filled with jaw-dropping plays by the 24-year-old Dominican. Last season, Laureano made arguably the greatest throw in baseball history when he doubled Eric Young Jr. off first base from the warning track in center field.
Earlier this season, he stunned Boston's Xander Boegarts with incredible throws on back-to-back nights.
DO NOT RUN ON LAUREANO 🚀 pic.twitter.com/LJKBHRCSka— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) April 2, 2019
OMG LAUREANO 😱😱😱 pic.twitter.com/jFafiYI54V— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) April 3, 2019
"When we play the A's, the first thing we talk about is what he's done with his arm," Sarbaugh said. "It's very impressive, not only the arm strength but the accuracy he's shown. When we come in here, you definitely want to let the baserunners know about what he can do."
That accuracy is what really makes Laureano scary for opposing baserunners. Seemingly every throw he makes is right on the money, even if he's on the run or backpedaling.
"That's what's more impressive than anything is to have the arm strength but to have the accuracy," Sarbaugh said. "You don't always see that. That's very impressive."
So, what approach can an opposing team take against an outfielder like Laureano? Sarbaugh says that while he's certainly aware of Laureano's capabilities, he doesn't want to allow that to completely change his team's mindset.
"You try to balance it," Sarbaugh said. "The game is going to dictate a little bit on how aggressive you can be -- the score and how things are developing. ... If you're more of an aggressive baserunning team, you don't want to completely shut it down just because somebody has a good arm. But also, you're going to take that into account on how much of a risk you want to take."