Picking the best plays from an entire baseball season is no easy task. Thirty teams each play 162 games, so there are thousands of plays to pick from. Here are some of the very best from a memorable season of Major League Baseball.

Andrew Benintendi’s catch in Game 4 of the ALCS
Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi’s catch in Game 4 of the ALCS was the play of the MLB season. (Photo: Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

1. From the Woodwork

Philadelphia Phillies centerfielder Odubel Herrera sprints to take back this ball — off the bat of Atlanta Braves first basemen Freddie Freeman — from the bushes of Citizens Bank Park, taking a two-run home run away from Freeman in the third inning of this NL East matchup.

2. Smooth Criminal

This ball batted into the hole by New York Yankees second basemen Gleyber Torres was looking like a base hit until Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa made this robbery look too easy — throwing a strike from shallow left field to nab Torres at first base.

3. Seager Saves Paxton’s No-Hitter

On May 8, Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton tossed a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays. But it might not have been, if not for Kyle Seager’s dazzling backhanded stop and throw across the diamond to end the seventh inning. Paxton, who was appreciative of the effort, completed the third no-hitter of the 2018 season.

4. Dyson Tracks, Then Robs Home Run

First, Arizona Diamondbacks centerfielder Jarrod Dyson had to track down this ball as it traveled towards the fence. Second, he had to elevate to make the play after locating it. He did both, and took a home run away from the Brewers’ Domingo Santana.

5. Horizontal in Houston

An early jump allows Houston Astros centerfielder Tony Kemp to reach this ball after a dead sprint and full extension, ending the third inning in this game against the Cleveland Indians.

6. I Got Your Back

Milwaukee Brewers centerfielder Lorenzo Cain gets the assist, however unintentional it may have been, from teammate Orlando Arcia in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Phillies.

7. … I Got Your Back, Too

More teammates helping teammates. This time Minnesota Twins shortstop Ehire Adrianza is perfectly positioned to snag and fire for the out after a ground ball deflected off the glove of third baseman Eduardo Escobar and Miguel Sano finishes it with a smooth pick at first base.

8. The Whole Package

Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco’s momentum from this backhand stop took him into foul territory, but in one fluid motion he jumps and fires a strike to first base for the out.

9. Conforto Chases Down Slicing Liner

Not much went right for the New York Mets this season, but this play was one of them. Here, Centerfielder Michael Conforto tracks down a well-struck line drive that is slicing away from him. He gets as close as he can to the ball before leaving his feet to make a fully-extended diving catch in front of the Citi Field crowd in Queens.

10. Dee Gordon Saves a Run

At first, it looked like this soft line drive off the bat of Ian Kinsler was going to be an RBI single, but Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon got parallel to the ground and made this diving catch to end the eighth inning.

11. Defense Wins Championships

The Boston Red Sox won the World Series this year for many reasons — one of which was the team’s stellar play on defense. No player on the Red Sox does his job on defense better than centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who picked this sinking line drive off the warning track before sliding into the Green Monster at Fenway Park. Bradley Jr. held on for the out.

12. 321-Foot Cannon Fire

The best throw of the entire 2018 MLB baseball season might belong to Oakland Athletics centerfielder Ramon Laureano. In the bottom of the third inning of this game against the Los Angeles Angels, Laureano makes a difficult running catch before planting and firing a 321-foot strike from the outfield wall to the chest of his first baseman for an incredible inning-ending double play.

13. Um, I Need Another Beer …

Fans can get in on the action, too. This Padre fan got a new souvenir, and probably a new beer, after this Eric Hosmer home run splashed down in his beverage.

14. Walk-Off Out at Home

The Arizona Diamondbacks looked like they were about to tie this game against the Atlanta Braves with a two-out, two-run RBI single in the bottom of the 10th. But because of a rangy stop from Dansby Swanson and the ensuing throw to the plate, only one run scored and the Braves won the game.

15. Every Inch Matters

Seattle Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger needed all 6’2″ of his frame to catch this ball off the bat of Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Haniger was somehow able to reach the ball and make the catch that ended the game and got the Mariners the win.

16. Leather Champions

No defensive play from the 2018 season was more meaningful than this one made by Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi. The Houston Astros trailed Boston by two runs with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship series. A base hit would have tied the game for Houston and moved the winning run into scoring position, but Benintendi had other plans. His diving effort to catch the ball just before it hit the outfield grass won the game for the Red Sox, giving them a commanding 3-1 series lead in the ALCS.

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