The top catches of 2012

Awesome defensive plays are something that seem to bring all baseball fans together. Be it an incredible, homer-robbing catch, a dive into the crowd or dugout to take away an extra chance for a batter, or an all-out diving effort that saves a hit, great defense is something that draws eyes to the game and gets even the most casual observer to say "whoa". There were a lot of memorable catches this season, but here are what we think are the ten most memorable, for whatever reason.

June 13th: Gregor Blanco saves the perfect game.

With Matt Cain just nine outs from perfection, Gregor Blanco saved his bacon with this amazing diving catch into no man's land in right center field at AT&T Park. Cain shut down the Astros the rest of the way, and got his perfect game, owing a huge debt to Blanco in the process.

June 19th: Starlin Castro barehands it.

Alejandro de Aza hits a blooper into shallow center field, and Starlin Castro has a beat on it. He gets glove on the ball, but can't hang on…but yet, is able to snag the ball (while running, mind you) with his bare hand.

June 27th: Mike Trout robs JJ Hardy.

The legend of Mike Trout picked up steam in the first half of the season, but this homer-robbing catch of JJ Hardy at the end of June at Camden Yards opened the eyes of the entire baseball world, and told everyone who already wasn't paying attention that they really should be looking at this guy.

July 7th: Jason Heyward goes full extension.

Braves fans who thought Jeff Francoeur was some sort of demi-god on defense in right field learned their lesson in 2012, when Jason Heyward won a deserved Gold Glove and showed fans what great defense is all about. On this July day, Heyward somehow made this catch of a sinking liner hit by Juan Pierre, potentially saving three bases.

July 24th: Angel Pagan dives, tumbles, and gets two.

Shades of the Gregor Blanco catch during Matt Cain's perfect game, Angel Pagan dove into the left center field gap, made an unreal catch, and somehow fired the ball into the infield to double Chase Headley off of first base. Absolutely breathtaking.

July 25th: Josh Reddick is Spiderman.

This wasn't necessary at all. But still, it was pretty cool to see Josh Reddick climb the wall at Rogers Centre, hang there like Spiderman, and make the catch on this Travis Snider fly ball (that wasn't going to go over the fence anyway).

August 12th: Rajai Davis climbs the wall to rob a homer.

While Josh Reddick's Spiderman catch was impressive, it was really un-needed. When Rajai Davis scaled the wall at Rogers Centre a couple of weeks later, he actually *needed* to climb the fence to rob Casey McGahee of a homer.

August 28th: Brandon Crawford saves the bobble.

Relatively routine pop-up into foul ground up the left field line…Pablo Sandoval overruns the ball, knocks it up into the air, and Brandon Crawford lays out to snag it.

September 7th: Brett Jackson meets the wall.

Andrew McCutchen hits a laser to deep left center field that would bring in two runs, if only it weren't for Brett Jackson leaping into the wall with no regard for his well-being to make the grab. It's almost disturbing to see Jackson seemingly suspended against the wall for a split second before falling to the ground like a bag of rocks.

October 6th: Brandon Belt flips over the railing.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt got on his horse to chase this Zach Cozart popup, tumbling over the railing and into the crowd while managing to hang on to the ball. Man, the Giants had some great defense this year.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.