SYRACUSE | If Rick Ankiel's arm gets laser sound effects in Washington then Brett Carroll's arm makes base runners look like cartoon characters in Syracuse.
There were a few Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees that skidded to a stop on Sunday before their feet went round and round as they tried to retreat back to the safety of a base during a 6-2 Yankee win over the Chiefs. Syracuse is 32-37 on the year.
On Saturday, Carroll gunned down his tenth runner of the season with a cannon shot from right field. Carroll leads the International League in outfield assists and has been part of an IL leading 10 double plays from the outfield.
He has done it all on just 98 chances.
"It is tremendous when you have a guy that can keep another team from taking an extra 90 feet," Manager Tony Beasley said. "He plays the position with a lot of passion and a lot of desire. You love to see a guy that loves to play both sides. He loves hitting but he loves defense just as much. That is a joy to watch every day."
Carroll isn't only outdoing the league with the glove. He is outdoing himself.
Over the parts of six seasons that Carroll has played in the Majors with the Marlins, Brewers, and Nationals he has 10 assists in 204 chances.
Carroll has needed the outfield frozen ropes to give him time to warm up a cool bat. On Sunday, Carroll hit his fourth home run of the season to extend a six-game hit streak, but his.294 average over the last ten games has raised his BA to .258 over 47 games in Triple-A.
He hit .285 last season in Triple-A Nashville (Milwaukee) in 93 games and .270 in the minors for the year after getting traded to Pawtucket (Boston).
"It is something that has helped me keep a job, honestly," he said about his ability to turn runners into statistics from 300 feet away. "I think defense is just as important as the offensive side. Pitchers want guys that are going to back them up and work hard. It is just trying to make plays and giving (opposition) as few runs as possible."
The formula for pegging out a guy at the plate is a pretty simple one. Carroll even admitted, it is a bit cliché.
"You have to run the play through your head before it happens. You want to ready for a base hit, a fly ball, whatever. You have to play it out before. That way when it happens you know," he explained. "I don't want to take my eye off a ball (to look at a runner) I just want to play through, instinctively, what is going to happen."
Cartoonish runners is usually what happens.