SAN DIEGO -- During the early stages of Tuesday night's 2-0 win over the Padres, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman told umpire Eric Cooper to be alert for Kris Medlen's quick pickoff move. The advice proved to be sound, as Medlen had two successful pickoff attempts during the game.
"I've never seen anybody quicker than Med and he seems to always put it right where he needs to, to give us a chance to get them out," Freeman said. "He makes every play over there close."
In the five starts Medlen has made since joining the starting rotation, he has compiled a 0.66 ERA and limited opponents to a .242 on-base percentage. His 28 1/3-innings scoreless streak is the Braves' longest since Greg Maddux tosses 39 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings in 2000.
With the Braves winning each of his past 17 starts dating back to the 2010 season, it seems safe to say Medlen has proven he is a talented pitcher. But with the way he fields his position and the quickness he has shown with his pickoff moves, he has provided the reminder that he was a talented athlete before he began focusing on pitching.
"I'm a former shortstop. I used to be good at stuff, like playing baseball and hitting and stuff," Medlen said. "That's one thing that stuck with me was my quick feet. You guys have been around me enough to know that I can't really stand still. It's just one of those quick things that I've developed and it's helped me control the run game early in my career."
Since making his Major League debut in 2009, Medlen has recorded six pickoffs, including three this season. Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto (eight) and New York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (four) are the only right-handed pitchers with more pickoffs this year.