I’ve invented a statistic!

Not a metric, mind you, but a painfully simple measure of something that has been around since baseball has existed.

Introducing: Shutterdowns.

On their penultimate home stand, the Colorado Rockies were facing the Chicago Cubs at Coors Field and held a four-run advantage in the eighth. The visitors were in desperate need of a run and a win and had the bases loaded, but when a medium-deep liner to centerfield landed in the glove of Brenton Doyle, Seiya Suzuki, who had already been thrown out at home in the series, took just a few steps before he shutterdown.

He didn’t make an out, but he prevented a run, maybe even stopped a rally. And there should be a stat for that. Well, now there is. 

Kyle Freeland tells me that these types of plays, which have become commonplace for Doyle and fellow outfield rookie Nolan Jones, are akin to major swing plays in the NBA or NFL.

The Denver Nuggets fan says it can feel a lot like a big block at the rim followed by a dunk or 3-pointer down on the other side but maybe feels even closer to when his Denver Broncos get an interception in the end zone. Y’know, hypothetically.

“Those are very comparable,” he tells me. “Especially with a pick down in the red zone where a team is in a scoring position scenario and then all of a sudden, they’re not because of one play and more than likely because of one individual, sometimes a couple. Those kind of momentum swings definitely bring a new energy into your dugout, into your team, and onto the field.”

Reliever Tyler Kinley was in the process of taking over as the club’s new closer down the stretch and was on the mound to witness one of Doyle’s most recent shutterdowns.

“It fires us up on the mound so much because now we’re so much more confident,” he told me after securing the save. “We know we can give up a flyball because the horses we have in the outfield are not only going to run it down they’re going to throw everybody out.”

In the first game of a double header against the Dodgers, kicking off the final home stand of the season, Jones became the MLB leader with his 18th outfield assist of the season despite playing only 87 games in that position.

“That’s a big play,” says Freeland. “It’s not an easy out to make. When they get those, which have been coming in waves for us this year, it’s awesome. It’s an exciting play to watch unfold from on the field.”

Kinley agrees but says that, quite frankly, he’s a bit shocked it’s still happening.

“They’re getting a lot of assists right now and honestly they should not be, because guys should not be running on them, but they continue to test them and they continue to get proven wrong, so we love it,” he says. “It fires us up so much.”

Freeland, too, sees a future full of shutterdowns.

“Like you said, teams are probably going to start testing our arms less just because they are aware of the strength that we have out there, and the accuracy as well. It’s awesome to see our outfield having an impact on another team that way. Seeing them respect the outfield and then not even try. That’s definitely a weapon we have on defense.”

When a shutterdown occurs at first base, it preserves the traditional double play. When it occurs at second with less than two outs, it takes the sacrifice out of play. When it happens at third, it takes a run off the board. Shutterdowns, in short, are rally-killers.

Colorado’s young outfielders have also been known to do it with flair and zest. In fact, an historical amount of flair and zest. 

Despite the fact that Jones has a slight edge in terms of average velocity on his throws, ranking in the 100th percentile on Baseball Savant (meaning nobody in MLB throws harder) Doyle actually recorded the fastest throw of not only the season but of the Statcast era (since 2015) with a 105.7 MPH shutterdown.

So, I’ve invented a game for the 2024 Colorado Rockies outfield.

How it works:


1B: 1 point
2B: 2 points
3B: 3 points


1B: 2 points (and hilarious)
2B: 4 points
3B: 6 points
HP: 8 points


98+: 1 point
100+: 2 points
102+: 3 points
105+: 4 points

It would be fun to compare across MLB, but I am going to have enough of a challenge trying to track this for every Rockies game next season. Still, it should be interesting to see who is making the biggest impact with their arm not just in theory but in a practical sense on a game-to-game basis. What is even more fun is that reports of Zac Veen and Yanquiel Fernandez in the minors suggest their may be new challengers on the horizon. 

As we wrap up our conversation, Freeland thinks back on another play that really encapsulates the reputation that Jones and Doyle have already carved out for themselves.

“You saw it yesterday when they had a runner on third, shallow flyball to CF, and he just absolutely threw one right on the numbers, right to Wynnie (catcher Austin Wynns) and when you look back on video you see the third base coach just kinda almost blocking the guy at third. Just saying ‘you’re not going’ and that’s awesome.” 

Because right now running on these guys isn’t a risk. It’s an out. So you better shutterdown.