Not all Home Runs are created equal
Some home runs are prodigious, jaw dropping events. They make you stop what you’re doing and stare in wonder. These ones usually come off the bats of sluggers like Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge and run a high risk of injuring some unsuspecting fan trying to purchase overpriced concessions at the upper level bar. They’re beautiful and as a result they find their way to the nightly highlight reels and season recaps.
There are other types of home runs however – or a far as we are concerned just one other type – and those are the weak fly balls that somehow sneak out and leave you sitting there exclaiming ‘how on Earth did that ball get out?’. They unanimously feel as though they come against your favorite team in the highest leverage situation of the game, off the bat of a little known, light hitting fifth outfielder. They’re not pretty but they’re spectacular in their own right and it is those home runs we gather here today to celebrate.
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If I asked you to recall the cheapest home run of 2017 I imagine you’d probably recall this beauty off the bat of Todd Frazier in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series:
But with an exit velocity of 100.5 miles per hour, that pitch is hit far too hard to come even close to our cheapest home run of the season champion. So no, Todd Frazier does not earn the title of cheapest home run in 2017 – though it may be on the short list of most impressive. Instead, let’s move on to our soft-fly hitting champions.
Thanks to the work of those at BaseballSavant, we can search for the exit velocities on all home runs hit in 2017 (or any other StatCast year for that matter). From there it only takes a simple sort before you’re staring at the masters of weakly hit home runs. So with out any further delay, let’s crown our champions for 2017.
Runner Up: Darwin Barney – 88.6 mph, 34 degrees
Of course Darwin Barney is on this list. The defensive specialist lacks any notable power though managed to sneak this one out against an unsuspecting Tyson Ross. This one clocks in at just 88.6 miles per hour and though you wouldn’t know it from Barney’s reaction, carried just a 1% home run probability. Sorry Tyson Ross you got screwed here.
Champion: Alex Bregman – 88.3 mph, 27 degrees
Bregman appears to have some natural skill in this area, with three of the top 30 weakly hit home runs belonging to his name. This one is the champion however, as Justin Wilson became yet another victim of the Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park. At 88.3 mph and a 27 degree launch angle, this beauty also carries a home run probability of just 1% but at .4 mph slower earns Bregman the heralded title of 2017 Cheapest Home Run Champion.
So there they are, the cheapest, weakest home runs of the 2017 season in all their glory. Take a moment before the New Year to admire them before we turn the page to 2018 and start it all over again.
Our congratulations go out to all the nominees and commiserations to all those pitchers victimized by these displays of sorcery.
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