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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Juan Soto blasts historic home run - just as his hitting coach guaranteed

Juan Soto was the best teenage hitter in Major League Baseball history, and he might be the best 20-year old hitter in MLB history, too.

His exploits at the plate over the past two seasons have ranged from impressive to historic, and everything in between.

He grew his legend even more Tuesday evening, launching a jaw-dropping home run to the train tracks in Houston.

This is a flat-out bomb. Left-handed hitters just don’t hit home runs to this part of Minute Maid Park.

 

QLE Posted: October 23, 2019 at 12:39 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: gerrit cole, home runs, juan soto, kevin long, predictions, world series

Zimmerman full circle with HR trot for Nats in World Series

HOUSTON (AP) — Ryan Zimmerman has come full circle, with a trot around the bases for the Washington Nationals.

The first amateur player ever drafted by the Nationals in 2005, and the only person to wear their jersey during all 15 seasons the team has existed, Zimmerman hit their first World Series home run.

With his deep blast to center field with two outs in the second inning Tuesday night — with Houston Astros starter Gerrit Cole immediately throwing his right arm up knowing the ball was long gone — the 35-year-old Zimmerman also scored the team’s first-ever run in the World Series.

Washington trailed when Zimmerman homered but 20-year-old Juan Soto tied the game with an impressive homer of his own leading off the fourth and added a two-run double an inning later and the Nationals held on for a 5-4 victory.

Feels symbolic, doesn’t it?

 

QLE Posted: October 23, 2019 at 12:24 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs, nationals, ryan zimmerman, world series

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Alonso sets rookie HR record with No. 53

NEW YORK—Shortly after Pete Alonso matched Aaron Judge’s Major League rookie home run record on Friday night, Judge said in no uncertain terms that Alonso would soon stand alone atop the leaderboard. No matter that only two games remained in the season. Alonso’s reputation had reached the point that the record was going to fall, in Judge’s words, “for sure.”

Not 24 hours later, Alonso made good on that prediction in the Mets’ 3-0 win over the Braves at Citi Field. The presumptive National League Rookie of the Year launched his 53rd home run over the center-field fence to stand above every rookie in MLB history.

Aware as soon as he hit it that the ball was going out, Alonso walked slowly toward first base, then thrust both hands in the air as he rounded his bases. By the time he returned to the dugout, many of his teammates were outside of it waiting for him.

The record-breaking shot marked the culmination of one of the most productive rookie seasons in Major League history. Alonso also has 120 RBIs, putting him four off the Mets’ franchise record that David Wright and Mike Piazza share.

And the milestones keep on coming!

 

QLE Posted: September 29, 2019 at 12:08 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs, milestones, pete alonso, rookies

Friday, September 27, 2019

Twins become first team to hit 300 home runs in a season

The 2019 season has set all kinds of home run records, thanks in large part to the juiced baseball. With the regular season just about finished, one more record was set. The Twins became the first team in baseball history to hit 300 home runs. The milestone homer was slugged by Jonathan Schoop, a two-run blast in the seventh inning off of José Cisnero. Willians Astudillo added a solo shot in the eighth for No. 301 in the Twins’ 10-4 win over the Tigers.

Before 2019, the team record for home runs was 267 set in 2018 by the Yankees. And before that, it was the 264 homers hit by the 1997 Mariners. This year’s, Yankees, by the way, will also cross the 300-homer threshold as they’re currently at 299. The Yankees are off today so we’ll likely see them join the club on Friday when they open up their season-ending series in Texas against the Rangers.

So, what chance do we have of the Twins and Yankees engaging in all sorts of shenanigans to end the season on top with home runs?

 

QLE Posted: September 27, 2019 at 12:21 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs, milestones, twins

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Why Home Runs Will Be More Important Than Ever in October

Back when Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s made an annual habit of departing early from the playoffs, Beane retaliated against the narrative that his teams didn’t put the ball in play enough, didn’t bunt or steal enough or didn’t defend well enough–in short, that they “weren’t built for the postseason.”

Beane, the executive vice president of baseball operations for Oakland, pointed out that in losing four straight Division Series from 2000-03 his team actually struck out less than its opponents in three of them.

“Do you know what wins in the postseason?” he told me. “Hit more home runs than the other team. That’s what wins. Almost nothing has a greater impact.”

Beane is right. Take the 33 postseason games from last year. Opponents hit the same number of home runs in 10 of those games. In the others, the team that out-homered its opponent went 19-4, an 83% win rate.

Is it wrong for me to, after reading this, want things to turn out the other way, just to demonstrate the dangers of this sort of prediction?

 

QLE Posted: September 24, 2019 at 12:34 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs, playoffs

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Nelson Cruz hits career homer No. 400 before Twins hold off Royals 12-8

Nelson Cruz is a man of his word.

Twice before the season started, Cruz told team officials he planned to reach 400 home runs this season. The second time came during spring training, when he initiated a conversation with baseball communication director Dustin Morse about ways he could raise funds for charities off reaching 400.

When informed that would require him to hit 40 home runs, the then-38-year-old Cruz nodded and said, “Yes.”

Despite two trips to the injured list because of left wrist problems, Cruz’s actions have backed up his statements. His 40th home run of the season — and 400th of his career — helped the Twins down Kansas City 12-8 on Sunday for their third victory in the four-game series.

A reminder of how much the power game has changed: thirty years ago, there would be HOF arguments around Cruz in direct relation to his hitting this milestone.

 

QLE Posted: September 22, 2019 at 11:48 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs, milestones, nelson cruz

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Alonso slugs 50th, now 2 away from Judge’s mark

Another night, another powerful statement from Pete Alonso.

The rookie Mets slugger hit his major league-leading 50th home run of the season Friday, sending a towering two-run shot to deep right-center field in the eighth inning to help send New York to an 8-1 victory against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Alonso became the second rookie in major league history to hit 50 home runs, and now is just two shy of the mark set by the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who hit 52 in his first season in 2017. Alonso and the Mets have nine games left in the regular season.

“That’s just mind-boggling to me,” Alonso told SNY. “I’m a huge baseball fan. I’ve always been a baseball fan my entire life and there’s so many great players who played this game. It’s just nuts—it’s just nuts to think about.”

I forget- is fifty home runs in a season less impressive because of how many home runs have been hit, or still with some merit because so many of the home runs have been a bunch of people hitting twenty?

 

QLE Posted: September 21, 2019 at 12:26 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs, pete alonso

Friday, September 20, 2019

Acuña becomes third player to hit 40 homers at 21 or younger

ATLANTA – Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves has become only the third player in baseball history to hit 40 homers while 21 years old or younger.

The other two were Eddie Mathews and Mel Ott, who are both in the Hall of Fame.

The 21-year-old Acuña launched a two-run shot Thursday in the third inning, a towering 432-foot drive into the second level at SunTrust Park off Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola.

So, does this mean he’ll hit 513 home runs?

QLE Posted: September 20, 2019 at 12:16 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: eddie mathews, home runs, mel ott, ronald acuna

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Juicy stat: MLB sets record for most home runs in a season

Major League Baseball hitters have punctuated a power-packed year by shattering the record for most home runs in a season.

Jonathan Villar of the Baltimore Orioles connected Wednesday night for the 6,106th homer. That topped the mark of 6,105 set in 2017.

There are plenty more to come, too — the record was broken with 18 days left in the regular season. The rise in home runs during recent seasons has been tied to changes in the baseballs that have made them fly farther.

Villar’s three-run shot off Caleb Ferguson of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camden Yards was the 22nd home run of the night. It was Villar’s career-high 21st homer.

So, at what point do we think the record will be broken next season?

 

QLE Posted: September 12, 2019 at 04:38 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs, jonathan villar, records

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

MLB’s First-Year Stars Are Historically Great This Season

As happened with NFL quarterbacks and pro tennis players, the traditional learning curve for Major League Baseball hitters has been re-drawn, if not outright obliterated. Apprenticeships no longer are required.

For a second consecutive year, first-year players are dominating baseball in numbers like we’ve never seen before. In the footsteps of Juan Soto, Ronald Acuna Jr., Gleyber Torres, Shohei Ohtani and others last season, Pete Alonso, Yordan Alvarez, Vlad Guerrero Jr., Eloy Jimenez, Fernando Tatis Jr. and their fellow freshmen are blowing up the idea that young hitters can’t be trusted until they are allowed time and reps to adjust to big league pitching. This is the era of Plug-and-Play Superstars.

Until last season, there had never been a season in which more than five first-year players hit 15 home runs. Then seven freshmen did so last year. And so far this season, 10 can claim the Freshman 15.

...


Set aside for now the more aerodynamic baseball, which this season is inflating home run numbers. This young hitters trend began a few years ago and has just exploded this year. The game is getting younger because the numbers show young hitters can be trusted–in many cases, more than older players.

So, how much do we buy this particular argument, and, if not, where do we see issues?

 

QLE Posted: September 10, 2019 at 01:45 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: fernando tatis jr., home runs, pete alonso, rookies, vladimir guerrero jr.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

MLB Is a Game of Extremes in 2019. What Does That Mean for the Sport’s Future?

How many times has baseball been declared dead? My colleague Emma Baccellieri attempted to tackle that very question last week and found that writers and columnists have been shoveling dirt on the sport’s shallow grave for the better part of the last 100 years. The game, it seems, is constantly teetering on the edge of extinction, and always changing in a way that leaves its elders fearing for the worst. A few years ago, I stumbled across a piece in one of Sports Illustrated’s earliest issues in which several Hall of Famers were asked if the game had gotten softer. Most said yes, including Jimmie Foxx, who offered a look back to a bygone age: “Today they don’t have the great number of tough players and hitters. That is because life is different. As a kid I used to shovel manure with a pitchfork. Today everything is done by machines.”

The revolution came too late to save Double X from a childhood full of crap, but he’s right that the future—and particularly technology—changed both life and the game. In the most advanced age in human history, baseball now exists in a form that Foxx and the rest of his Cooperstown compatriots would likely barely recognize. Data, analytics, training, nutrition, science—all of those have helped create a generation of players who are, by every measure, the best the sport has ever seen. Baseball has never hosted more talent or more talented players. The result is something you see across the other sports too: Individual performance that is touching the upper bound of human ability, with pitchers and hitters who are stronger and faster than their predecessors.

That’s also created a game, though, that has morphed into a contest of extremes. Two weeks ago, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale decided to trudge through the seemingly annual column that is “old players hate how the game is now played.” To that end, he dug up two of the sport’s resident embarrassing Thanksgiving uncles in Goose Gossage and Pete Rose and recorded their bloviations. Normally, the complaints of such fossils are good for a dismissive gesture and maybe a laugh or two. But there is something to be said about some of what they dislike. “It’s like a video game now,” Gossage carped, later launching into an expletive-filled rant about how general managers now are nerds directly imported from fantasy baseball and the Ivy League into each team’s C-suite. To his chorus are Rose and Lou Piniella, each worrying that the explosion of home runs creates a version of baseball that isn’t baseball.

They’re not wrong. (To be fair, they’re not entirely right; the death of the hit-and-run is not a national crisis, as Piniella would seem to think.) Baseball is all homers and strikeouts now—unsurprisingly given the physical makeup of its stars, men who excel at throwing 97 mph and hitting 110, and by analytically-inclined executives who value and target those specific skills. The future of the game lies in the extremes of power, and it’s worth wondering what baseball will look like the longer that continues. Before the Home Run Derby, ESPN’s Sam Miller imagined a world in which the derby grew out of baseball to become its own hyper-popular sport—one that surpassed its predecessor. Given the game as it now exists, that doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

There is an obvious response to this- but I have a bad feeling I’ll be yelled at if I say it….

QLE Posted: September 04, 2019 at 01:41 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: going to extremes, home runs, strikeouts

Monday, September 02, 2019

Video: Mike Trout becomes youngest player to enter the 200-200 club

Saturday’s 10-4 route of the Red Sox marked an auspicious moment for Angels’ superstar Mike Trout. The 28-year-old center fielder became the youngest player to reach the 200-200 club, a milestone he passed with his 200th career steal in the second inning.

With Brian Goodwin up to bat against Boston right-hander Marcus Walden, Trout seized the opportunity to nab second base as Goodwin swung through an 86-m.p.h. slider. He eventually struck out swinging, rendering the stolen base useless, but it still marked a significant moment for Trout.

Following the stolen base, Trout now has a staggering 283 career home runs and 200 stolen bases under his belt. Per MLB Stats, he’s managed double digits in both categories every season since 2012. He’s joined by Willie Mays (279 HR; 204 SB) and Darryl Strawberry (280 HR; 204 SB) as the only Major League players to produce at least 275 home runs and 200 stolen bases in nine straight seasons.

 

 

QLE Posted: September 02, 2019 at 04:14 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: 200-200, home runs, mike trout, milestones, stolen bases

Friday, August 30, 2019

Twins break MLB record for home runs on road

CHICAGO—The Minnesota Twins set a major league record for home runs on the road in a season, hitting three in Thursday’s 10-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox to lift their total to 141 away from home.

Jake Cave went deep twice, including a leadoff shot in the third against Dylan Cease that gave Minnesota 139 homers on the road, eclipsing the previous mark of 138 set by San Francisco in 2001.

C.J. Cron, the Twins’ next batter, followed with a drive to center to give Minnesota back-to-back homers in the third.

Cave added a shot in the seventh for his second career multihomer game, increasing the Twins’ overall total to 261, which leads the majors and already is the third most in a season in MLB history. The record for homers in a season (267) was set last year by the New York Yankees. The 1997 Seattle Mariners hit 264.

Exhibit #413 involving the excesses of the home run spike this season, ladies and gentlemen.

 

QLE Posted: August 30, 2019 at 05:04 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: home run derby, home runs, twins

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Reds’ Aristides Aquino sets MLB record for most home runs in first 100 plate appearances

Reds rookie superdestroyer Aristides Aquino entered Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins (CIN-MIA GameTracker) sitting on 99 career plate appearances. That’s significant because he came in tied for the most home runs in MLB history through a hitter’s first 100 plate appearances, and he had one shot to own the record all by himself. Here’s what he did with that one shot

13 home runs in 100 plate appearances- prorated for a full season, that’s around 90 home runs.

 

QLE Posted: August 29, 2019 at 08:24 AM | 123 comment(s)
  Beats: aristides aquino, home runs

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

As Pete Alonso breaks Mets record, Carlos Beltran happy for Mets rookie

NEW YORK – Carlos Beltran has only one request of Pete Alonso.

“I hope he hits 55 [homers]. I hope he hits more than that. I will be disappointed if he stops at 42,” Beltran told Yahoo Sports with a laugh during a recent telephone interview. “I hope he continues to have a good season.”

With his 42nd homer Tuesday off Cubs righty Yu Darvish, Alonso, in just his rookie season, has now hit more homers than anyone else in Mets history.

He broke a tie with Beltran, who hit 41 homers in 2006, and former Mets catcher Todd Hundley, who set the previous standard in 1996.

Some words on the setting of a record.

 

QLE Posted: August 28, 2019 at 04:13 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos beltran, home runs, mets, pete alonso

Friday, August 23, 2019

Orioles break MLB record for most home runs allowed in a single season

Just one day after tying the MLB record for most home runs allowed in a season, the Orioles have broken the tie with the 2016 Cincinnati Reds for the most homers allowed by a team in a single season.

On Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles gave up their 259th and 260th home run of 2019. Right fielder Austin Meadows took one long off Orioles starter Asher Wojciechowski in the third inning during the four-game series opener. In the fifth inning, shortstop Willy Adames hit a solo homer, also off Wojciechowski.

So, what other disasters could hit the Orioles, at the rate things are going for them?

 

QLE Posted: August 23, 2019 at 02:59 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs, orioles, records

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Mike Trout hits career-high 42nd home run

With a two-run home run in the first inning of the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Rangers, Angels outfielder both tied Cody Bellinger for the major league lead in home runs and set a new single-season career-high at 42. Trout’s blast opened the scoring, staking the Halos to an early lead.

Trout is batting .300/.445/.669 on the year. The dinger leaves him two RBI shy of 100 for the year, and he’s already at 101 runs scored. MLB can already inscribe Trout’s name on the 2019 AL MVP Award. Per FanGraphs, he has 8.5 WAR, which is almost a full 3.0 WAR more than his next closest competitor, Xander Bogaerts (5.6). The difference between Trout and Bogaerts at No. 2 is about the difference between Bogaerts and Jonathan Villar (2.8) at No. 25.

A reminder that the great players are also benefiting from the home run derby environment in the sport currently.

 

QLE Posted: August 21, 2019 at 03:46 AM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs, mike trout

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Home run robbers get praise _ and swag for spectacular plays

It was late in the 2015 season when Baltimore’s Manny Machado smoked a pitch from Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer into center field at Camden Yards.

Kevin Kiermaier sprinted to the wall, turned and leaped high above it before reaching back and snatching the ball . He banged off the wall and landed on his feet with the ball firmly planted in his glove for the out.

The play sent a dejected Machado back to the dugout and left a stunned Archer simply mouthing, “Wow.”

Archer, now with Pittsburgh, was so grateful for Kiermaier’s extraordinary effort that he searched for a fitting way to thank his center fielder for keeping that run off the board.

A consideration of a rather dramatic aspect of fielding.

 

QLE Posted: August 20, 2019 at 04:37 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: fielding, home runs

Monday, August 19, 2019

Pete Alonso Smashes 40th Home Run to Break NL Rookie Record as Mets Beat Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pete Alonso hit his 40th home run to break the National League rookie record, capping a late outburst by the New York Mets in their 11-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

Michael Conforto hit a long homer in the first inning and drove in four runs. Amed Rosario put the Mets ahead 6-4 with a two-run single in the seventh, and Alonso went deep in the ninth on an 0-2 pitch. He snapped a tie with Cody Bellinger, who launched 39 long balls for the Dodgers in 2017 on the way to winning Rookie of the Year honors.

Back in the thick of a crowded NL wild-card race thanks to a second-half surge, New York completed a 3-3 road trip and improved to 24-10 since the All-Star break.

Alonso also had an RBI double and scored three times during his second consecutive three-hit game. Rosario had three hits and three RBIs in the leadoff spot, and Joe Panik added three hits as the top four batters in the Mets’ lineup combined to go 11 for 18 with nine RBIs and seven runs.

If my math is right, there are 38 more games to go for him- how many more home runs could he obtain between now and then?

QLE Posted: August 19, 2019 at 07:43 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs, pete alonso, records, rookies

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Astros, Reds rookie sluggers rewrite baseball history with three-homer games

The rookies are taking over Major League Baseball.

We’ve heard all the buzz surrounding Pete Alonso, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr., just to name a few.

On Saturday, it was Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros and Aristides Aquino of the Cincinnati Reds who rewrote the history books by becoming the first pair of rookie sluggers to each hit three home runs on the same day.

And that tidbit was just the tip of the iceberg.

So, are the rookies actually taking over, and, if so, why?

QLE Posted: August 11, 2019 at 04:46 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: aristides aquino, astros, home runs, reds, rookies, yordan alvarez

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Twins reach new single-season record with 226th home run

It’s been quite the year for the Twins, who are currently positioned to upstage the 2018 Yankees for most home runs hit in a single MLB season. In the sixth inning of Friday’s 6-2 loss to the Indians, they reached a collective 226 home runs with Eddie Rosario‘s leadoff home run off of right-hander Shane Bieber, shattering the standing franchise record set for single-season homers in 1963.

What was that about the baseballs not being juiced, Manfred?

 

QLE Posted: August 10, 2019 at 08:18 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs, twins

Monday, June 24, 2019

Will Smith makes it 3 rookies in a row to walk it off

The Rockies came to LA 10 games back, a sizable deficit, but one we’ve seen overcome plenty of times. Here is how the three games ended:
Matt Beaty walk-off home run
Alex Verdugo walk-off home run
Will Smith walk-off home run
Three rookies, three home runs, three walk-offs, 13 game lead. This was only Will Smith’s 7th major league game and he already has two walk-off home runs.

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 24, 2019 at 05:18 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, home runs, rookies, walkoff wins

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Keep calm and mash: How the relaxed Twins are rewriting HR-hitting history

On Sunday, Nelson Cruz homered again. It was his fourth straight game in which he went yard, in his first five games back from the injured list. No big deal for a guy who came into this season with 203 home runs over the previous five seasons, right? Back in December, the Minnesota Twins signed the 38-year-old designated hitter to provide this kind of power. But what they didn’t necessarily anticipate was that Cruz would be just one slugger among many, because today’s Twins are putting on an unprecedented display of power at the plate, virtually a season-long Home Run Derby.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 13, 2019 at 09:57 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs, twins

Monday, May 27, 2019

Orioles have no answer for Torres, Yankees

Gary Thorne could probably use a break from the New York Yankees.

Thorne, announcing for Baltimore fans on MASN, provided one of the week’s more amusing moments with his incredulous reaction to yet another home run by New York’s Gleyber Torres against the Orioles. Torres has hit 13 home runs this season, and 10 of them have been against Baltimore.

When Torres went deep in the third inning Wednesday night, Thorne’s reaction felt appropriate.

“That’s to left-center field. Wilkerson back — I, I don’t know,” he said with a mixture of resignation and bewilderment.

And thus an ELO album received its American title….

QLE Posted: May 27, 2019 at 06:59 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, gary thorne, gleyber torres, home runs, orioles

Friday, May 24, 2019

Anthony Rizzo breaks Budweiser sign with monster homer

Last night the Phillies were in Chicago to face the Cubs. The lead in to the game was all about how Cole Hamels was facing his former team. As I mentioned in the recaps this morning that sort of fizzled — Hamels got a no-decision after pitching four middling innings — but there was something pretty spectacular in the game all the same.

The spectacular thing: Anthony Rizzo‘s third inning homer off of Phillies’ starter Cole Irvin. In addition to erasing a 3-0 Philly lead, it was an absolute moon shot that hit off the Budweiser sign up above the right field scoreboard. Even better: it broke the dang sign. Watch the “d” when the ball gets there

Well, that’s one way to editorialize about that beer…..

 

QLE Posted: May 24, 2019 at 07:29 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: anthony rizzo, broken signs, home runs

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