A better title for this post would probably be 2011 In Extreme Pitches Hit For Home Runs, but that's a little too clunky, and also a little less likely to be read. Look at how I have tricked you with my words! And now that you're in here, you're committed to being in here and seeing what it's all about. Go ahead, try to leave. You can't. You're too curious. "There might be .gifs," you think to yourself. There are .gifs.
Basically, I was sitting around Thursday afternoon, and I got to wondering what the fastest pitch was that got hit for a homer last season. Then I started wondering about other extremes. Slowest? Highest? Lowest? Most grooved? And so on.
I knew where to check, so I set off to research. Maybe it's a bit too late to be reflecting on the 2011 season, but I haven't seen any more recent baseball. Have you seen any more recent baseball? The way I figure, we can watch 2011 clips until we have clips from 2012, and we don't have clips from 2012.
I probably don't need to write any more introduction. You get the point. Let's get to the fun stuff. The answer-y stuff.
- Nelson Cruz, facing Justin Verlander
- October 13
- 99.9 miles per hour
- 357 feet
When I told Neyer about this, his first question was, "How far did it go?" In truth, it didn't go that far, for a home run. Especially for a home run hit by Nelson Cruz. But that's on a horizontal scale. Cruz hit the living crap out of this pitch and launched it into the air. The pitch was essentially a hundred miles per hour.
If you guessed the pitcher ahead of time, congratulations, you are a fan of baseball. If you guessed the hitter ahead of time, congratulations, you're weird and I'm uncomfortable around you.
Slowest Pitch, Non-Wakefield
I don't know what I expected this to look like. I guess I expected this to look pretty much exactly like this. Lob, swing, dinger. Throwing an eephus seems so neat and edgy until you throw one and it gets hit like an eephus ought to get hit.
Most Inside Pitch
- Carlos Lee, facing Jose Veras
- August 29
- 19.2 inches from center of plate
- 331 feet
This would stand up as the game-winning home run in a contest between the Astros and the Pirates on August 29th. When I navigated to the footage of an Astros/Pirates game, I was prompted with a dialog box asking "Are you sure?"
Most Outside Pitch
The most outside pitch hit for a home run all last season was not hit to the opposite field. Carlos Pena can be so amazing, sometimes.
Pretty remarkable. The location of the pitch, I mean. Not the fact that Mark Trumbo homered off Anthony Vasquez. If you're not careful, you might homer off Anthony Vasquez. Look, you just did it! While you weren't paying attention!
- Corey Patterson, facing Colby Lewis
- April 25
- 54.5 inches from the ground
- 413 feet
And that reward set back Corey Patterson's plate discipline by ten years. The best part isn't even just the home run. It's the whole sequence.
- highest pitch hit for a home run all year
Most Grooved Pitch
Well, I guess if you're going to groove a pitch, a guy like Vladimir Guerrero probably can't hurt you too bad. Wait, what was that? I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you over the sound of me being pretty much the dumbest person on the planet.