I don't want to discuss Nomar Mazara's 505-foot moon blast back on June 21 in Texas. I'm not here to discuss Hunter Renfroe's walk-off grand slam against Kenley Jansen on May 5 or Bryce Harper's walk-off grand slam against the Cubs on Aug.15 or any of the other 69 walk-off home runs. No, I want to discuss the worst home runs of 2019. As you know, there has been a record total of home runs hit this season. Not all of them have looked impressive. Some of them, it appears, perhaps benefited from the lively baseball. Perhaps.
Here are 13 of those home runs, starting with our five finalists.
*All data from Statcast, MLB's tracking system.
5. The lowest exit velocity home run of 2019
Back on April 11, Eugenio Suarez cracked his third home run of 2019 off Sergio Romo of the Marlins -- no doubt, you knew at the time, he was on his way to a 48-homer season. It registered an exit velocity of 86.7 mph, the lowest of any over-the-fence home run (two inside-the-park home runs were lower) of 2019. As you can see, it looks like Suarez barely even swings, but he got just enough to hit it into the corner by the foul pole:
4. It's a line drive to second ... no, it's a home run
This is actually the most memorable home run on the list because it was a walk-off home run for Keston Hiura off Craig Kimbrel on July 27. Cubs fans probably figure it's fitting that Kimbrel appears here. No doubt Hiura hit it hard (106.9 mph exit velocity), but based on the initial flight path, it looked like a line drive to second base or maybe one of those screamers that goes right to the right fielder.
Instead, Hiura lasered the ball all the way over the fence. Is this a home run with the 2018 baseball? Maybe. The 2014 baseball? No way. You know, instead of messing with the ball again, how about just moving the fences back at some of these parks? Some of the power alleys across the majors -- Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Milwaukee, right field at Yankee Stadium -- are a joke, smaller than the old ballparks they replaced, even though players are bigger and stronger than they were in the 1970s and '80s. (Apologies for the soapbox.)
3. A grand slam
Here's Javier Baez hitting a grand slam against the Reds on June 29:
I mean, look at the swing. Does that look like:
(A) A foul ball into the first-base seats?
(B) A little blooper into right field?
(C) A 98.6 mph home run?
Well, you already know the answer. We'll learn that a lot of awkward-looking swings, especially to the opposite field, can produce good things.
2. The one that ruined a perfect game
(1) It came in Houston, home of the legendary Crawford Boxes, where some of the cheapest home runs in the majors land. Home runs are hit there that aren't home runs anywhere else (including the one Rafael Devers hit off Justin Verlander in the American League Championship Series last year). Long's home run traveled just 338 feet.
(2) Poor exit velocity. The 95.2 mph blast isn't bottom of the barrel, but it's in the lowest 4%.
(3) Awkward swing. In fact, Long doesn't even run or initially pick up the ball. It certainly looks like he doesn't think it's a home run.
(4) IT COST COLE A PERFECT GAME! Cole absolutely crushed the Mariners this day, striking out 15 in eight innings while throwing just 96 pitches. The Mariners had no chance. The only baserunner was Long. If Long's home run hadn't happened, Cole would have gone out there in the ninth and finished with 17 or 18 strikeouts, and we'd be talking about one of the most dominant games ever pitched.
1. The least likely to be a home run home run
Statcast publishes a figure called expected batting average (xBA), which factors in the exit velocity and launch angle of the ball in play to determine the likelihood that it will be a hit. This honor goes to Andrew Benintendi for a 309-foot fly ball with a low 87.7 mph exit velocity against CC Sabathia in July. It had an expected batting average of .005. Benintendi hit it in the one place in the majors where it was a home run:
This one hits the trifecta: low exit velo, no distance, low hit probability. Red Sox announcer Dave O'Brien called it: "You can't hit a cheaper home run in Major League Baseball." Congrats, Andrew Benintendi, for the worst home run of 2019.
How long ago was March? You probably forgot Troy Tulowitzki played five games for the Yankees, starting the team's first two games at shortstop. He had two hits in his Yankees tenure, and one of them was this home run off Richard Bleier of the Orioles on March 30. He kind of just throws his hands at the pitch, and the ball almost lands in the second deck in right field, with an estimated distance of 358 feet.
With 18 career home runs in nine big league seasons, Dee Gordon isn't exactly known for his power. On April 11, he hit a curveball from the Royals' Jorge Lopez 360 feet into the right-field seats, and he didn't even appear to put everything into it. (By the way, the Mariners won this game, their 15th of the season, and were 13-2 at the time.)
OK, Pete Alonso is a little stronger than Gordon. Strong enough to muscle the ball more than 400 feet in a game against the Marlins on May 17. Let's freeze this swing.
This home run by Jean Segura in the first inning on June 10 against Taylor Clarke of the Diamondbacks had the fourth-lowest hit probability of any home run, with an expected batting average of .013. The ball had an exit velocity of 91.4 mph with a 40-degree launch angle but somehow soared 344 feet into the Philadelphia evening (and, thanks to the cozy dimensions at Citizens Bank Park, over the wall). What stands out, however, is Segura laughing as he rounds second base. He couldn't believe it went out, either.
Oh, this was also the game in which the Diamondbacks and Phillies combined for 13 home runs -- a major league record.
Here's Derek Dietrich hitting one of the softest home runs of the season on June 18 off Verlander -- 88.2 mph exit velocity (fifth lowest), a 33-degree launch angle (a little high for a home run) and a .040 expected batting average. Even Reds announcer Thom Brennaman said, "Did he get a cheapy? He did!" Baseball in 2019, everyone!
I mean, does this look like a home run swing by Devers on July 12 off Detroit's Ryan Carpenter?
It was! He hit it 98 mph at a 27-degree launch angle to the opposite field -- not a rocket but right at the sweet spot in launch angle (25 to 30 degrees is optimal for home runs). Watch the video closely, and note how twisted Devers' feet end up at the end of the swing.
Josh Donaldson hit this home run off Steven Matz on Aug. 25 -- a ridiculous 46-degree launch angle blast that had an expected batting average of .120. Mets left fielder J.D. Davis kept drifting back and back and back ... and the ball kept going and going and, finally, was gone.
We could do an entire list of cheap home runs hit between sections 100 and 104 in Houston. The Astros and their opponents have hit 61 more home runs in Houston this year, in large degree because of that short porch in left field (the left-field line is just 315 feet from home plate). Here's non-power hitter David Fletcher of the Angels hitting one off the top of the wall against Wade Miley on Sept. 21 -- 88.5 mph and just 341 feet. Fletcher didn't hit it hard, and he didn't hit it far, but it goes in the books just the same as a 115 mph, 450-foot rocket, another of the many home runs of 2019.