Jorge Soler just completed the most impressive power hitting season in Royals history. He obliterated the franchise single-season home run record, finishing with 48 home runs. It was a tour de force of slugging—a mighty confluence of good health, a hitter reaching his prime, and a baseball that encouraged punishment.
To honor and celebrate this monumental achievement it’s time to rank each of Soler’s home runs. The rankings are based on my made up formula that consists of impressiveness of the dinger (distance, exit velocity, etc.) and impact on the game. Today, we present dingers from 48 to 41.
48. The Game: 8/9 @ Detroit
The Victim: John Schreiber
Soler kickstarted his takeover of the record with the Royals extended road trip to open August. In the course of nine games in three cities, Soler crushed seven home runs.
This one came off John Schreiber, the local kid who finally suited up for his hometown team after working his way up through the minors. Soler cares not for your cool story. He hung a 3-1 pitch on a rope over the left field wall.
With a launch angle of 19 degrees, it was his “lowest” dinger of the year. And with a distance of 365 feet, it was his second shortest. It was also a solo shot in the top of the ninth where the Royals were tailing by four runs.
47. The Game: 4/18 @ New York Yankees
The Victim: Domingo German
A lot of extremes on this dinger. At an estimated 336 feet, this was the shortest of all Soler bombs in 2019. With a 96 mph exit velocity, it was also his softest-hit. And the 39 degree launch angle was the steepest of his home runs in 2019. “Talk about launch angle!” Ryan LeFebvre exclaims as the ball clears the left field wall. Yeah... That’s what we’re doing.
What makes this one fun is that Soler is clearly disgusted with himself. It’s a meaty, hanging 81 mph curve. He should be crushing this pitch. Instead, he skied it… All the way to the bleachers.
The xBA on batted ball with that launch angle and exit velocity is .074. Just 3.4 percent of those clear the fence. Soler’s is the one that is square on the “five” in the 325.
46. The Game: 7/18 vs White Sox
The Victim: Ross Detwiler
This is a prime example of Soler punishing a pitcher who misses badly on a slider. Ross Detwiler was supposed to spin one down and in, but left it up and in the middle of the plate. Soler waited and drove it opposite field.
Bonus points for tying the game with this two-run shot, even though it was in the third inning. This dinger was part of a five-run frame in a game the Royals went on to win.
45. The Game: 7/21 @ Indians
The Victim: Zach Pleasac
There were plenty of “ah-ha!” moments when it came to Soler and his power breakout this summer. This was one of them. By this point, he had already crushed 26 homes runs—this was number 27—so it wasn’t exactly a revelation per se. But this was a 94 mph center-cut fastball with two strikes. Looking for something close? How about this delivery right down Main Street?
Thank you very much.
It’s very much a hitter’s pitch. And a power hitter did exactly what a power hitter is supposed to do. Again, nothing revelatory in this moment. Just a reassurance of a man about to obliterate a franchise home run record.
44. The Game: 4/22 @ Rays
The Victim: Yonny Chirinos
Speaking of missing locations with the slider, this pitch is delivered in a spot that is the carbon copy of dinger #43. Except this slider didn’t slide at all. It hung, and hung, and hung. Soler popped this one with a launch angle of 39 degrees, which as we saw in home run number 47, was his steepest homer of the year. The ball was in danger of hitting one of those infernal catwalks.
What I love about this is Chirinos’s reaction. That little pause right after contact. So sweet.
43. The Game: 9/11 @ Chicago White Sox
The Victim: Reynoldo Lopez
Soler hit three dingers against Lopez in 2019, his most against any pitcher. Lopez shouldn’t feel that aggrieved as he gave up two of Soler’s four shortest home runs. This one went just 366 feet.
42. The Game: 5/29 @ Chicago White Sox
The Victim: Reynoldo Lopez
See? One more foot here… 367 feet.
41. The Game: 9/28 vs Twins
The Victim: Martin Perez
This was Soler’s last home run of 2019. It was an impressive shot, a no-doubt blast that landed in the visitors bullpen. One thing I quickly learned when starting this list, there were very few Soler home runs that felt “cheap” or “lucky.” Most of them were kind of like this one… Obviously gone the moment you saw the bat make contact with the ball and when you heard the sound.
That was probably what was the most impressive about all of these home runs. The sound, man. There’s nothing more violent, yet more beautiful, than the sound of the bat squarely connecting with the ball.
We heard that sound a lot coming off Soler’s bat this year.
Special thanks to Baseball Savant, an invaluable resource.