After a brief hiatus to observe a World Series, the Jorge Soler home run countdown continues. This week, we break into the top 40.
This is an incredibly difficult process, so please spare a thought for your humble ranker of dingers. It’s as if one was the father of 40 children and tasked with choosing his favorite. It’s damn near impossible!
If you would like a refresher of our exercise, or if you would just like to relive eight slightly less impressive home runs, here is our first entry.
And now, on with the countdown.
40. The Game: 7/12 vs Detroit Tigers
The Victim: Jose Cisnero
As I scroll through the video of these Soler dingers, the raw Statcast data can seem pedestrian. Take this home run against Jose Cisnero and the Detroit Tigers in mid-July. The ball left the bat at just a tick under 100 mph. It travelled 376 feet. Yet the visual is breathtaking.
39. The Game: 8/29 vs Oakland A’s
The Victim: Chris Bassitt
As Soler was continuing his assault on the Royals team home run record, opposing teams began to take notice. They started to pitch around him, more willing to pitch to Cheslor Cuthbert or Ryan O’Hearn instead of the Royals newly-minted slugger. There was a stretch late in the season where Ned Yost elevated Jorge Soler to the second spot in the order, ahead of Hunter Dozier, in an attempt to force teams to deal with the Royals DH. It could be effective, as this first inning laser illustrates.
Four pitches into Bassitt’s afternoon and he was already staring at a two-run deficit. It’s tough seeing Soler so early in the day.
38. The Game: 6/21 vs Minnesota Twins
The Victim: Ryne Harper
This was a carbon copy of number 40 on this list. But a hanging slider travels a little further than a 95 mph fastball.
37. The Game: 9/7 at Miami Marlins
The Victim: Hector Noesi
This ball left the yard in amazingly rapid fashion and the left-center gap (RIP Marlin home run statue/collage/pop art piece) is no joke. But the ball barely got out and the Royals already held a 6-2 lead in the ninth against the hapless Marlins. This dinger was worth .008 WPA making it the least impactful of Soler’s 2019 home run barrage.
At 406 feet, it’s the first Soler dinger on our list to break the 400 barrier.
36. The Game: 8/6 at Boston Red Sox
The Victim: Andrew Cashner
This is insane that this dinger is my 36th favorite. It’s a moon shot over the Monster. As the ball enters orbit, the TV director cuts to the camera behind home plate. The cameraman drifts to left, then to center, then the ball hits a sign at the back of the seats. Somehow it’s only 385 feet.
At its apex, the ball reached 142 feet. That’s impressive.
35. The Game: 8/30 vs Baltimore Orioles
The Victim: John Means
To show we harbor no favoritism to milestone dingers, this is the blast that tied Mike Moustakas and the vaunted franchise record.
Bonus points for hitting home run number 38 on a Friday at home while the Royals were wearing their gold lettered uniforms.
34. The Game: 6/18 @ Seattle Mariners
The Victim: Yusei Kikuchi
It’s not a bad pitch. A 12-6 breaker that tickles the lowest, outermost corner of the strike zone. It’s a testament to the locked in season Soler had at the plate that he is able to wait on the 74 mph offering and go the opposite way. It barely clears the wall.
Soler flashes a wry grin as he rounds second. He knows that ball shouldn’t have cleared the fence. But he’s not going to give it back.
33. The Game: 4/6 @ Detroit Tigers
The Victim: Daniel Norris
Do you remember your first?
Your first home run of 2019 I mean. Soler opened his home run account with a game-tying blast in Detroit that traveled 401 feet. Maybe this was the first time you saw the bat meet the ball and you allowed yourself to think that perhaps the ball had a little extra juice in it’s corky center. That ball had some carry.
32. The Game: 8/11 @ Detroit Tigers
The Victim: Drew VerHagen
Let’s stay in Motown for the next entry on our list. This one is fun because Ryan LeFebvre thinks it’s just a run of the mill fly ball. He quickly realizes it’s not.
As Rex Hudler enthusiastically explains, at this point of the season, Soler was seeing more offspeed offerings. This was an 85 mph slider on the outer half. This was a “booty-knock home run.”
Just for fun, here’s bonus video of the Detroit broadcast just to hear the announcer (seemingly half asleep) declaring Soler is “some type of strong.” Twice
31. The Game: 6/30 @ Toronto Blue Jays
The Victim: Nick Kingham
In 2019, Soler saw 32 3-0 counts. He swung in that count eight times. Twice he made contact and put the ball in play. Once, it left the yard. This is that dinger.
As always, thanks to the invaluable resource that is Baseball Savant. Stay tuned for next week’s installment as we retrace home runs number 30 through 21. It’s getting good.