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Hok Talk: Fireworks (and home runs) are fun

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This has been a year to shoot off explosives at baseball stadiums.

Kansas City Royals v Seattle Mariners
Jorge Soler observes one of his mammoth blasts
Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

So, here in the USA, next weekend is going to be a huge party for many, many people full of alcohol, fire, and explosives. In fact, if your area is anything like mine people got the party started some time last night. Speaking of explosives, and because we’re more than halfway through the season, I thought it might be fun to check out some of the biggest baseball detonations so far this year.

To kick things off, since this is ostensibly a Royals fansite, let’s take a look at some of the best Royals home runs.

First, the longest one hit by a Royal so far this year, of course, came off the bat of Jorge Soler. Soler took Jake Odorizzi’s 92.8 MPH four-seam fastball and turned it around at 114.4 MPH. It left the field in a hurry and was estimated to travel 462 feet into the upper deck of Target Field.

Unsurprisingly, Jorge Soler also owns the hardest-hit home run for the Royals this year. Yusei Kikuchi tried to sneak a 95.6 MPH four-seam fastball past the slugger on a 3-1 count and Soler made him pay by hitting 115.1 MPH. This ball traveled 454 feet.

Believe it or not, Jorge Soler also hit the home run that added the most win probability to the team. He took an Anthony Bass slider deep to the opposite field for a two-run home run when the Royals were down by one in the top of the eighth during a series in Seattle. It had a measly 102.9 exit velocity and only traveled 396 feet. But it led to an ultimate 6-4 victory for the good guys.

To change things up a bit, Adalberto Mondesi got the home run off of the fastest pitch. He saw a 98.1 MPH four-seam fastball from Gerrit Cole and sent it over the centerfield wall. It flipped the lead in Houston but the Astros came back and won the game.

Speaking of Mondesi, he has the Royals only inside-the-park home run for the Royals, so far this year.

And, believe it or not, the Royals have already hit three grand slams! Hunter Dozier hit this one just the other night to fuel a come-from-behind victory in Cleveland:

And back on May 7, Ryan O’Hearn and Whit Merrifield each hit grand slams in a 12-2 stomping of the Astros.

Now that we’ve seen the Royals highlights let’s check out some blasts from around the league.

First up we have a pair of New York baseball players tied for the highest exit velocity on a home run. The Mets’ Pete Alonso and Yankees’ Gary Sanchez each hit home runs that were measured at 118.3 MPH off the bat.

This is one of the more fun ones, to me. The fastest pitch hit for a home run in baseball so far this year was Tayron Guerrero four-seam fastball at 101.5. And Matt Adams hit it out of the park at 101.3 MPH. It’s very rare that the pitch coming in harder than it leaves ends in such a positive result. But it definitely worked out, here.

The longest home run hit so far this year was a doozy for sure. Nomar Mazara teed off on a Reynaldo López fastball to the tune of an estimated 505 feet. The exit velocity was “only” 109.7 MPH but he put some serious backspin into it.

Next up we have the ball hit out of a stadium with the highest launch angle so far this year. It’s Pete Alonso again. He got very lucky on this one because he thought he was going for a triple and he might have been out. However, it was ultimately ruled a home run which avoided any pesky questions of whether he came off the base.

However, that wasn’t the home run with the highest launch angle. That honor belongs to Avisail Garcia with this pop-fly inside the park home run that Randall Grichuk lost in the dome at Tropicana Field.

And finally, the most valuable home run hit this year in terms of win probability added came off the bat of old friend Jarrod Dyson. With one out in the bottom of the ninth and down by one Dyson entered the game as a pinch hitter and took Jose LeClerc deep for a two-run blast to win the game in walk-off fashion. It added a whopping 71% to his team’s chance to win the game - going from 29% to 100%

Baseball is on pace to shatter the record for home runs hit in a season that was just set in 2017 and we’ve already seen some good ones. There’s no doubt we’ll see plenty more before it’s done. These were just some of the most fun, so far. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve seen other home runs they you enjoyed as much or more than these, so far this year.