Leadoff hitters have smacked the three longest home runs hit so far in 2017. How long will it take until someone in the middle of the order hits one further?
At some point in 2017, some slugger like Giancarlo Stanton should blast a baseball nearly 500 feet. He was the only player to do so last season, so why not again this year?
For now, the three longest home runs of the season belong to an interesting group of men. Carlos Gomez, Charlie Blackmon, and George Springer are the three players currently with 450-foot home runs. The surprising coincidence with these three is they are all leadoff hitters for their respective teams. If one wanted to connect these three further, the fact that they are their teams’ starting center fielders is an added coincidence.
Gomez’s 462-foot shot leads all dingers as the furthest. He managed to smash that one off of former Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. Blackmon’s 458-foot home run and Springer’s 454-foot blast are not far behind. The distances they measure are good enough for second and third place through the early stages of the season.
It’s odd to see three leadoff hitters lead the way in home run distance. Usually, it’s the clean-up hitters we would expect to smash the ball a long way.
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Unfortunately, home run distance has not been tracked so precisely until recently. MLB.com only has their Statcast dating back to the 2015 season. However, it was in that inaugural season when we saw how unpredictable this statistic can be. The longest home run that year belonged to an even more surprising name than MLB’s current leader.
Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant hit a 495-foot home run in September of 2015. This led all position players in home run distance. Against the odds, one of his teammates hit one further.
It was a July home run off the bat of pitcher Jake Arrieta which measured 503 feet that landed further than any other home run. This occurred only a few weeks before his amazing scoreless streak. Arrieta’s accomplishments on the mound overshadowed anything he did at the plate in 2015. Few seemed to notice his 500-foot home run was the longest anyone hit all year.
Out of the three 450+ foot home runs hit this season by leadoff hitters, only Springer’s was an official leadoff home run. Gomez and Blackmon added theirs later in the game whilst placed in the lineup’s number-one spot.
Gomez, Blackmon, and Springer are not prototypical leadoff hitters. Each has hit with pretty good power in their careers. Recently, managers have shied away from putting speedy, light-hitting guys at the number-one spot in favor of someone with pop. While Gomez, Blackmon, and Springer all have some good wheels, they can also hit for pretty power.