Dingers! - 2013 Edition

Last offseason I categorized the most notable Red Sox home runs of 2012 using Greg Rybarczyk's Home Run Tracker, and I figure it deserves a sequel. This is the time of year, after all, when I begin to forget what baseball looks like, so it would be a good idea to refresh my senses. With no further ado, here are the most notable home runs of the 2013 Red Sox season according to measurements such as true distance*, speed and angle off the bat, and height.

* True distance is defined as follows: "If the home run flew uninterrupted all the way back to field level, the actual distance the ball traveled from home plate, in feet."


Hardest Hit Home Run (link--in case the embedded video doesn't work)

David Ortiz
Off of Esmil Rogers, Rogers Centre 8/14
Speed off bat: 118.8 mph
True distance: 437 ft.
Elevation angle off bat: 19.2°
Apex: 58 ft.

Last year Middlebrooks took this category with a 114.2-mph shot, but two players bested that mark in 2013. Napoli hit one 115.7 mph (which I'll share below), but nothing beats what Papi does to this 3-2 slider at the knees:

That pitch was hit so hard, in fact it was second only to this tremendous shot by Mark Trumbo (120.1 mph) for hardest hit in all the majors.

You might also notice Ortiz' homer was lined at a low angle. It wasn't the lowest Sox homer of the year (that belongs to Middlebrooks below), but it was the Home Run Hit at the Lowest Angle off the Bat, registering at 19.2 degrees. Thus Papi takes two categories with one particularly hard cut here.


Longest Home Run(s)

Mike Napoli
Off of Mark Buehrle, Rogers Centre 5/1, 4th inning (link)
True distance: 472 ft.
Speed off bat: 113.5 mph
Horizontal angle off bat: 90.5°
Elevation angle off bat: 23.1°
Apex: 92 ft.

Mike Napoli
Off of Esmil Rogers, Rogers Centre 5/1, 7th inning (link)
True distance: 467 ft.
Speed off bat: 112.4 mph
Horizontal angle off bat: 96.4°
Elevation angle off bat: 29.5°
Apex: 133 ft.

These two mammoth blasts, hit in the same game, were the longest of any Red Sox dingers in 2013. Marc Normandin wrote a whole post about them the day after, complete with gifs and charts. Evan Drellich also covered the event at, and he included this handy chart tweeted by Rybarczyk:

As you can see there, though the shot to left-center looked considerably more majestic due to 40 extra feet of height, it was the missile to dead-away center that actually would have landed farther from home plate.

Also, as mentioned by Drellich, by May 1st Napoli had already hit another home run at Rogers Centre that with the two above rank as the three longest of his career. Likewise they were the three longest of any Red Sox this season. I already promised to show this third one in the previous category as it was hit harder than anyone's except Ortiz', so here you go:

Mike Napoli
Off of Dave Bush, Rogers Centre 4/7 (link)
True distance: 460 ft.
Speed off bat: 115.7 mph
Apex: 74 ft.

Now would be a good time to mention that Mike Napoli might have called Rogers Centre home had Alex Anthopoulos not traded him for a reliever. Again -- it bears mentioning several times over -- Alex Anthopoulos had Mike Napoli, and then immediately traded him for a reliever. Frank friggin' Francisco! Ha!


Tallest Home Run (link)

David Ortiz
Off of Jeremy Horst, Citizens Bank Park 5/30
Apex: 151 ft.
Elevation angle off bat: 39.2°
Speed off bat: 102.6 mph
True distance: 370 ft.

Papi pulls an 89-mph four-seamer high and far -- but especially high.


Home Run Hit at Highest Angle off the Bat (link)

Dustin Pedroia
Off of Alexi Ogando, Fenway Park 6/5
Elevation angle off bat: 40.0°
Apex: 149 ft.
Speed off bat: 99.5 mph
True distance: 330 ft.

This was the second tallest Red Sox dinger of the year, but this one was hit at a slightly higher angle. It just barely clears the Monster. Home Run Tracker says it would have squeaked out of only two parks in the majors -- Fenway and Minute Maid in Houston. If it were not for three shots around the Pesky Pole, this would have been the shortest home run hit in the majors all season.


Lowest Home Run (link)

Will Middlebrooks
Off of Jeremy Jeffress, Rogers Centre 4/5
Apex: 48 ft.
Elevation angle off bat: 20.2°
Speed off bat: 111.7 mph
True distance: 376 ft.

Boy, the Red Sox sure did punish Blue Jay fans last year. Here Middlebrooks turns on an inside fastball and lines one that gets out in a hurry.


Home Run Hit at Lowest Angle off the Bat

David Ortiz
Off of Esmil Rogers, Where else? 8/14
Elevation angle off bat: 19.2°
Apex: 58 ft.
Speed off bat: 118.8 mph
True distance: 437 ft.

See above: Hardest Hit Home Run. I won't show that one again here. And the home run hit at the second lowest angle off the bat was the Middlebrooks one above.

The "Home Run Hit at the Third Lowest Angle off the Bat", however, is a particularly hilarious one worth revisiting here. If there were a category for funniest home run -- well, I'd still probably have to give that to Napoli's game-tying grand slam at Yankee Stadium that just barely reached the short porch, just the cheapest, most hilarious, most heartbreaking-for-Yankee-fans thing you'd ever want to see -- but the second funniest home run of the year came after Ron Washington (bless his little heart!) intentionally walked Dustin Pedroia (bwahahahahahaha!). And then the very next pitch...

David Ortiz
Off of Michael Kirkman, Fenway Park 6/6 (link)
Elevation angle off bat: 20.3°
Apex: 53 ft.
Speed off bat: 110.3 mph
True distance: 385 ft.

So hilarious. So, so hilarious. Ohhhhhhh man, do I miss 2013.


Softest Hit Home Run and Shortest Home Run (link)

Brandon Snyder
Off of David Price, Fenway Park 7/29
Speed off bat: 88.5 mph
True distance: 312 ft.
Horizontal angle off bat: 58.3° (13.3° off the foul line)

This was an especially cheap shot sliced off the Pesky Pole on a night when the Red Sox couldn't do anything against Price. In fact this was both the softest home run hit in the majors this year, by a margin greater than 2 mph, and the shortest home run hit in the majors this year. (The four shortest home runs last year all came at Fenway Park.)


Most Opposite-field Home Run (link)

Dustin Pedroia
Off of Tyler Cloyd, Fenway Park 5/27
Horizontal angle off bat: 56.7° (11.7° off the foul line)
Speed off bat: 91 mph
True distance: 324 ft.

Though the second shortest and second softest hit home run for the Red Sox (compared to Snyder's shot above), this one by Pedey had a slightly more extreme angle off the bat, in the opposite field direction.


Most Pulled Home Run (link)

Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Off of Zach McAllister, Progressive Field 4/18
Horizontal angle off bat: 52.1° (7.1° off the foul line)
Speed off bat: 112 mph
True distance: 379 ft.

Judging by landing spot, you'd think there must be a more pulled home run, but this category is judged by angle off the bat. Salty lines this fastball so hard it stays straighter than a hook shot which would carry the ball closer to the foul pole but which would have to be hit at a less extreme angle in order to stay fair. Had the pitch been inside like the catcher wanted it, indeed Salty probably would have hooked it foul. But the pitch was up and over the plate, and Salty hammered it.


Most Perpendicular Home Run

Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Off of Joe Blanton, Fenway Park 6/9 (link)
Horizontal angle off bat: 89.9°
Speed off bat: 103.7 mph
True distance: 427 ft.

Last year this category provided a straightforward winner, as the David Ortiz home run measured at a 90.1° angle off the bat stayed fairly true to dead-away center as it traveled. This year, however, angle off the bat might not tell us everything we want to know.

That's pretty straight, but Mike Napoli actually hit two home runs measured at a 90.5° angle off the bat which while in flight actually stayed truer to dead-away center. The first was that 472-ft. blast he hit off Buehrle on 5/1. Here's a gif to help you remember:

The second one was like a little miniature version of the same:

Mike Napoli
Off of Wei-Yin Chen, Fenway Park 9/18 (link)
Horizontal angle off bat: 90.5°
Speed off bat: 106.3 mph
True distance: 430 ft.

It's hard to say which one should get credit for "most perpendicular", wind conditions being an uncontrollable part of the game. But if all three were to tie for first, then pulling in behind them in fourth place would be Mike Carp's biggest hit yet for the Sox. Let's revisit it here just for fun.

Mike Carp
Off of Roberto Hernandez, Tropicana Field 9/11 (link)
Horizontal angle off bat: 89.1°
Speed off bat: 106.6 mph
True distance: 411 ft.

Ha ha, stupid Raycists.


Funniest Home Run (link)

Mike Napoli
Off of Boone Logan, Yankee Stadium 9/6
True distance: 335 ft.
Speed off bat: 92 mph
Number of parks it would have left: just the one

OK, I can't resist. This is the funniest home run, referred to above. It gives me endless joy.

There will never be another season like 2013 again.

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