MLB's 10 Longest Home Run Blasts of the Week
As MLB pitching becomes increasingly dominant, we treasure the scarce offensive triumphs more than ever. Major league hitters treated us to 205 home runs during the week ending June 2, and this article features the 10 longest blasts.
The ESPN Home Run Tracker records distances and numerous other factors about every round-tripper. According to the site, most of this week's no-doubters would have reached the seats in any of the 30 ballparks.
Watch Jason Giambi, Mark Trumbo and players of various sizes, styles and experiences get good wood against quality pitchers.
*"There it goes!" links connect to MLB.com highlights; "Flight path" links go to the ESPN Home Run Tracker.
Wil Myers, Future MLB Blast King
Opposing pitcher: Justin Germano (Buffalo Bisons)
Ballpark: Durham Bulls Athletic Park
Wil Myers launched three home runs in a series against the Bisons, the second of which surely touched ground in another county. The opposing left fielder didn't even make a move to pursue this no-doubt, two-run shot.
This obviously took place at Triple-A, though Germano has spent parts of eight seasons in the majors.
Truth be told, this was not a particularly exhilarating week for long home runs. Myers (unofficially) had all the major league veterans beat in the distance department, and he'll probably be among them as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays sometime in June.
*Tip of the hat to Joel Reuter for making me aware of this beauty.
Nelson Cruz (Texas Rangers), May 31
Distance: 434 feet
Opposing pitcher: Wade Davis (Kansas City Royals)
Ballpark: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
All of you should be well aware of Nelson Cruz's knack for obliterating baseballs. He finished runner-up to Prince Fielder in the 2009 Home Run Derby and smashed a 484-foot behemoth in 2012, the fourth-longest distance of the entire year.
A few feet higher and this most recent homer would have smashed one of those left-field windows.
Cruz's 2013 batting line practically matches his career numbers. If able to avoid the disabled list for the second straight year, he could set new career highs in home runs and runs batted in, and fashion them into a big, free-agent payday.
Marlon Byrd (New York Mets), May 30
Distance: 435 feet
Opposing pitcher: Vidal Nuno (New York Yankees)
Ballpark: Yankee Stadium
Marlon Byrd still plays in the majors? Apparently.
The New York Mets won't be in any hurry to get rid of him, as it's very rare to see a home run reach the second deck in Yankee Stadium's left field.
While everyone else on this list went deep against a veteran, Byrd took advantage of the rookie Nuno (who has since been demoted). This was only the second home run he had surrendered since debuting for the Yankees.
Byrd's 336-foot round-tripper the previous night was the shortest in the league on that date.
Matt Holliday (St. Louis Cardinals), May 28
Distance: 437 feet
Opposing pitcher: Ervin Santana (Kansas City Royals)
Ballpark: Kauffman Stadium
Matt Holliday has a reputation for being one of the strongest players in the entire sport. He proves here that his workouts are for more than just vanity.
This line drive—Holliday's 236th MLB home run and 97th in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform—lands in the fountain beyond Kauffman's left-center field fence.
After benefiting from a few cheap shots earlier in the season, his average tater distance since April 30 is 429.5 feet.
Xavier Paul (Cincinnati Reds), May 29
Distance: 438 feet
Opposing pitcher: Vinnie Pestano (Cleveland Indians)
Ballpark: Progressive Field
Xavier Paul's major league home run total doesn't compare to those of the others on this list. No. 8 from this past Wednesday night was his second-ever 400-footer at the highest level.
He'll need to tee off against some lefties before being taken seriously as an everyday player. For now, Paul fits nicely into a platoon role.
The 28-year-old has quietly excelled in place of an injured Ryan Ludwick. He ranks fourth on the Cincinnati Reds in OPS, trailing only Joey Votto, Shin-Soo Choo and Brandon Phillips.
Garrett Jones (Pittsburgh Pirates), June 2
Distance: 440 feet
Opposing pitcher: Jonathan Broxton (Cincinnati Reds)
Ballpark: PNC Park
This was apparently just the second regular-season home run in the ballpark's 13-year history to land in the Allegheny River on the fly.
Good things happen when you match Garrett Jones against a right-handed pitcher. He has a .500 career slugging percentage with the platoon advantage.
The Pittsburgh Pirates put this game away in extra innings to pull into a second-place tie in the NL Central.
Hunter Pence (San Francisco Giants), May 28
Distance: 442 feet
Opposing pitcher: Grant Balfour (Oakland Athletics)
Ballpark: O.co Coliseum
Of the dozens of National League hitters who have totaled at least six home runs this season, Hunter Pence ranks second in average distance. There's no shame in trailing Justin Upton.
As was the case with Xavier Paul, this was an example of "too little too late." Pence's ninth-inning rocket would prove to be meaningless as the San Francisco Giants fell to their Bay Area rival, 6-3.
Nonetheless, the awkward outfielder is setting himself up for a lucrative contract extension/free-agent deal thanks to an impressive offensive start to 2013.
Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona Diamondbacks), June 1
Distance: 442 feet
Opposing pitcher: Carlos Marmol (Chicago Cubs)
Ballpark: Wrigley Field
Say what you will about Marmol's control and overall mediocrity, but he seldom gives up tape-measure blasts. Paul Goldschmidt's grand slam was only the 16th home run against Marmol since the start of 2009 (302.1 IP).
Considering Goldschmidt sent it flying at a relatively low angle of 23.4 degrees, the distance attests to his incredible strength.
A simple sacrifice fly would have provided the Arizona Diamondbacks with the cushion they needed to win this game.
However, the 25-year-old first baseman has NL MVP aspirations. Thanks to home run No. 13, he leads the Senior Circuit in RBI and OPS+.
Jason Giambi (Cleveland Indians), May 27
Distance: 445 feet
Opposing pitcher: Mike Leake (Cincinnati Reds)
Ballpark: Great American Ball Park
This is why Jason Giambi—at 42 years old—still holds down a major league roster spot. He can't run at all or handle defensive duties, but toss him a thigh-high breaking ball over the plate and there's a decent chance it's going for a ride.
A looooooong ride.
Not only was Giambi's blast one of the best of the entire week, it was longer than any 2013 home run hit by a visiting player at Cincy's stadium.
The game-tying solo shot was the 433th of his career, but only his ninth of the pinch-hit variety (via Baseball-Reference.com).
Mark Reynolds (Cleveland Indians), May 29
Distance: 446 feet
Opposing pitcher: Bronson Arroyo (Cincinnati Reds)
Ballpark: Progressive Field
How else was this matchup going to end?
Since 2006, Arroyo has surrendered 229 home runs, far more than any other pitcher. For his part, Mark Reynolds has a propensity to reach the seats. His 20.7 percent HR/FB in that same span is among the highest in Major League Baseball for players with at least 2,000 plate appearances (both links via FanGraphs).
If anything, the surprise is that Reynolds only took him deep once that evening.
Mark Trumbo (Los Angeles Angels), June 2
Distance: 457 feet
Opposing pitcher: Jordan Lyles (Houston Astros)
Ballpark: Angel Stadium
But this one was plenty impressive, too. After a brief glance, he seemed convinced that it would clear that puny 387-foot marker.
Considering his modest draft position, Trumbo's major league career has gotten off to a shockingly successful start.