It took nearly four months for someone to beat Mark Trumbo's 475-foot blast as the longest home run of the 2013 regular season, a feat accomplished by Hunter Pence on Aug. 27 with a 476-foot shot off Colorado's Chad Bettis.
That was the first of two long balls that Gattis smacked off Hamels during the game—both solo shots that accounted for all of Atlanta's offense on the day.
After the game, Hamels was in awe of El Oso Blanco, as he explained to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Hamels on Gattis: "I felt like I was throwing a golf ball and he had a driver.He’s probablly going to be in that strongest man competition."— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) September 8, 2013
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick put things in simpler terms:
Evan Gattis is a strong man. #braves— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) September 8, 2013
Not only did Gattis overtake Pence for the longest home run in baseball this season, he set a bit of history at Citizens Bank Park in the process, as noted by ESPN's Jayson Stark:
Before Gattis, longest HR ever measured by HR Tracker at Citizens Bank Park was 473 feet, by Ryan Howard on 8/30/07 http://t.co/Ec9Idp2gTr— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) September 8, 2013
This isn't the first time we've seen Gattis flex his muscles at the plate.
In spring training, during an exhibition game against a team comprised of some of Atlanta's top prospects, Gattis hit a homer that literally left Trustmark Park, home of the team's Double-A affiliate, the Mississippi Braves:
Impressed? It gets better.
Of Gattis' 18 home runs on the season, a dozen have traveled at least 400 feet. That puts him among the leaders for the "Golden Sledgehammer," an honor in name only that is awarded to the player with at least 16 home runs on the season who has the highest average distance as measured by ESPN's Home Run Tracker.
After his pair of shots against Hamels—the second of which traveled 403 feet—Gattis is an inch away from breaking into the top 10 on that leaderboard:
|Player||Team||HR||Avg. HR Distance (in Feet)|
You'll notice that some of the more well-known sluggers in the game, like David Ortiz, Adam Dunn and MLB home run leader Chris Davis, aren't ahead of Gattis on that list.
When you consider that he's smacked 18 home runs in only 85 games this season, it's clear Gattis' power is for real. Thinking that he could be a 30-home run player with regular playing time isn't a stretch.
Gattis' potential, along with the presence of prospect Christian Bethancourt, a defensive whiz with a mediocre bat, makes Atlanta's decision whether to try to re-sign perennial All-Star Brian McCann after the season all the more difficult.
That's not a bad problem to have.
*Unless otherwise noted, all home run information courtesy of ESPN's Home Run Tracker.