Hello and welcome back to FanPost Friday. Today we are going to talk about dingers. Big ones. Long ones. Specifically, the longest Mariners home runs in the Statcast era, which began in 2015. What is Statcast? Take it away, MLB.com:
Statcast is a state-of-the-art tracking technology that allows for the collection and analysis of a massive amount of baseball data, in ways that were never possible in the past. Statcast can be considered the next step in the evolution of how we consume and think about the sport of baseball that began over a decade ago, when Major League Baseball Advanced Media installed pitch tracking hardware in each Major League stadium. That was a step that unlocked a new age of baseball fandom, and Statcast builds upon that innovation by measuring everything the previous system did, along with a great deal more. It was installed in all 30 parks in 2015 after a partial trial run in 2014.
Since 2015, the home run distances that we all toss around as cold hard facts are actually the Projected Home Run Distances of those dingers:
Projected Home Run Distance represents the distance a home run ball would travel if unhindered by obstructions such as stadium seats or walls. This metric is determined by finding the parabolic arc of the baseball and projecting the remainder of its flight path.
All right, in light of Wednesday’s dead center nuke launched by Jarred Kelenic at Wrigley Field, here is the ranking of the top ten longest home runs by Seattle Mariners players since 2015 per Baseball Savant/Statcast:
As pointed out by longtime LLer PyramidHeadFeveisen in Wednesday’s chart comments, there are at least two mysterious omissions to that list, one being Franklin Gutierrez’s prodigious home run in Cincinnati in 2016, which according to every source I can find was projected at 473 feet. The other is Daniel Vogelbach’s second career dinger that landed above the Hit It Here Cafe (RIP) in 2018, but I can’t seem to find any estimated distance since Statcast was completely down for that game apparently. I would guess the projected distance would be somewhere above 450 feet, but I am not an engineer or scientist. So the list isn’t perfect because sometimes Statcast breaks, which seems awfully rude to two of my favorite “that’s my guy” Mariners players of all time. If anyone has any theories on these omissions, please share in the comments!
As a quick bonus/aside, here is a nice compilation of the top ten longest home runs hit at Safeco Field/T-Mobile Park as of two years ago. As you might guess, many of them were not hit by Mariners players!
Okay, let’s move along to the top ten longest Mariners home runs. You can look at the whole list here. As one would expect, Nelson Cruz is heavily featured on this list and owns seven (7!) of the top 10 longest home runs per the list. Some say he’s still mashing taters to this day in a place called San Diego. Nelson Cruz forever.
10. Nelson Cruz, 8/4/15 - Coors Field
Of course Coors Field makes an appearance, known for it’s high elevation and dinger-prone environment. This tater, which I cannot embed but is linked above, is an absolute blast to left center that looks, of course, effortless for Nelson.
9. Nelson Cruz, 7/2/2016 - T-Mobile Park
A vintage Nelí golf swing here results in a deep blast that lands right above the LF scoreboard at T-Mobile Park. Bonus swag points for the cool reflective shades.
8. Jake Bauers, 9/19/21 - Kauffman Stadium
The list I linked above has quite a few Remember Some Guys on it with long home runs, but none longer or “that guy was a Mariner?” than Jake fucking Bauers in 2021. Jake, looking resplendent in teal on the road, plops one into the fountains at Kauffman. Good for him.
7. Nelson Cruz, 8/6/2017 - Kauffman Stadium
And we’re back on the Cruz train, choo choo! Once again in Kansas City, this dead center blast lands next to the fountains and features the centerfielder just standing and watching, which is always a lovely hallmark of an absolutely obliterated baseball.
6. Nelson Cruz, 6/22/2018- Fenway Park
The only video I could find is halfway down the recap from Greg Johns in the link above, but I’m surprised the light tower at Fenway Paaaahk is still standing after that one. Nelson looking like an adult destroying the kids at a Wiffleball field in this one.
5. Nelson Cruz, 5/1/2015 - Minute Maid Park
MLB apparently does not want you to see an actual video of this home run, must be too pornographic I guess? But, I did find this handy MLB-made .gif of the moment Nelson Cruz hit that stupid train at Minute Made Park in Houston.
4. Nelson Cruz, 8/18/2017 - Tropicana Field
The final entry from Nelson Cruz in the top ten, this was the one where he tried to put a hole through trash-ass Tropicana Field. Just absolutely murdered that baseball. Sent it to the shadow realm. Gave that ball’s ancestors generational trauma. Nelson Cruz, you were simply a marvel to watch mash dingers for the Mariners.
3. Mike Zunino, 9/13/2017 - Globe Life Park
Here’s Big Mike Zunino’s first entry into the top ten, a pulled shot into the upper upper left field decks so ridiculous and audacious that the Rangers decided to stop playing at that stadium and built a new one.
2. Mike Zunino, 6/29/2018 - T-Mobile Park
This is the one that nearly cleared the stadium and traumatized a little girl who was reasonably not expecting a ball to land near her in the 3rd to last row of bleachers. I still cannot believe neither Zunino nor Cruz ever put a ball onto Royal Brougham Way, but this is probably the closet one. Also, Statcast must have revised this one to 470 feet after that video was made? Statcast, you are an unreliable narrator.
1. Jarred Kelenic, 4/12/23 - Wrigley Field
And here we are, the latest and greatest in Mariners home run technology. I hope we look back at the end of this season and see this as the moment Jarred Kelenic became the player we all knew he could be and never looked back. If not, well, it’s a pretty incredible moment and also really funny that a Mariners player now holds the Statcast era record for longest regular season home run at Wrigley Field. It’s also notable that it’s a dead center blast, not a pulled shot. As noted on the TV broadcast by Dave Sims, the Cubs announcers both remarked that in all their years of covering Cubs games, they hadn’t seen a ball hit up there in the upper center field bleachers. So, no matter what happens, Jarred made some history at Wrigley Field.
Sound off in the comments about your favorite home runs from the list. Have a great weekend and go Mariners!