It’s going … going … gone! Major League sluggers have been knocking fastballs out of the park ever since the MLB was founded in 1869. To put that in perspective, the distance from home plate to the outer fencing of the outfield varies from 300 to 420 feet.
For the past two decades, National League batters have been nailing over 2,000 home runs out of the park every season. Many legends have taken the plate and produced some mind-boggling numbers, but the current roster of the National League have set the bar fairly high for batters looking to be the next big thing.
We took a look at the top stats of all current National League batters, data compliments of StatCast, to see which players are slammin’ the hardest hits and the highest flyers. Continue reading to see if your favorite batter made the cut for the National League’s hardest hitting batters.
Hit and Run
Outfielders take a step back, because when these players take the plate, one can expect a hardball coming straight their way. Three-time MLB all-star and Hank Aaron Award winner Giancarlo Stanton was first drafted in 2007 by the Miami Marlins and debuted his skills in 2010. Stanton led the league in home runs during the 2014 season, which is why the shock factor of this chart is limited. Creating quite an impressive portfolio, Stanton hit the hardest double (115.15 mph), single (118.65 mph), force out (118.8 mph), grounded (123.9 mph), and home run (116.8 mph). In addition, Stanton dominates the chart by having the top five hardest hit types in the entire league. For the time being, Stanton remains one of the top prospects to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, still with a full career ahead of him!
Sharing the spotlight, Jorge Soler – outfielder for the Chicago Cubs – hit the hardest field error at 114.7 mph, not the most noteworthy accomplishment but still one for the books! In addition, Los Angeles Dodgers batter, Enrique Hernandez, got out with a solid 118.1 mph hit.
Then there are the three traditional hit types – ground balls, line drives, and fly balls. For starters, a ground ball must be hit at a launch angle of less than 10 degrees. Cameron Rupp, catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, hits the hardest ground balls on average at a speed of 96 mph with a typical launch angle of 9.50 degrees. On the other hand, to hit the perfect line drive, a batter must crush the ball at an angle between 10-25 degrees. Seasoned hitter, Mark Reynolds, of the Colorado Rockies, has been sluggin’ for nearly 10 seasons on seven different teams. Reynolds hits the hardest line drives with an average speed of 105.5 mph on a solid 25-degree angle. When Sean Rodriguez emerges from the dugout, outfielders are sure to take an extra step back! The Pittsburgh Pirates infielder crushes fly balls at an average 110.1 mph and an angle of 33.5 degrees.
Witnessing an out-of-the-park home run is one of the most exhilarating feelings when attending a ball game. Fans of all Major League teams claim that catching a home run ball is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. To the surprise of no one, Giancarlo Stanton holds the title for the farthest-hit home run this season – blasting it 468.5 feet into the crowd! Although it doesn’t come close to the league’s longest verified home run by legendary player Babe Ruth – who launched the ball 575 feet – it’s still quite the feat. Birds beware, when Pirates batter Sean Rodriguez steps up to the plate, he’s shootin’ for the stars – launching the highest hit, with a recorded height of 132.1 feet.
Batting is what keeps the game exciting. Bunts, grounders, pop-ups, line drives – you never know what the hitter is going to pump out next. Current National League batters are some of the hardest hitters in Major League history, and every year, the numbers are set even higher.
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