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The hardest hit balls of the week

Six games at Coors Field and Miller Park must’ve meant lots of hard hit balls, right?

San Francisco Giants v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

We don’t necessarily think of “power hitting” when we think of the San Francisco Giants these days, and if you look back at the week that was, it’s easy to confirm that thinking as reality. Using MLB Statcast data, there were only nine (9) balls hit by Giants batters that achieved the status of “barreled”.

A refresher on that barreled status:

To be Barreled, a batted ball requires an exit velocity of at least 98 mph. At that speed, balls struck with a launch angle between 26-30 degrees always garner Barreled classification. For every mph over 98, the range of launch angles expands.

This is cleaner than pure exit velocity because of the combination of hit probability and, basically, the power potential of the hit:

[...] the Barrel classification is assigned to batted-ball events whose comparable hit types (in terms of exit velocity and launch angle) have led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage since Statcast was implemented Major League wide in 2015 [...]

Now, there are only seven examples from the week that was, including today’s afternoon finale in Milwaukee. That, uh, that says a lot, considering the Giants rolled through two of the best hitters’ parks in the entire sport.

7. Gorkys Hernandez - 9/3/2018 at Coors Field vs. Tyler Anderson

Exit Velocity: 99.0 mph
Result: DINGER

That was certainly aided by Coors Field, but he also pulled that stuttered pitch quite nicely for his 14th home run of the season.

6. Alen Hanson - 9/7/18 at Miller Park vs. Chase Anderson

Exit Velocity: 102.1 mph
Result: DINGER

Chase Anderson had allowed 28 home runs coming into Friday’s start against the Giants and that was the only one he surrendered in his 5 innings. Credit to Hanson, though, for spinning on an 89 mph fastball (Statcast officially lists the pitch velocity as 88.6 mph) and doing that kind of damage. It’s a relief to have any hitter on the team who knows what to do with a bad pitch like that.

Unrelated, but related, here’s a highlight video of a young Alen Hanson from his days as a member of the Pirates’ Double-A affiliate, the Altoona Curve:

You can see how he’s always been a shaggy, restless hitter in the box whose feet just never seem to settle but whose bat always seems to slash and dash all over the plate. He’s also in an unofficial race against Evan Longoriacreated by this website — to see who can maintain the longest streak: Alen Hanson not drawing a walk or Evan Longoria getting on base. So far, both have kept their streaks intact. Click on the link to vote in the poll — whose streak do you think will last longest?

5. Aramis Garcia - 9/5/18 at Coors Field vs. Antonio Senzatela

Exit Velocity: 102.6 mph
Result: DINGER

He must think the game is extraordinarily easy. This was his second career home run in only three games played. Maybe a little park assist going on there, but the Giants haven’t been able to take advantage of it for two full calendar years, so he did the next best thing and simply hit it really hard.

4. Alen Hanson - 9/3/18 at Coors Field vs. Seunghwan Oh

Exit Velocity: 104.5 mph (tie)
Result: DINGER

Hanson sure does know how to pull a ball and time his home runs for high leverage situations.

3. Gorkys Hernandez - 9/4/18 at Coors Field vs. German Marquez

Exit Velocity: 104.5 mph (tie)
Result: DINGER

Always nice to tie the team lead in home runs by absolutely crushing a ball 430 feet. Doing some damage on a flat slider that just stays belt high and in the middle of the plate. Another easy pitch to yank.

As you can see, this exit velocity is tied with Alen Hanson’s home run from the previous day, but Hanson’s traveled “only” 413 feet and, so, I gave 3rd place to Gorkys’.

2. Chris Shaw - 9/3/18 at Coors Field vs. Seunghwan Oh

Exit Velocity: 108.3 mph
Result: DING. ER.

That 468-foot blast accomplished two things: it gave Chris Shaw his first major league hit and set the mark for the longest Giants home run of the season.

And here’s a special video put together that goes a bit more “in depth” with Shaw on his hitting philosophy:

1. Ryder Jones - 9/8/18 at Miller Park vs. Joakim Soria

Exit Velocity: 111.7 mph
Result: DINGER

It’s odd that a 468-foot home run wasn’t the hardest hit ball of the week, but we’re not going strictly by distance, we’re going by launch angle and exit velocity, and by that measure, Ryder Jones’ shot was the clear winner.

There you have it. The only barreled balls from the week. More to come next week? Maybe?