Forgive us if we’ve mislead you in the past. As much as we might swoon over home runs that travel over 450 feet or explode off the bat at 121 mph, distance and speed really aren’t the only things that matter when it comes to home runs.
Case in point, Kansas City Royals slugger Lorenzo Cain managed to tuck a three-run home run just inside Pesky Pole during Saturday’s game at Fenway Park. The exit velocity was 90 mph and the distance was a mere 302 feet, which according to some calculations defied the odds.
Before we get into that, we should clarify that 302 feet is not a misprint. That was Statcast’s estimated distance, which makes it the shortest distance for a home run that cleared the fence this season by nine feet. Still, it counted just the same as Salvador Perez’s long home run on Friday that shattered a windshield outside the ballpark.
Actually, it counted for more. Perez’s blast was just a solo shot.
Here’s a quick look at the Statcast breakdown:
And here’s an overhead look that adds a little perspective to just how perfectly placed the home run was:
— David Adler (@_dadler) July 30, 2017
Now here’s where it gets really fascinating. When you put all those variables together, the baseball Cain hit is almost literally never a hit at Fenway Park. Yes, even with the favorable dimensions in right field, only one other ball in play like this one that’s been measured in Boston has dropped for a hit.
The only other ball that has ever been batted like Cain's HR that fell for a hit was a Pedroia double down the RF line. .016 batting average pic.twitter.com/5mFeeshvyF
— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) July 30, 2017
First of all, that’s crazy. Second of all, it should come as no surprise that Dustin Pedroia was responsible for that hit.
With that in mind, Cain surely isn’t going to apologize for his good luck.
All that’s asked of him is to hit the baseball where the defense isn’t, and in this case it just so happened that 302 feet was good enough for his 12th home run of the season.
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