The longest White Sox home runs of 2020

If there was one unifying theme behind the White Sox’s offseason moves, Rick Hahn wanted to put a dent in the home run deficit. Yasmani Grandal, Edwin Encarnación and Nomar Mazara theoretically hit homers, while Dallas Keuchel theoretically kept the ball in the park.

On paper, it should have worked. And setting aside Mazara, it did work, at least within the confines of the 60-game schedule.

YearHitAllowedDifference
2019182 (13th)238 (9th)-56
202096 (1st)71 (6th)+25

Until the season’s final fortnight, the White Sox actually led the American League in both categories, and with a little cushion. Here’s a snapshot of where they stood on Sunday, Sept. 13, with the runners-up in parentheses:

I had thought about noting their mastery of both columns, but I figured I’d just be inviting reflexive “jinx” comments by publishing that post before the schedule strengthened. If the White Sox held that margin after that gauntlet, then it’d be worth writing home about.

Sure enough, the White Sox slipped in both departments. They allowed 27 homers over the final 14 games of the season, tied for the worst mark with the Angels second-worst to the Angels. They finished with 18 homers during that time, and while that’s the fourth-best number in the AL, they almost lost their lead to the furiously finishing Yankees, who belted 25 over the final two weeks and finished with 94 homers.

Over the course of a standard 162-game season with the other AL divisions on the slate, I’m guessing the White Sox slip to the top-third in homers hit, and middle of the pack in homers allowed. That remains but a thought exercise, because the White Sox could only play the schedule the league provided them. More than half of their home-run margin came against the Tigers, whom they outhomered 20-7, but what are they going to do? Give some back?

* * * * * * * * *

However it happened, the White Sox hit 96 homers over 60 games. That’s good for a 259-homer pace over a 162-game schedule, and it’s such a distinct outpacing of the previous two seasons (in which the Sox totaled 182 homers each) that the power surge could be felt even with the truncated calendar.

The White Sox avoided getting cheated out of extreme homers, too. Even if there are 150-some homers missing from the mix, the White Sox still managed to cover the full spectrum of homers, especially if you include the output from the three-game wild card series against Oakland. And that I will, because otherwise we’d be ignoring the season’s biggest, boldest blast.

Before we look back on the dingers with distance, here’s a rundown of the other homers on the furthest ends of their respective ranges.

Shortest home run: 344 feet, Danny Mendick on Aug. 17; Yoán Moncada on Sept. 26.

These two homers traveled the same projected difference, but they couldn’t have been hit much differently. Mendick turned, burned, and singed an elevated inner-half fastball into the White Sox bullpen at 108 mph. That’s 15 mph faster than the inside fastball Moncada parachuted into the Kraft Kave for the second-softest homer of the year.

Highest home run: 42 degrees, Yasmani Grandal on Aug. 28

Grandal maximized the White Sox’s most majestic missile. After Alex Colomé suffered his only blown save in the top of the ninth, Grandal started and ended the bottom of the inning with an emphatic bat drop.

Lowest home run: 18 degrees, José Abreu on Sept. 16

Abreu ripped this Jake Odorizzi sinker into the left field seats so hard that the left field seats spit it up and back onto the playing surface.

Fastest home run: 115.5 mph, Luis Robert on Aug. 17

Robert was one of nine MLB players to hit a homer harder than 115 mph. This one could have been concourse-bound had he gotten a little more air under it, but if he’d gotten more air under it, you wouldn’t have heard the baseball’s bloodcurdling scream.

Slowest home run: 92.5 mph, Tim Anderson on Aug. 20

Anderson hit half of his 10 homers against Detroit, and this one represents his tormenting of the Tigers better than any of them. The slider was off the plate. The contact had an expected batting average of .190. Neither mattered.

Now, onto the White Sox’s five longest homers of the year.

No. 4(t): José Abreu

Date: Aug. 21 | Distance: 452 feet | Exit velocity: 109 mph| Launch angle: 27 degrees

Jason Adam tried to heat a fastball past Abreu up and in, but Abreu smoked it to the top rows of Wrigley Field’s left-center bleachers for the sixth homer and final run of the White Sox’s 10-1 blowout. As impressive as it was, one of his teammates had it beat that night.

No. 4(t): Eloy Jiménez

Date: Aug. 28 | Distance: 452 feet | Exit velocity: 111.1 mph | Launch angle: 33 degrees

Right before Danny Duffy threw an 0-1 fastball to Jiménez, Steve Stone noted how deep Kansas City’s outfield were playing him. It turns out Whit Merrifield would’ve had to have started in the shrubbery to have a chance.

No. 3: Luis Robert

Date: Sept. 3 | Distance: 458 feet | Exit velocity: 113 mph | Launch angle: 28 degrees

It’s hard to render Rex Hudler speechless, but Robert’s demolition of a hanging Jake Newberry slider did the job.

No. 2: Eloy Jiménez

Date: Aug. 21 | Distance: 466 feet | Exit velocity: 105.2 mph | Launch angle: 29 degrees

Two innings before Abreu’s solo shot off Adam, Eloy Jiménez took Colin Rea deep in the same direction, except 14 feet farther and a couple rows deeper.

If we limited the sample to the regular season, Jiménez would’ve taken home the distance championship for the second consecutive year. But because there’s no reason to leave postseason homers out of the pageant, he’ll have to settle for runner-up to…

No. 1: Luis Robert

Date: Oct. 1 | Distance: 487 feet | Exit velocity: 112.2 mph | Launch angle: 32 degrees

While Robert silenced Hudler with his Kauffman Stadium clout, his bat also went quiet afterward. He hadn’t homered in 90 plate appearances when he strode to the plate in Game 3 of the wild card series. It’s not like opponents pitched him perfectly for four weeks. He missed his share of grooved fastballs and spinning sliders. Mistakes he’d hammered out to left field over his first month in the majors were now popped up to the right side.

He’d shown signs of warming entering the postseason, and contributed singles in each of the first two games in the Coliseum. An 89-mph thigh-high Mike Fiers fastball was all he needed to get back in the home run column.

Robert went 2-for-5 in the finale to wrap up a respectable postseason showing, and it would’ve been fun to see whether this foreshadowed additional highlights in the divisional series. Alas, any other jaw-dropping homers will have to wait until 2021.

(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Ceverettsdinosaurs

FYI, hearing from a source close to Crochet that there is no ligament damage. Should resume throwing soon after a couple weeks off.

HallofFrank

I’m not sure what to make of this, but for whatever reason it has a Wetbutt23 feel to me.

jorgefabregas

It’s clearly Everett Teaford’s alt

jorgefabregas

Small sample size, but the fact that 97 + a put-away slider was effective against the two batters he faced in the playoffs–maybe he should think about throwing that way to preserve his arm instead of throwing every other pitch 100+.

Eagle Bones

What source would you trust more than Carl Everett’s dinosaurs? Come one, you’re just being cynical.

metasox

Waiting for KatyPerrysBootyHole to weigh in

Ceverettsdinosaurs

I understand the skepticism. I don’t normally have inside info, but this is the exception.

HallofFrank

Robert’s home run in game three caused more of an involuntary explosion of excitement in me than any single play I can remember. I literally jumped off of the couch.

As much as I appreciate the slow consistent production of, say, a Yasmani Grandal, Robert and TA are exciting as hell. I’m giddy we get to watch them for the foreseeable future. And, certainly, we could throw Eloy and Moncada in there, too.

asinwreck

The 2020 edition of this post is the most satisfying one I’ve read. Gives us much to anticipate for next year.

As Cirensica

I don’t understand the statistics Jim cites above:

For the year 2020, in the table the deficit/surplus is 25 (96 vs 71), but below the table he informs it is 34 (78 vs 44). Am I missing something?

Ted Mulvey

The +25 in the table are the final results. The 78 vs 44 is where the team was at on Sept. 13. They then allowed 27 additional home runs and hit an additional 18 the rest of the way for the 96 vs 71 that you see in the table.

Eagle Bones

RIP Whitey Ford. Not to be insensitive, but the first thing that pops into my mind when I hear his name is the the Simpsons Pretzel Wagon episode. Great nickname as well (“Chairman of the Board”) and of course a great pitcher (my grandfather actually pitched for the Yanks in ’52, but didn’t cross paths with him because he was in the service that year).

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2020/10/whitey-ford-passes-away-yankees.html

MrStealYoBase

I feel like Robert would have had the most to gain from a regular all-star break. It just looked like he had too many things going on in his head at the plate in September: trying to be prepared for whatever the pitcher threw, and ended up being prepared for nothing the pitcher threw.

That HR off Fiers was majestic through.