There’s not much going on in the world of baseball right now. The Diamondbacks made some minor moves after the first of the year, but there’s been little since. They just signed Chris Iannetta to support Jeff Mathis and Chris Herrmann, citing his on-base skills and power as selling points. There wasn’t much talk of his poor framing numbers, but that’s probably by design. Paul Goldschmidt has signed on to represent Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, which seems fitting for #AmericasFirstBaseman. Saying there’s “no news” would be wrong, but let’s just go with the notion that whatever news is out there is far from earth-shattering. With that in mind, let’s return to a familiar topic: hard-hit baseballs.

We’ve done this before, recapping the hardest hit baseballs of 2015. Mark Trumbo won the award, hitting a baseball 117mph off of Nick Martinez on a single that was absolutely scalded up the middle. This time around, the marks are lower, though shedding Trumbo in that process seems like a fair trade off (even if he is about to land a big contract with an AL club). So let’s take a look at the ten hardest hit baseballs of the 2016 season by Diamondbacks hitters. The results are, perhaps, intriguing.

There are five batted balls that missed the cut, but shouldn’t go unnoticed. We know that hard-hit balls are good and so these deserve their fair due.

10. Paul Goldschmidt, June 10th, Honorable Mention

  • Exit Velocity: 111.9mph
  • Result: single
  • Pitcher: Justin Nicolino
  • Pitch Type: four-seam fastball (91.2mph)
  • Distance: 280ft

With the bases empty and two outs in the third against Miami, Goldy ripped this single up the middle. Welington Castillo then walked and Peter O’Brien struck out. And then everyone groaned.

9. Paul Goldschmidt, June 15th, Honorable Mention

  • Exit Velocity: 112mph
  • Result: single
  • Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw
  • Pitch Type: slider (86.8mph)
  • Distance: 375ft

Goldy didn’t wait long to sting another one, this time coming off the Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw. With Michael Bourn on second, he trotted home easily, but the story was whether or not this line drive was a home run. The play was reviewed, but ultimately it was deemed to have stayed in the park, and Goldy was left with a very long single.

8. Welington Castillo, April 22nd, Honorable Mention

  • Exit Velocity: 112.1mph
  • Result: home run
  • Pitcher: Jon Niese
  • Pitch Type: sinker (92.5mph)
  • Distance: 426ft

Beef got a hold of one early in the season, taking a hanging sinker up over the plate and depositing it a long way down the left field line for a solo homer. Patrick Corbin doubled in Chris Owings later in the fourth inning, but the D-backs lost to the Pirates 8-7.

7. Yasmany Tomas, April 21st, Honorable Mention

  • Exit Velocity: 112.2mph
  • Result: home run
  • Pitcher: Johnny Cueto
  • Pitch Type: sinker (93.3mph)
  • Distance: 441ft

A day before, Yasmany Tomas got into one. He took the Giants’ Johnny Cueto deep on a sinker out over the plate, thigh-high, and launching it into the left-center field stands. Not a towering blast, this was an absolute rocket hit at 22-degrees that probably hurt the hand of the fan that tried to catch it. Justice was served.

6. Mitch Haniger, August 16th, Honorable Mention

  • Exit Velocity: 112.9mph
  • Result: ground out
  • Pitcher: Noah Syndergaard
  • Pitch Type: four-seam fastball (99.1mph)
  • Distance: 134ft

Sometimes you hit ’em where they ain’t, sometimes you hit ’em where they is. Mitch Haniger scaled this worm-burner right at second baseman Kelly Johnson who flipped the ball to James Loney for the out. Noah Syndergaard’s hair is surely to blame.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff, the five hardest-hit baseballs by Diamondbacks last season. You’re award winners are…

Tied-4. David Peralta, April 22nd, Can’t Hold Me Down Award

  • Exit Velocity: 113.3mph
  • Result: double
  • Pitcher: Tony Watson
  • Pitch Type: sinker (92.4mph)
  • Distance: 217ft

There is no denying David Peralta. The former pitching prospect, turned indy ball prospect, turned Arizona masher doesn’t quit. Sure, he was sidelined for much of the season, but when healthy he was a force to be reckoned with yet again. On the same day that Welington Castillo victimized Jon Niese, Peralta got to the Buccos’ bullpen, putting this screamer in the gap. Andrew McCutchen cut it off, but the Freight Train chugged into second anyways. Nick Ahmed grounded out, Chris Owings lined out, then Rickie Weeks, Jr. reached on an error, and Peralta came home to score. Homers are great, but doubles are good, too, especially when you get a little help from your friends.

Tied-4. Brandon Drury, July 6th, Globetrotter Award

  • Exit Velocity: 113.3mph
  • Result: double
  • Pitcher: Colin Rea
  • Pitch Type: sinker (91.6mph)
  • Distance: 211ft

Brandon Drury played five different defensive position last season: right field, left field, second base, third base and first base. He even played some shortstop the season before in AAA Reno. While all of the moving around didn’t appear to help his fielding, it also didn’t appear to impact his ability to rip the baseball. Good friend Jake Lamb was on first when Drury laced this sinker down the left field line, but only reached third thanks to the with-urgency fielding of Melvin Upton, Jr. Nick Ahmed walked to load the bases, but Rickie Weeks, Jr. struck out. The D-backs lost to the Padres 13-6. Scoring six runs in a game is good, but scoring even more of them would appear to have been helpful.

3. David Peralta, April 8th, Dammit Award

  • Exit Velocity: 114.1mph
  • Result: groundout
  • Pitcher: Travis Wood
  • Pitch Type: four-seam fastball (91mph)
  • Distance: 148ft

When you hit the ball 114mph, you’re supposed to be rewarded. Batters hit .773 on balls hit this hard last season, posting a .943 w/OBA in the process. Unfortunately, Peralta hit this ninth inning rocket right at Addison Russell who somehow fielded the baseball without receiving a significant injury in the process and threw over to Anthony Rizzo for the out. With the score tied at two apiece, Joe Maddon showcased his curious bullpen strategy by inserting Trevor Cahill to yield a single to Welington Castillo. Jake Lamb then grounded out before Yasmany Tomas walked them off on a home run ball hit much less hard than the one Peralta led the inning off with. Oh well, the Diamondbacks beat the Cubs and so they should actually be the World Series champs and partying at the White House. Life is unfair.

2. Rickie Weeks, Jr., April 22nd, Well That Was Weird Award

  • Exit Velocity: 114.2mph
  • Result: reached on error
  • Pitcher: Tony Watson
  • Pitch Type: sinker (93.7mph)
  • Distance: 143ft

The Diamondbacks hit three of their ten hardest baseballs on April 22nd. Tony Watson, who’s a very competent relief pitcher, surrendered two of the three. This line drive was slowed down by Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer, but he couldn’t stop the full force of the baseball as it rolled seemingly through his glove and into shallow left. David Peralta, who’d hit a bullet just two batters before, came around to score as Weeks, Jr. hustled into second. Considering that Mercer had all of about a third of a second to convert the out on a absolute bullet, the ruling of an error seems harsh. You can decide for yourself below. Once again, hitting the ball hard comes with it’s rewards (usually).

1. Yasmany Tomas, April 9th, DAMMIT!!! Award

  • Exit Velocity: 114.3mph
  • Result: groundout
  • Pitcher: Kyle Hendricks
  • Pitch Type: sinker (87.3mph)
  • Distance: 149ft

I mean, we just got done discussing that hard hit balls should do significant damage, and yet again we come up empty. After Peralta struck out and Castillo grounded out to short, Kyle Hendricks got off easy when Tomas blasted a grounder right at Ben Zobrist who tossed over to Rizzo for the final out of the second inning. It was a 3-1 count and so it’s no wonder Tomas was swinging, because Tomas is usually swinging, but also because this is a traditional hitter’s count. That didn’t really seem to matter. So maybe the Cubs really were supposed to win the World Series after all.

2 Responses to The Hardest of the Hard-Hit Baseballs of 2016

  1. Kevin says:

    Thanks for writing an article!

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