The Cincinnati Reds returned to Chattanooga this year for their Double-A affiliation. They had been with the Lookouts in the past, for quite a while actually. But after spending seven seasons with Pensacola the two parted ways in the offseason and the Reds went back to their former destination.
The Double-A Southern League is considered to be a neutral hitting environment for the minor leagues. There are 10 teams in the league and the Lookouts finished 5th in the league with 104 home runs. Jackson led the league with 128, while Tennessee was last with, somehow, 48 home runs. The league average home run total was 93.
I know that you are, like me, were shocked to see Ibandel Isabel all over this list, right? Sarcasm aside, Isabel led the league with 26 home runs despite playing in just 91 games. He missed most of August with an injury. Didn’t matter (for these purposes). The big right-handed hitter found himself in the top four spots and 13 of the top 20 spots on the team.
The longest home run that was hit by Ibandel Isabel was a 455-footer. Unfortunately it was hit in Chattanooga and the Lookouts are the only team at the Double-A level who doesn’t have video, so we can’t see what it looked like. The 447-foot home run he hit on April 12th was a grand slam that came on a 96 MPH fastball. The outfielders simply turned and watch it sail away into the night.
This may just be “The Ibandel Isabel” effect, but as we’ve been noting this week: The further up the chain you go, the longer the home runs should be. And we are seeing that at play here. Chris Okey’s 413-foot home run was 20th on the list for the Lookouts. That would have ranked 12th in Daytona. In total there was 37 home runs that went 400+ feet hit by Lookouts players this year. That’s good for 36% of the home runs that they hit this past season.
First Fun Fact
Ibandel Isabel is a strong, strong man. As noted above, he led the Southern League with 26 home runs this season. Two players in the league tied for second place, hitting 21 each. Isabel hit 20 home runs for Chattanooga this season that went at least 400 feet.
Second Fun Fact
While Ibandel Isabel hit 20 home runs at least 400 feet, Gavin LaValley did it four times. Chris Okey and Tyler Stephenson both did so three times.
You can see the entire series right here to check out how the top home runs went for each level within the Cincinnati Reds farm system.