On Tuesday night Elly De La Cruz posted something interesting on Instagram. What was that you ask? It was the daily chart for the hardest hit baseballs during that day’s instructional league game. There were two things that really stood out from the chart he shared. The first thing was that De La Cruz had a single at 117.51 MPH off of the bat.
Let’s talk about that first. In the big leagues in the 2021 season there were only 28 baseballs that were hit harder than that. It’s a list of who’s who in the game when it comes to power hitters, too. Here’s the list of players that reached 117.5 MPH or harder during the season.
|Player||Max Exit Velo|
|Ronald Acuna Jr||117.9|
Those players make up the entire list from the Major Leagues. Giancarlo Stanton had the top 7 spots on the list, 10 of the top 11 spots, and 16 of the top 24 spots. He hits the ball harder than anyone alive.
Back to Elly De La Cruz, though – it’s just another notch in the “this dude has some of the more elite toolsets in all of minor league baseball” belt. We’re talking about a guy who has posted absolute elite level exit velocities, elite level speed, elite level arm strength – all 100% measurable and non-opinion based things. But if we wanted to get into the opinion based stuff, too, he’s an elite level athlete who has also produced some numbers on the playing field, as well.
Let’s talk a little bit about the other thing that really stood out. Perhaps you noticed it above, but if you didn’t let me share it with you: Ruben Ibarra hit a home run that went 478 feet. Four hundred feet. Plus seventy eight more feet.
Now, we do need to note the caveat for both Elly De La Cruz and Ruben Ibarra’s stats here that they did not come against big league pitching, so the comparison to the big league data obviously isn’t 1-to-1. But we do have access to all of the big league data and we don’t have access to much of the minor league data (but if you are reading this and do have access to the trackman data from the minors, contact me).
With that out of the way, there were only 6 home runs in Major League Baseball this season that topped 478 feet.
|Ronald Acuna Jr.||481|
That’s it. That’s the entire list for the 2021 Major League Baseball season. No Cincinnati Reds player has ever hit a home run that far in the Major Leagues since they began tracking it in 2015. I have been tracking home run distances in the minor leagues for the Reds since the 2017 season. No one has topped 478 there, either, but Leo Seminati came closer than anyone back in 2018 when he crushed one 477 feet with the AZL Reds. Only three other players have reached 470 feet in that time while with the Reds: Aristides Aquino hit one 471 feet in June of 2019 when he was with Louisville, Fidel Castro hit one 471 feet with the Arizona Complex League Reds on July 30th this past year, and Wilson Garcia hit one 470 feet with Chattanooga on August 19th this past season.
It is worth noting that for the 2021 minor league season I do not have the complete home run data like I do for the previous seasons. I currently have data on 343 of the home runs hit on the farm this year – almost all of which are from the full-season teams.