CHICAGO -- When Javier Baez launched his home run into the stratosphere at Wrigley Field, teammate Kyle Schwarber could only marvel at the 481-foot shot."Schwarber was standing next to me and said, 'God, that ball was 500 feet,'" Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Baez's solo blast in the Cubs'
CHICAGO -- When Javier Baez launched his home run into the stratosphere at Wrigley Field, teammate Kyle Schwarber could only marvel at the 481-foot shot.
"Schwarber was standing next to me and said, 'God, that ball was 500 feet,'" Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Baez's solo blast in the Cubs' 7-1 win over the Reds on Thursday night. "He said, 'I don't think I've seen a ball go up there.' So respectfully, I looked at the board and he was right. I didn't realize it was that far but it did come off hot."
Baez is not only is setting personal bests in the number of home runs he's hitting this season, but the Cubs' infielder is also setting distance marks.
His home run Thursday was the longest at Wrigley Field this season and tied for second-longest in the Major Leagues this year. Baez connected on a 3-2 slider from the Reds' Anthony DeSclafani, launching the ball to center field and just behind the bleacher seats. He now has 93 RBIs, tops in the National League.
"That was incredible," Chicago's Anthony Rizzo said. "That was touched."
Baez felt the elements were in his favor. Thursday was the 12th game at Wrigley when the wind was blowing out. When hitters see those kind of conditions, they're aiming for Waveland or Sheffield avenues behind the bleachers.
"I didn't feel it off the bat, really," Baez said. "I think that was one of my dreams, to hit a ball like that with the wind blowing out. Finally, we got it. I think this is game No. 7 that the wind is blowing out here in Chicago. We've been crushing balls here since April and they don't go anywhere with the wind blowing straight in. It feels great to hit a ball that good."
The wind has blown in for 37 games and there's been a crosswind for 13 of the 62 home games played so far.
Baez's blast didn't quite reach Waveland Avenue. It was close.
"Everybody asked me if that was all I had," Baez said. "I said, 'That's it. That's all I have. I can't go farther.' Hopefully, I get another ball like that and hopefully the wind is blowing straight out like it was tonight."
The only home run to go farther in the Majors this year? That happened on April 20 when the Padres' Franchy Cordero hit a 489-foot shot.
"That's pretty impressive," Cubs pitcher Cole Hamels said of Baez's homer. "To see the types of balls he's hit, [Wednesday] and today, from his type of frame -- you're used to seeing those from the Adam Dunns and big, big strong human beings. Javy has got it all together, he's got the right type of whip."
The previous top long ball by the Cubs this year at Wrigley Field was a 453-foot homer by Rizzo on July 26. Since Statcast™ began tracking home runs, the longest by a Cubs player at Wrigley Field was Kristopher Bryant's 495-foot shot on Sept. 6, 2015.
Willson Contreras hit the Cubs' second-longest home run, a 491-foot homer on Oct. 18, 2017, during the playoffs.
Cubs' longest home runs since Statcast™ began in 2015
- Kris Bryant: 495 feet -- Sept. 6, 2015
- Willson Contreras: 491 feet -- Oct. 18, 2017*
3. Javier Baez: 481 feet -- Aug. 23, 2018
- Kris Bryant: 477 feet -- May 26, 2015
- Kyle Schwarber: 470 feet -- May 23, 2017
Longest home runs in MLB in 2018
- Franchy Cordero: 489 feet -- April 20
2 (tie). Javier Baez: 481 feet -- Aug. 23
2 (tie). Avisail Garcia: 481 feet -- April 3
4 (tie). Christian Walker: 479 feet -- May 1
4 (tie). Marcell Ozuna: 479 feet -- April 3
Rizzo also got into the home run derby, hitting a two-run shot in the first inning. Baez was at first when Rizzo launched a two-run blast off DeSclafani, hitting the first pitch from the right-hander. The Cubs now have homered in a season-high eight consecutive games. They also connected in eight straight games during an 11-game streak from Sept. 24, 2017 to March 31.
Rizzo hit a solo homer on Tuesday against the Tigers and another on Wednesday. Thursday's homer went 434 feet into the right-field bleachers. It was his 21st homer of the season, giving him 81 RBIs.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.