Willson Contreras hit one of the highest home runs of the year and could only drop his bat in awe
"Launch angle" has been the secret code word in baseball this year, as batters learned that the best way to hit dingers was -- not so surprisingly -- to get under the ball. Still, the goal is some slight loft on the ball. What Willson Contreras did was hit an actual moonshot -- in that the general trajectory was closer to a rocketship taking off -- when he tied the game at one during Game 2 of the NLDS against the Nationals.
When Gio Gonzalez threw an 0-1 fastball to Contreras in the top of the second, the Cubs' catcher launched it into the sky with a 45-degree launch angle. He was presumably so impressed by the very height, he simply dropped his bat -- unable to bother holding onto it for another second:
Just look at how high everyone had to stare when the ball came off the bat. The umpire couldn't help but admire. And one fan even looked directly into the sun:
Gonzalez seems determined to ignore the flight of the ball. "This is definitely going to drop into someone's glove," he is surely trying to convince himself. "There's no way it's continuing to soar." But it did.
That 45-degree launch angle was the highest for a home run hit by a Cubs player since Statcast burst into being in 2015. It topped Greg Bird's aerial flight from Friday's ALDS, but it doesn't match the highest launch-angle homer from this season. That title belongs to Mike Napoli, Tommy Joseph and Paul Goldschmidt, who each knocked one out at 47 degrees.
If you're wondering what that looks like, you're in luck. Notice how the left fielder doesn't immediately move backward as, usually, this type of ball won't have the distance to clear the fence: