Wait for it ... DJ takes 48 mph(!) pitch deep

September 16th, 2020

Major League hitters train to be able to catch up to 100 mph heaters. But on Tuesday night, the Yankees’ had to hold back long enough to do damage against a pitch less than half that fast.

With New York blowing out Toronto in what became a 20-6 victory at Yankee Stadium, the Blue Jays put rookie infielder Santiago Espinal on the mound to mop up in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was the second pitching appearance for Espinal, who lobbed an 0-1 pitch toward home plate against LeMahieu leading off the inning.

LeMahieu waited, and waited and waited some more. Finally, the 48.7 mph floater arrived at home plate. LeMahieu uncorked his swing and more than doubled the pitch velocity, ripping the ball at 100.5 mph into the left-field seats for his seventh home run of the season.

Pitch-tracking data is available going back to 2008, and since then, this was easily the slowest-tracked pitch to be hit for a home run. The previous low was a 53.5 mph pitch by the Dodgers’ Vicente Padilla that the Mets’ Ike Davis hit out on July 23, 2010. Just 10 other pitches less than 60 mph have been taken deep in that period.

As for LeMahieu, the slowest pitch he had previously homered against in his career was a 70.9 mph curveball by the Reds’ Bronson Arroyo on May 21, 2017.

"DJ is the freaking best hitter I've ever played with, and he continues to keep raking," teammate Luke Voit said after the Yankees' rout on Tuesday night.