Stanton drills 117.3 mph HR for Team USA

March 19th, 2017

Dominican Republic starter was keeping Team USA's bats relatively quiet through his first 3 2/3 innings Saturday.

That was until ended Santana's night with one mighty swing and put the U.S. ahead for good in a 6-3 victory.

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

With a runner on first, Stanton unloaded on a 92 mph fastball from Santana, sending the ball deep over the left-field wall and into the side of the Western Metal Supply Co. building at Petco Park for a two-run homer. Stanton's blast gave the U.S. a 4-2 lead in Saturday's win-or-go-home matchup and etched his name -- yet again -- near the top of the Statcast™ leaderboard.

Stanton's homer came off his bat with a whopping 117.3 mph exit velocity, per Statcast™, flying a projected 424 feet at a launch angle of 20 degrees. That ranks as the fourth-hardest-hit homer of the Statcast™ era, dating back to the beginning of 2015. But in an ultimate honor to Stanton's singular power, it was only his third-hardest-hit homer in that span. The Marlins slugger hit a 119.2 mph blast -- the all-time record holder -- in June 2015 against the Cardinals, as well as a 118.5 mph homer in April 2015 against the Phillies.

The third-hardest home run of the Statcast™ era belongs to the Rockies' , who hit a 117.4 mph blast in April of last year.

Stanton's mind-boggling homers aren't confined to competitive games, of course. Last July, he won the 2016 T-Mobile Home Run Derby -- which, coincidentally, was held at Petco Park -- by clubbing 61 shots over the wall that traveled a combined distance of just under 15 miles. Stanton's exit velocity topped out at 120.4 that night, the all-time record for games or derbies or anything else Statcast™ has tracked, and he posted the highest average exit velocity of the event at 111.9 mph. In a dominant display, Stanton owned the 20 hardest-hit homers of the night.

"I guessed inside fastball," Stanton said of his mammoth homer Saturday. "I got to it early and had a little home run derby reminisce there."

Team USA had mustered only one batted ball with an exit velocity over 100 mph before Stanton's blast, which was as stark a contrast as could be from his first hit of the game. That came in the top of the third, when Stanton hit a Santana slider off the end of his bat at just 66.7 mph for a single through the right side.

That happened to be the fifth-softest base hit Stanton has ever collected in the Statcast™ era. He had also recorded just one hit in 14 career at-bats against Santana, striking out in nine of them.

As it turns out, there are all sorts of ways that Stanton can hurt opposing pitchers pitchers -- even if he's struggled against them before, and even if his hits differ by more than 50 mph worth of exit velocity.

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