At one point on Friday night, we simultaneously had Bryce Harper hitting with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Manny Machado facing Albertin Chapman, and Craig Kimbrel facing Kristopher Bryant. We had the Braves overcome a pair of four-run deficits; we had the Yankees overcome an eight-run deficit. It's
At one point on Friday night, we simultaneously had Bryce Harper hitting with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Manny Machado facing Albertin Chapman, and Craig Kimbrel facing Kristopher Bryant. We had the Braves overcome a pair of four-run deficits; we had the Yankees overcome an eight-run deficit. It's not like baseball needed any help making this one of the most interesting nights all year.
But if we had to sum up Friday in one word, it would be "homers." Or "dingers," or "taters," as you prefer. As you've no doubt heard, baseball is in the midst of a historic home run surge. Last year we saw more than 1,400 additional dingers than we'd seen just two years earlier, so, of course, we entered 2017 extremely interested in seeing if that trend would continue. We figured it would take some time to be sure… and then Friday happened.
On Friday, we saw 48 homers, the most of any day this season, and the most since a 52-homer day on Aug. 19, 2016. After 592 homers in April in 2015, we saw 740 in 2016, and now, with two days left in the month, we're already up to 782, thanks to Friday's outburst. But more impressive than the raw totals, we saw Statcast™ records fall. We saw big stars like Michael Trout, Joey Votto, Evan Longoria, Freddie Freeman and Ryan Braun go deep. We saw lesser-known names like Tim Anderson, Ben Gamel and Scott Schebler take tater trots, too.
We saw a bit of everything, to the point that if you looked away for five minutes, you probably missed about 1,200 feet of homers. So what all happened? Where to start, really.
Aaron Judge hit the hardest home run on record.
What's less surprising, that Giancarlo Stanton had previously held the hardest-hit home run record (119.2 mph, on June 23, 2015), or that Judge is the one who managed to break it? With a 119.4 mph blast off Baltimore's Kevin Gausman in the sixth inning of a wild 14-11 extra-inning win, the Yankees rookie now owns the record for the hardest-hit home run in the Statcast™ era. It's also now the ninth-hardest hit batted ball of any type, and remember, he'd also hit one 113.5 mph off Gausman earlier in the game. He's the first player to have two homers of at least 113 mph in the same game.
By definition, the hardest-hit homer on record is also the hardest-hit home run at Yankee Stadium. We bring that up because that was the second time on Friday that the Yankee Stadium record changed hands. You see, entering the night, the record was held by Judge, at 115.5 mph on April 19. At the end of the night, the record was held by Judge. But ever so briefly, for just a few minutes, Mark Trumbo held the crown with a 115.7 mph shot off Bryan Mitchell in the sixth. It didn't last long.
Manny Machado hit the longest homer of the season.
It's amazing to think that Judge and Trumbo could do what they did -- to say nothing of Jacoby Ellsbury's grand slam or Starlin Castro's game-tying blast in the ninth, or Matt Holliday's walk-off in the 10th -- and not even have the most impressive shot of the night. That, without question, belongs to Machado, who crushed a Carsten Sabathia pitch a monstrous 470 feet in the fifth inning, which set all sorts of marks.
• It's the longest home run of the year, topping 462-foot shots from Carlos Gomez, Corey Seager and Joey Gallo.
• It's the longest home run ever tracked by Statcast™ in Yankee Stadium.
• It's Machado's longest Statcast™ home run, topping a 453-foot shot last July.
• It's the second-longest Orioles homer on record, behind Jonathan Schoop's mammoth 484-ft blast off Johnny Cueto in 2015.
When you think Orioles power, you tend to think of Trumbo or Chris Davis. What if it's Machado who makes it the fifth straight year an Oriole leads the AL in homers?
Kris Bryant hit the longest homer at Fenway Park this year.
Bryant's 449-foot blast easily tops Mitch Moreland's 431-foot shot for the longest this year in Boston, though that's somewhat fueled by the fact that the Red Sox just haven't been hitting homers yet this year. But it's also the fifth-longest homer at Fenway Park in the Statcast™ era, behind Hanley Ramirez (468), Carlos Correa (455), Machado (450) and Schoop (450).
Travis d'Arnaud doesn't get cheated.
d'Arnaud's first-inning homer off Max Scherzer was tracked at 455 feet and made it the longest of his career, topping a 439-foot shot he hit in Colorado in 2015. A homer off an ace, and a personal record at that, would make for a pretty stellar night all by itself. Of course, he later added another homer off Scherzer, this one 420 feet, and the total distance of 875 was the most by any player in a two-homer game this year, topping the 850 feet by Robinson Chirinos on April 21. Thanks to small samples and big dingers, d'Arnaud raised his slugging percentage by 134 points on Friday alone.
Ryan Zimmerman is officially back.
We talked a lot about Zimmerman over the winter, in that he had a very high exit velocity but suffered poor results in 2016 because of too many grounders and not enough health. But Daniel Murphyclaimed this spring he was working with Zimmerman on elevating, and the results have been fantastic, even before Zimmerman hit a pair of shots Friday, one 409 feet off Addison Reed, the other 380 feet off Jacob deGrom.
He's now got 10 homers in his first 22 games, one behind Eric Thames for the most in baseball, and he's got 75 points of slugging percentage over Harper, who's been phenomenal.
Every home run is a story. We didn't even get to Miguel Sano, Ryan Schimpf, Christian Arroyo or two by Khris Davis. Yunel Escobar, Robinson Cano and Todd Frazier want their due, as well. As the league homer total goes up and up, you'd think each one would be less interesting. If you watched baseball for even a minute on Friday, you know that's not true.
Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs.