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Let the kids rake: Youngsters hit monster HRs

@_dadler
April 20, 2019

The kids aren't just playing -- they're crushing. It's not the first time, and it won't be the last, but Friday featured some huge homers from MLB's young sluggers. You won’t want to miss them. Here are the big five big flies, all from players 25 or younger. **Yoan Moncada,

The kids aren't just playing -- they're crushing.

It's not the first time, and it won't be the last, but Friday featured some huge homers from MLB's young sluggers. You won’t want to miss them.

Here are the big five big flies, all from players 25 or younger.

Yoan Moncada, White Sox (23 years old)
109.3 mph, 458-foot HR vs. Tigers

Moncada has looked like a breakout star on the rise for the White Sox this season, and he still hasn't turned 24. He got things started with a monster shot in the top of the first inning against the Tigers. Moncada's 458-foot homer was the longest of his young career… by a full 20 feet (he hit a 438-footer on April 3).

Most impressive? Moncada went deep to dead center field at Comerica Park, where fly balls go to die. In fact, Moncada's homer is the second longest to straightaway center at Comerica since Statcast started tracking in 2015, and it's the longest to that part of the park by a visiting player.

Longest HRs to straightaway CF at Comerica Park since 2015
1) J.D. Martinez (DET): 466 feet -- July 21, 2015
2) Yoan Moncada (CWS): 458 feet -- April 19, 2019
3) Nelson Cruz (SEA): 455 feet -- July 21, 2015
4-T) Miguel Cabrera (DET): 453 feet -- June 20, 2016
4-T) Miguel Cabrera (DET): 453 feet -- June 14, 2015

Pete Alonso, Mets (24 years old)
111.7 mph, 432-foot HR vs. Cardinals

Alonso has been in the big leagues for less than a month, and he's already crushing homers as impressive as any Mets player has crushed since Statcast was introduced. His latest was a 111.7 mph laser that came off a bat at just a 17-degree launch angle, but was hit so hard that it still traveled upwards of 430 feet. He also hit it off a 97.2 mph fastball from Cardinals flamethrower Ryan Helsley.

The 24-year-old rookie has already hit eight balls 110 mph or harder this season, second only to Aaron Judge's 10. Three of those have been homers, including Friday night's and Alonso's Mets-record-setting 118.3 mph blast on April 11, which is the hardest-hit homer in MLB by anyone not named "Judge" or "Stanton" since 2015.

Most batted balls hit 110+ mph, 2019
1) Aaron Judge (NYY): 10
2) Pete Alonso (NYM): 8
3) Joey Gallo (TEX): 7
4-T) Avisail Garcia (TB): 6
4-T) Franmil Reyes (SD): 6

Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres (20 years old)
110.1 mph, 438-foot HR vs. Reds

From the moment he first stepped onto the field for the Padres on Opening Day, Tatis has been showcasing the five-tool talents that made him MLB Pipelilne's No. 2 overall prospect. His power came to the forefront (as did his speed, considering he stole three bases) when he launched a 110.1 mph, 438-foot home run to center field at Petco Park.

That homer was Tatis' hardest-hit ball of any kind in the big leagues to date, and it made the 20-year-old one of three top prospects along with Alonso and Eloy Jimenez of the White Sox to have already hit a 110-plus mph home run this season.

Tatis' hardest-batted balls
1) 110.1 mph HR off Anthony DeSclafani -- April 19
2) 109.0 mph HR off Madison Bumgarner -- April 8
3) 107.4 mph single off Antonio Senzatela -- April 15
4) 106.8 mph HR off Merrill Kelly -- April 1
5) 105.7 mph double off Seunghwan Oh -- April 16

Joey Gallo, Rangers (25 years old)
113.4 mph, 442-foot HR vs. Astros

It might feel like Gallo has been belting mammoth homers for a while, but the Rangers slugger is still only 25. This one was a prototypical Gallo crush job -- soaring 120 feet high in the air and clear over the right-field foul pole in Arlington before landing 5.8 seconds later and 442 feet away.

Since his breakout power season in 2017, the 25-year-old Gallo has now mashed 17 long balls that are both 110-plus mph and 440-plus feet. There's only one slugger with more in that timespan, Giancarlo Stanton.

Most HRs hit 110+ mph and 440+ feet since 2017
1) Giancarlo Stanton (NYY): 23
2) Joey Gallo (TEX): 17
3) Aaron Judge (NYY): 13
4) Marcell Ozuna (STL): 8
5) Gary Sanchez (NYY): 7

Lane Thomas, Cardinals (23 years old)
HR in 1st career AB vs. Mets

Thomas' homer wasn't "big" in the sense of how hard or how far he hit it; it was big because it came in his very first Major League at-bat.

The 23-year-old outfielder, St. Louis' No. 7 prospect, stepped to the plate for the first time in front of the home crowd at Busch Stadium as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning. When he took Seth Lugo deep on a high-arcing shot that just cleared the right-field wall, Thomas became the first player to homer in his first big league at-bat since his own teammate, Paul DeJong, did it in May of 2017. He's also one of 10 Cardinals to homer in their first career at-bat.

Most recent players with HR in 1st career AB
Lane Thomas (STL): April 19, 2019
Paul DeJong (STL): May 28, 2017
Aaron Judge (NYY): Aug. 13, 2016
Tyler Austin (NYY): Aug. 13, 2016
Willson Contreras (CHC): June 19, 2016

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.