Stats all, folks: Escobar caps winning night for Statcast
Walk-off homer in 10th lifts Nats and completes historic debut for tracking technology
Statcast provided a revolutionary viewing experience -- right down to the very last pitch -- during its live broadcast debut in the Nationals' 2-1 victory over the Cardinals on Tuesday night.
Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar delivered a two-out, walk-off home run in the 10th inning to cap off the historic night for Major League Baseball. While Escobar was diving head first into a tunnel of teammates waiting at home plate, Statcast was already processing every detail of his game-winning blast.
Though the most important aspect of any walk-off homer is obviously the fact that it results in a win, it can't hurt to delve a bit deeper into the specific aspects of such an important hit.
In Escobar's case, Statcast shows that the ball jumped off his bat with an exit velocity of 101.5 mph and traveled a total distance of 380 feet. For reference, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson had an exit speed of 103.7 mph on his walk-off home run against the Braves last Saturday, which traveled a total projected distance of 382.4 feet, just barely surpassing Escobar's mark. This is a notable feat for Escobar, to be hitting homers -- both in terms of exit velocity and distance -- that compares favorably to one of the game's premier power bats.
Looking even deeper into Escobar's homer, Statcast pinned the hit angle at a favorable 23.7 degrees, which resulted in the ball traveling along a trajectory that reached its maximum height at 69.9 feet.
Though these numbers may not jump off the page or fully register just yet, a larger sample size will eventually provide credence to what actually qualifies as a towering fly ball or which homers truly left the park in a hurry.
As for right now, while Escobar's homer jumped off the bat at that impressive speed of 101.5 mph, keep in mind that the hardest hit ball in the Majors so far this year tracked by Statcast came off the bat at a scorching 119 mph, courtesy of the Mariners' Nelson Cruz in his walk-off single against the Rangers on Sunday.
It's anyone's guess as to how the velocity, distance and height of Escobar's walk-off homer will stack up to others at season's end, but thanks to Statcast, the bars have officially been set.
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.