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  • Counting Down the Twins' 10 Longest Homers of 2021


    Allen Post

    The Twins had their fair share of struggles in 2021, but they remained solid in the home run department. Here’s what their 10 longest homers looked and felt like.
     

    Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson, USA TODAY Sports

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    10. April 6th: Byron Buxton off Jose Cisnero
    Distance:
    451 feet, Exit Velocity: 114.1 mph,  Launch Angle: 38°

    On the sixth day of the Twins’ young and (at the time) hopeful season, Byron Buxton came up in the eighth with the Twins trailing the Tigers by a run. He did his thing. This 451-foot blast tied the game, only to set the stage for the Twins’ second of many early season extra-inning losses. Interestingly, this homer has the highest launch angle of this list by far, and was the fifth-highest lofted homer of the Twins season.

    9. June 30th: Nelson Cruz off Dylan Cease
    Distance:
    453 feet, Exit Velocity: 110.9 mph  Launch Angle: 25°

    This homer would be a lot cooler if the Twins weren’t getting throttled 11-1 by their division rivals at the time it was hit, but 453 feet is 453 feet. That eventual 13-3 loss was also the middle game of a three-game sweep for the White Sox that was played out over the backdrop of drama surrounding Josh Donaldson accusing Lucas Giolito of cheating. So, yeah, it’s safe to say that this is one of the most forgotten long homers of the year. But 453 feet is 453 feet.

    8. April 1st: Byron Buxton off Eric Yardley
    Distance: 
    456 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.4 mph  Launch Angle: 24°

    Man, early-season Buxton was a sight to see. Five days before hitting the first homer on this list, he hit this behemoth on Opening Day against the Brewers. The two-run shot came in the seventh with the Twins already leading by one, so it looked like the club was going to start the year on the right foot. Unfortunately, early-season Alex Colome was a sight to see for the opposite reason and blew a three-run lead, leading the Twins to their first extra-inning loss of the young campaign. 

    T-6. June 10th: Nelson Cruz off Aroldis Chapman
    Distance: 
    457 feet, Exit Velocity: 112.4 mph  Launch Angle: 23°

    This bomb carries a lot more cachet than Cruz’s first entry on this list. It wasn’t only against the hated Yankees, but it was a walk-off against the hated Yankees. And, Cruz turned around a 98-mph Aroldis Chapman fastball to do it. It did go to potentially the ugliest part of Target—landing somewhere in the vertical waste area between the bullpen and the batter’s eye—but who actually cares. It was a monster shot that made sure the good guys came out on top, at least for that night. (Nash named it the Best Moment for the 2021 season.)

    T-6. September 10th: Byron Buxton off Daniel Lynch
    Distance:
    457 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.9 mph  Launch Angle: 29°

    So, it turns out that Byron Buxton only hits massive homers in extra-inning losses. In this particular instance, Buxton’s 457-foot poke led off the game for the Twins and this was the first of four first-inning runs that only gave the Twins a one-run lead thanks to three Royals’ runs in the first. Kansas City got that run back and two more in the 11th to seal the Twins’ fate. For Buxton, this homer came amidst his coldest stretch of the season, but of course he got hot again, spawning hundreds of “please pay Buxton” takes from the contributors to this website.

    5. July 26th: Brent Rooker off Matt Manning
    Distance: 
    460 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.1 mph  Launch Angle: 29°

    As Ted tweeted, Brent Rooker murdered this baseball, and he chose the third deck in left field for its burial site. That’s super interesting and all, but the best part about this is Michael Pineda’s reaction. His extended grimace at watching Matt Manning’s hanger get demolished showed admirable loyalty to his fellow pitcher out there laboring on the mound. 

    4. May 24th: Trevor Larnach off John Means
    Distance: 
    461 feet, Exit Velocity: 112.2 mph  Launch Angle: 24°

    Okay, so balls don’t land here. Larnach’s beautifully struck, 461-foot whopper landed perfectly in the Delta 360 Suite above the batter’s eye. That’s not a part of the park where you’re expecting a home run ball. Anyway, this was only Larnach’s second homer of his MLB career and launched him towards a pretty productive June and early July. Larnach later struggled as pitchers adjusted to him, but he remains a big part of the club’s future, and his 460+ foot power is a big reason why.

    3. July 28th: Miguel Sanó off Joe Jimenez
    Distance: 
    473 feet, Exit Velocity: 114.8 mph  Launch Angle: 30°

    Welcome to the Miguel Sanó portion of this list. Our favorite three-outcome hitter (only) hit three homers over 450 feet, but they were all over 470 feet. This particular bludgeoning (I’m running out of homer words) traveled 473 feet and was a part of a ridiculous, pitching-optional 17-14 loss to the Tigers. This was also Sanó’s second homer of the game and 17th of the year, reminding us all why we just can’t quit him.

    2. August 18th: Miguel Sanó off Zach Plesac
    Distance: 
    475 feet, Exit Velocity: 113.9 mph  Launch Angle: 27°

    This ball landed in Section 237, which is interesting for two reasons. First, there’s absolutely no way those green-shirted kids packed into the very cheap group-rate seats were expecting a home run ball, which is kind of cool. And secondly, the ball was hit (just barely) to the opposite field, and a 475-foot Oppo Taco is very cool. Sanó is nothing if not a very strong man.

    1. August 25th: Miguel Sanó off Nick Pivetta
    Distance: 
    495 feet, Exit Velocity: 116.7 mph  Launch Angle: 24°

    Speaking of balls landing where they’re not supposed to… what even happened here? Balls leave Fenway Park and spill onto Lansdowne Street all the time, but they don’t go to that part of Lansdowne Street. Balls will carry those Green Monster billboards every now and then, but they don’t carry that billboard and certainly not by that much. I mean, this ball might’ve put that famous Citgo sign in danger. Sanó’s nuke travelled 20 feet further than the next-longest Twins homer and was the longest in the majors by nine feet. Ted Williams famously hit a 502-foot blast in Fenway, but you’d be hard pressed to find another ball hit harder in that place's history than Sanó’s moonshot.

    Which homer from this year was your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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    Sano has declared that he will shed pounds and get back to hitting the ball more frequently. Scary thought for pitchers because his power is unrelated to his weight; he is a strong man. Improved mechanics and flexibility and Sano may reach his promise. If I think about the three scariest hitters to face in MLB, Sano is right even with Judge and Stanton. 

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    7 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

    Sano has declared that he will shed pounds and get back to hitting the ball more frequently. Scary thought for pitchers because his power is unrelated to his weight; he is a strong man. Improved mechanics and flexibility and Sano may reach his promise. If I think about the three scariest hitters to face in MLB, Sano is right even with Judge and Stanton. 

    Sano claims that he is going to be in the best shape of his life EVERY year.

    Alas, if only long home runs counted for extra runs.... but they of course do not.

    Therefore, Sano will continue to be a liability through next year until we can finally be out from under his contract

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    1 hour ago, D.C Twins said:

    Sano claims that he is going to be in the best shape of his life EVERY year.

    Alas, if only long home runs counted for extra runs.... but they of course do not.

    Therefore, Sano will continue to be a liability through next year until we can finally be out from under his contract

    Dark stance. Sano has not evolved to be the superstar we all envisioned. True. He can still improve. I actually do not remember Sano ever discussing his weight until this year. I guessed I miss it. I will stick with Sano once again.

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    I'm completely aware that a 302-foot Pesky pole home run counts the same on the scoreboard as a 500-footer. But when you consider that there are maybe only about 20 people out of 7.8 billion on the planet who are able to hit ones like the top three here it's just so awesome.

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    4 hours ago, Nine of twelve said:

    I'm completely aware that a 302-foot Pesky pole home run counts the same on the scoreboard as a 500-footer. But when you consider that there are maybe only about 20 people out of 7.8 billion on the planet who are able to hit ones like the top three here it's just so awesome.

    It's just so awesome that the Twins finished last in the Central.  But they did hit a couple of long home runs during their 5,431 official at bats.  Whoopee.....

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    On 10/17/2021 at 10:30 PM, tony&rodney said:

    Dark stance. Sano has not evolved to be the superstar we all envisioned. True. He can still improve. I actually do not remember Sano ever discussing his weight until this year. I guessed I miss it. I will stick with Sano once again.

    Yeah, you missed it. Here's him in 2018: https://bringmethenews.com/minnesota-sports/miguel-sano-ill-lose-weight-and-get-in-better-shape

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    1 hour ago, bighat said:

    Yes, I did. Thank you for the link. I stand corrected. 

    While I wanted to trade Sano in 2019 for pitching, I'm going to put him on my 2022 team and hope for the emergence of the best Sano. Once more sounds like addiction.

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    My goodness, these were some moonshots. I can't decide which ones are more fun: the ones that clear the restaurant in CF or the ones that drop into the 3rd deck in LF, or just Sano going slightly oppo to deposit one in the bleachers in CF. Oh, my. 

    you know, Justin morneau hit some long ones in his career so when he's amazed...

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