The Twins have been no stranger to the deep fly. Thome’s massive launch was projected at 590 ft by the Twins (though that would seem a bit lofty given the landing spot and other projections). ByungHo Park reached Minnie and Paul’s, while Giancarlo Stanton nearly lefty the yard entirely during the 2014 Home Run Derby. Game action provided some massive shots last season and a trip down memory lane is certainly worthwhile.
Not all of these came while playing at home, but the traveling efforts of the Bomba Squad didn’t leave the boomsticks packed away either.
5. 466 ft – Nelson Cruz 8/3 vs Royals
Lefty Danny Duffy was on the bump for Kansas City in this one and the visitors were already down 6-2. An 80-mph slider was flipped into the zone, and Cruz used his patented upward trajectory to lift the ball into the third deck. He just missed sending it down a set of stairs onto the concourse, but there was no denying that this thing was absolutely mashed. It also was the middle contribution of a three-dinger game.
4. 467 ft – Jonathan Schoop 5/23 @ Angels
Maybe most impressively about this blast was that it took place in May. Sure, it was in California, but the temperatures had not yet reached peak launching season. The Angels were hoping to reinvent Matt Harvey for a portion of 2019, but the experiment did not go well. He left a hanging curveball in the middle of the zone to Schoop and the ball was sent a long ways. If there’s a description of where and how not to throw a bender, this is it.
3. 469 ft – Nelson Cruz 6/29 @ White Sox
The best part about this dinger is probably the announcer stating that “a ground ball would be mighty fine” literal seconds before Nelson Cruz found himself admiring the blast from the batter’s box. He sent this baseball over the greenery in center and deep up into the camera well. Going to the deepest part of the park isn’t something that everyone does, but it’s a spot Cruz has worn out for quite some time.
2. 473 ft – Nelson Cruz 7/25 @ White Sox
Facing Lucas Giolito, Cruz turned this pitch around and immediately drew a smile from the Chicago starter. I’m assuming his thought process was something like “welp, what can I do?” This shot cleared the entire seating area and made it up onto the walkway. It appeared the fan attempting to make the catch dropped the ball, but can you really blame him where you’re trying to barehand an actual rocket?
1. 482 ft – Miguel Sano 9/17 vs White Sox
This howitzer was the dinger that did it for the Twins. Sano’s 30th blast of 2019 cemented Minnesota as the only team in Major League history to have five separate players reached the 30-home run plateau. This sounded absolutely deafening off the bat, and upon a quick moment of admiration, the Twins third basemen dropped the lumber and began his trot.
It’s not at all surprising to see Cruz and Sano highlight this list. They ranked 2nd and 3rd in average exit velocity per Statcast last season, and they were 1st and 5th in terms of barrels per plate appearance. Nomar Mazara of the Rangers was the only player to break the 500 ft mark last season, and Sano’s 482-foot blast was tied for the third-longest shot of the year.
The 2020 Twins don’t need to be the reincarnation of the Bomba Squad, and I’m sure they’d appreciate creating their own identity. Whatever happens though, you can expect a lineup to produce a significant amount of pop once again.
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