The NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Playoffs have officially concluded, so for the next 3 months, the sport that gets our sole attention is baseball!
So, we welcome you with open arms for the casuals just now tuning in.
While the new rule changes have definitely made the game incredibly more watchable with non-stop action that increases the rate of play this year, one of the main selling points of the other sports for those that don’t have the time to consume the whole game is simply just watching individualized highlights or tapes of individual athletes because the playstyles are so unique depending upon the athlete. The game of an Anthony Edwards drive to the basket going up for a high-flying dunk is entirely different from a Stephen Curry run off the dribble; it makes it easily distinguishable and identifiable.
Aside from defensive web gems that are easy to find, baseball, despite being a more team-oriented sport with less room for individualized styles at the plate, has those highlights, too, specifically with the long ball.
You can find a highlight-reel of specific players without looking at their overall counting stats because of their bombs, the way they fly off the bat, the way they pimp it afterward, or the sound that comes off of the contact just hit differently. Their swings are an art form that is as “hoop mixtape”-esque as the 5-minute highlight clips you’d look up of individual basketball players.
So, numbers aside, who are the players that have the most-watchable home runs? They’re all a different style around the league, so let’s create an All-Star lineup of the most entertaining home run hitters by position.
The goal is for you to be able to go on Youtube and search “*insert player name here* home run” and see nine distinctly impressive swings.
Designated Hitter // Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels (24 HR)
It had to be Shohei at DH. There’s an extra element to his home runs because every time he hits it out, you realize you’re watching the greatest spectacle to ever enter the league because he might have just struck out someone with a 100 MPH fastball the inning prior. Shohei’s swing feels so precise- you see it in that in Japanese culture, it’s common to have a manual to do everything the correct way, and that’s what Shohei’s homers feel like as if he’s precisely learned the right way to hit it 450+ feet.
Now that he’s been in the league for a while and has an MVP, he’s gained enough confidence that he’s bat-flipping and playing with house money before he gets a monumental contract, he’s having fun with the Samurai Helmet to celebrate in the dugout, and the way that he can pull the ball with opposite field power is just magnificent.
Catcher // Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals (14 HR)
The offense has been a cesspool at the catcher position recently, but not for Salvy- the veteran backstop who has the record for most homers in a season in a year by a catcher at 48 in 2021 still has it. While the Royals have had one of the most abysmal starts in baseball, Perez still has that pop to hit it 450 feet in a pitcher’s ballpark that allows the fewest home runs.
The way he cocks his entire upper body back to explode it into the waterfall and then admire it afterward is a marvel at the catcher position.
First Base // Rowdy Tellez, Milwaukee Brewers (12 HR)
Every single Rowdy Tellez home run looks like Po from Kung Fu Panda giving a “SKA-DOOSH” kung fu move, and while that might not make any sense at all, it’s the only way to describe it.
Rowdy is 6’4, 255 pounds, and the swing from the lefty looks utterlyy effortless in that it’s always a one-armed extension like he just flicked a toothpick as the ball flies into the second deck to the right field every time he leans back and hopes the high-flying bomb stays fair. Also, his name is ROWDY.
Second Base // Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves (17 HR)
There had to be some Atlanta Braves love here, the team has 16 homers over 450 feet, leading the majors by TEN, and the most in an entire season in the Statcast era is 19. They’re literally almost historic, and we’re in June.
That’s what makes Ozzie Albies, nicknamed “the Little Monster” for a reason, so special. He’s 5’8, 165 pounds, and will hit the ball over 400 feet to the right to hold his own. It’s entirely impressive on the opposite end of the Tellez spectrum because it’s as if Atlanta has taught everyone, regardless of position or frame, to hit tanks and celebrate afterward.
Third Base // Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals (15 HR)
Now, Nolan and the Cardinals have not had a win-producing season by any means, and Arenado is traditionally known for his Platinum Glove Award-winning defense played at third base, but the reason he’s in this All-Star lineup of home run highlight swings is that there’s no one with a home run swing quite like his.
He’s such an energetic leader that even when it might be a 450-foot no-doubter, the ball flies off the bat with his one-arm extended swing so quickly, and he’s already sprinted to first base as he put his entire body into the swing. It’s pretty much always going to Big Mac Land in left field as he pulls the ball, but it’s one of the purest and most exciting moments when the camera cuts away, and you realize that he has no need to hurry as it flies out.
Shortstop // Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays (14 HR)
Flow Bichette had to be on here. Seeing his long, luscious locks fly behind him as he just swings the bat with one of the longest and lankiest swings in the league is just so easy-breezy as he looks like the cool guy in a high school TV drama that does everything effortlessly.
The pimp jobs he puts up with his home run trots after swinging it practically one-handed and taking pitchers deep to center just ooze charisma.
Left Fielder // Kyle Schwarber, Philadelphia Phillies (20 HR)
Kyle Schwarber doesn’t really do much at the plate ASIDE from hitting some of the longest bombs pulled to right field from the left side of the plate that everyone on the internet lauds over, calling them “SCHWARBOMBS!” They’re hit like he’s swinging a driver on the golf course; it looks that easy for Schwarber.
The .187 average on the year is almost forgotten because you’re too busy thinking about the home run trot he’s about to embark upon when it’s in the third deck. He also has the “Stephen Curry Effect,” where it’s almost more impressive what he’s doing because he looks like a guy that’s your neighbor whom you just want to have a cookout with afterward.
Center Fielder // Luis Robert Jr., Chicago White Sox (18 HR)
Other than the fact that his nickname is “La Pantera” as he abuses baseballs in a black and white uniform is awesome, Robert has the physical frame and pure swing to hit the ball with such aggression all over the park, opposite, to center, and to the right, that’s so beautiful and powerful all at once.
He’s consistently at the top of the league in Exit Velocity, so it flies out in as pure of a line-drive display of physical tank job prowess as it gets. He’s 6’2, 220 pounds, built like an NFL defensive back, and has a short swing, almost as if he’s flicking the ball like it’s a fly that got in his way.
Right Fielder // Jorge Soler, Miami Marlins (21 HR)
Jorge Soler’s swing is the human embodiment of a missile. Not only does it come off the bat right on the sweet spot at what seems to explode immediately on a line with a balance of height as well, but when he starts to feel it, he feels it. Those 20 home runs he has on the year? Seventeen of those came within 51 games, and he even had a stretch where he homered in 5 straight games. He’s also responsible for the most majestic home run in Atlanta Braves World Series history, and in 2021 had the longest-length average distance of home runs. That’s Soler Power.
(*Honorable mention for Right Field is Ronald Acuna Jr., your leader in 450+ foot home runs and likely your NL MVP thus far, as he celebrates every single home run with the most entertaining celebration and swag in the league with all of his Venezuelan yellow accessories and chains. We just already had Ozzie and needed more team representation as you likely could just make the entire lineup of Atlanta Braves.)