With Jose Abreu dogged by the longest home-run drought of his career, I had to revisit the question, “Who will finish second in homers for the White Sox?” in early August.
It turns out I wrote the post just in time. Abreu homered the next night, then tacked on a bunch to secure that title with room to spare. His year would’ve looked a lot better had he ended up with 30 homers, but the leaderboard doesn’t look as awful as it could’ve been:
- Todd Frazier, 40
- Jose Abreu, 25
- Melky Cabrera and Adam Eaton, 14
Not only did more White Sox power show up over the last two months, but some of the most prodigious displays of it, too, giving us a pretty good supply of gawking fodder in our annual investigation of the year’s longest homers.
This is the fifth year of doing it, and here are the champs from the first four:
- 2015: Jose Abreu: 453 feet
- 2014: Avisail Garcia: 468 feet
- 2013: Adam Dunn: 462 feet
- 2012: Adam Dunn, 460 feet
For the first time, though, I’m using Statcast data instead of Hit Tracker Online. I had stuck with HTO because it predated Statcast and is a little simpler and more dinger-centric, but since Statcast is the present and future, I may as well make the jump now.
Before we get to the greatest feats of strength, let’s take a quick look at the other more extreme homers hit by the White Sox in 2016.
Shortest home run: Avisail Garcia, 342 feet on Sept. 23.*
Among the things that are satisfying about this unlikely homer: 1) Trevor Bauer’s reaction. 2) Hawk Harrelson’s surprise. 3) Garcia homering in a “job to do” situation.
(*I’m assuming it’s the shortest, although Statcast identified this Abreu blast as a 211-footer. Hit Tracker Online called it 426 feet. YOU BE THE JUDGE.)
Fastest home run: I’m withholding the answer until the end, because it’s also the longest of the year.
Slowest home run: Dioner Navarro, 91.68 mph on April 26.
Navarro hit this one off R.A. Dickey, so it makes sense that a pitch that fluttered in would also flutter out.
Highest home run: Carlos Sanchez, 42.27 degrees on Sept. 16.
The loftiest dinger of the year was also one of the Sox’ most dramatic ones, as Sanchez turned and burned on a 95 mph Kelvin Herrera fastball for a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning. It’s also one of Hawk Harrelson’s best home run calls, as he puts some soul into “brand new ballgame.”
Lowest home run: Avisail Garcia, 17.57 degrees on May 5.
This Garcia homer off Boston lefty Henry Owens looks like a tennis forehand. He hit it hard enough — 113 mph -- to get it over the left field wall.
With these homers serving as a range of sorts for Statcast’s metrics, here are the five White Sox homers that blew out the distance part of it.
No. 5: Carlos Sanchez
Date: Sept. 19 | Distance: 443 feet | Exit velocity: 106.66 mph | Launch angle: 25.38
Sanchez liked hitting extreme homers at Kauffman Stadium. He started the last series in Kansas City with the highest homer, and capped it with a splash shot in the finale off Yordano Ventura.
No. 3 (tie): Adam Eaton
Date: July 29 | Distance: 451 feet | Exit velocity: 105.87 mph | Launch angle: 26.16
The second deck behind right center in Target Field is usually reserved for left-handed power along the lines of Jim Thome, but Eaton turned around this Ricky Nolasco two-seamer with a strong follow-through.
No. 3 (tie): Jose Abreu
Date: Sept. 19 | Distance: 451 feet | Exit velocity: 106.82 mph | Launch angle: 28.47
While Sanchez reached the waterfall in right on the same day, he wasn’t the first White Sox hitter to reach rare territory in Kauffman Stadium. Earlier in the game, Abreu reversed a 97-mph Ventura fastball and sent it over the batter’s eye in center field.
No. 1 (tie): Jose Abreu
Date: Sept. 4 | Distance: 465 feet | Exit velocity: 106.67 | Launch angle: 24.1
Abreu defended his crown with this missile off Taylor Rogers. Rogers floated a hanging curve, and Abreu got all of it, clearing the last row of the second deck behind left field in Minneapolis for the longest Target Field homer in Statcast history.
No. 1 (tie): Avisail Garcia
Date: Aug. 2 | Distance: 465 feet | Exit velocity: 115.88 mph | Launch angle: 30.01
Garcia regained a share of the title with the year’s most impressive, violent White Sox home run. Mark Lowe threw a center-cut fastball at 92, and Garcia slaughtered it into the far reaches of Comerica Park’s left-field seats.
If you made a list of the White Sox’ hardest homers, the list would be entirely Garcia. Todd Frazier was the only other White Sox to clear 110 mph on the way out. Garcia was the only Sox to go to 111, and he did so five times.