For about 90 minutes on Wednesday night time, I absolutely grasped the essence of the 2019 season. With the league-wide single-season house run document able to be damaged early within the night, a number of of us — me, two editors, members of ESPN’s Stats & Data group — had been monitoring the countdown to six,106 house runs. Whoever hit the 22nd house run of the night time would set the mark.
The motion started with Trent Grisham hitting a leadoff house run for the Brewers in Miami. Todd Frazier and Brandon Nimmo quickly went back-to-back for the Mets. Mike Moustakas, again within the lineup for the Brewers, hit one out. Jeff McNeil hit one for the Mets. Then the tempo actually picked up. Did Rowdy Tellez hit his earlier than Jorge Soler? There goes Frazier once more, about the identical time Tyler Flowers cranked a three-run shot for the Braves.
By 8:10 ET, there have been 10 video games happening. It was not possible to comply with all of the motion, even with a number of screens on the house workplace. Francisco Lindor … Jorge Polanco … Teoscar Hernandez. Isan Diaz went yard for the Marlins as George Springer homered for the Astros, then Garrett Cooper adopted Diaz within the Marlins lineup and belted one out too. We had been three from the document. Adalberto Mondesi homered for the Royals simply earlier than Oakland’s Marcus Semien hit the record-tying shot, an enormous blast over the practice tracks in Houston.
Then we paused. For six or seven minutes, no one even scored a run. Bryce Harper came up with the bases loaded and it felt like the perfect Bryce moment, even though he obviously didn’t know history was on the line. He bounced into a double play.
Jonathan Villar came up for the Orioles in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 2-2 game and two runners on, facing Dodgers reliever Caleb Ferguson. Villar jumped all over a first-pitch fastball and crushed it 443 feet into the left-field seats — a popular landing spot for home runs in 2019 given the Orioles have set the record for most homers allowed.
“Unbelievable,” Villar told the Orioles TV crew after the game. “After I hit the home run and go into the clubhouse, somebody told me we set the new record. That’s awesome. It’s not just for me, it’s for the team.”
So, yes, there have been a lot of home runs hit in 2019 and when you’re paying eagle-eyed attention, you realize how rapid-fire they arrive across the majors. I joked on Twitter that I was going to rank the top 1,000 home runs of the season. Then I realized you actually could rank all the home runs using win probability added at the time each home run was hit. Via Baseball-Reference and a little work in Excel, I sorted all the home runs from most valuable to least valuable given the game situation.
Let’s pull out 10 random home runs from our win probability added list — of the more than 6,100 hit this season.
No. 1: Rio Ruiz, Orioles — Aug. 11 vs. Astros (0.90 WPA)
Hey, so the Orioles hit the record-breaking home run and hit the most valuable home run of the season. Ruiz came up in the bottom of the ninth against Astros closer Roberto Osuna with two outs and a runner on first base. He battled Osuna for seven pitches, Osuna throwing six changeups. He threw one too many and Ruiz gave the Orioles their best moment of the season:
Rio Ruiz crushes a two-run home run into the stands as the Orioles beat the Astros 8-7 in a wild game in Baltimore.
No. 10: Kurt Suzuki, Nationals — Sept. 3 vs. Mets (0.69 WPA)
As you would guess, the most valuable home runs are walk-offs or come-from-behind shots late in the game. Suzuki’s three-run walk-off was also one of the most memorable home runs of the season as it capped a remarkable seven-run rally in the bottom of the ninth. Suzuki’s home run off Edwin Diaz isn’t quite as valuable as Ruiz’s since it came with one out and both runners were in scoring position. Even if Suzuki made an out, the Nationals would have had a chance. But it was pretty damn amazing:
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 4, 2019
No. 100: Cavan Biggio, Blue Jays — June 29 vs. Royals (0.43 WPA)
Biggio is form of the third wheel within the Blue Jays’ rookie sons-of-major-leaguers trio, however he has an opportunity to be an fascinating participant. He attracts a ton of walks, so although he is hitting .213, he has a .350 OBP. How precious is the 100th most useful house run of the season? Biggio got here up within the backside of the fifth with the bases loaded and two outs and the Royals main 4-1. His grand slam off Homer Bailey turned the Blue Jays’ odds of successful the sport from 23% to 67%. Certainly, Toronto would maintain on for a 7-5 victory. However the coolest factor about this house run: Craig Biggio really confronted Bailey 3 times in his profession and went 0-for-1 with a stroll, strikeout and sac fly.
No. 500: Charlie Blackmon, Rockies — Might 11 vs. Padres (0.27 WPA)
The 500th most useful house run remains to be fairly precious. Blackmon got here up within the backside of the eighth towards Craig Stammen with the Rockies trailing 3-2. Stammen threw a 2-2 slider into Blackmon’s candy spot and he crushed it to proper discipline to tie the sport. Alas, the Padres scored within the prime of the ninth off Wade Davis, and Kirby Yates fanned the aspect within the backside of the ninth for the save.
No. 1,000: Derek Dietrich, Reds — April 13 vs. Cardinals (0.19 WPA)
Keep in mind Dietrich’s sizzling begin? Filling in for the injured Scooter Gennett, he hit 5 house runs in April, then tied for the MLB lead with 12 house runs in Might. By the top of Might, he was hitting .260/.366/.707. Some had been suggesting he ought to make the All-Star workforce. His house run off Adam Wainwright was a towering fly ball into the Cincinnati bullpen that gave the Reds a 2-1 lead within the backside of the seventh inning (they’d win 5-2). Dietrich didn’t make the All-Star workforce and he’s now hitting .194 with 19 house runs. Might was a very long time in the past.
No. 2,500: Scott Kingery, Phillies — Sept. 10 vs. Phillies (0.12 WPA)
This one simply occurred and was one of many craziest house runs of this loopy house run season. It got here off Max Fried in a tie recreation with two outs within the backside of the third. That is nonetheless within the 60th percentile of most useful, so a house run within the prime half of the checklist for the season remains to be going to return in an in depth recreation, though it might come early. What made Kingery’s house run so uncommon is it was an inside-the-parker after Ronald Acuna virtually robbed him:
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 11, 2019
No. 3,073: Pete Alonso, Mets — Might 17 vs. Marlins (0.10 WPA)
That is concerning the midway level of the checklist for the season. Alonso has hit many memorable house runs amongst his 47, however this wasn’t actually one in all them. It was No. 13 of the season for him, off a 1-Zero cutter from Trevor Richards within the prime of the second inning. Truly, Richards made a reasonably good pitch as Alonso reached for it and, properly, this swing produced a 418-foot house run:
— David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield) September 12, 2019
No. 4,000: Thairo Estrada, Yankees — Might 6 vs. Mariners (0.08 WPA)
The Yankees have hit 276 house runs, one behind the Twins as they battle for the all-time document. Estrada has simply three of these, however this was the primary house run of his main league profession and needed to be an enormous thrill — it got here off fellow Venezuelan Felix Hernandez. This one makes me form of unhappy although. It got here within the second inning and the two-run shot gave the Yankees a 5-Zero lead and was already the third house run Hernandez had allowed within the recreation. In his Cy Younger season in 2010, Hernandez allowed multiple house run in a recreation simply as soon as all season.
No. 5,000: Yandy Diaz, Rays — April 17 vs. Orioles (0.03 WPA)
We’re into the 10th percentile of house runs and as you’d count on, these aren’t precisely game-changing moments. Diaz’s solo house run within the backside of the third inning off David Hess prolonged Tampa’s result in 6-0. It additionally knocked Hess from the sport because the Rays hit three off him in two-plus innings. For the season, Hess has allowed 28 house runs in simply 77 innings. A fast search reveals that amongst pitchers with at the least 50 innings, that is the best price of house runs per 9 innings in MLB historical past. Three of the highest 4 have are available 2019. Did we point out numerous house runs have been hit this yr?
No. 6,125: Rio Ruiz, Orioles — Aug. 10 vs. Astros (0.00 WPA)
So, that is form of outstanding. Rio Ruiz has hit the most clutch house run of the 2019 season … and the least clutch. Baseball-Reference solely goes to 2 decimal factors, so numerous house runs grade out as having 0.00 win chance added. To interrupt the tie, I picked the house run that got here with the widest hole within the rating on the time of the house run.
This house run — a day earlier than Ruiz hit his walk-off — got here within the seventh inning with the Astros main the Orioles 20-1. I went again and watched the spotlight and Astros announcer Todd Kalas delivered the deadpan line of the yr: “Orioles followers have one thing to cheer for.”
What occurs when the least precious house run of the season is hit? Nicely, it is not a lot completely different than numerous the opposite house runs. The followers above the scoreboard in proper discipline scrambled for the ball. Ruiz did dash fairly quick across the bases and his teammates greeted him within the dugout with high-fives and chest bumps. Even a house run with a 19-run deficit feels fairly good:
— David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield) September 12, 2019
Now, to admit, I may have picked one other house run from this similar recreation. Yordan Alvarez hit a house run within the prime of the ninth with the Astros main 21-2. You possibly can argue that was the least precious house run of 2019 because it got here later within the recreation and elevated the rating margin.
However it appears extra becoming to finish it with Ruiz. Within the yr of the house run, all of it comes again to the Orioles.