Nathan: A tale of two dingers

From SABR member Alan Nathan at The Hardball Times on April 23, 2015:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” With apologies to Charles Dickens, that quote describes almost perfectly the career of Alex Rodriguez, who has had more than his fair share of ups and downs during his time in the majors. On the one hand, he has been one of the most productive hitters of his generation. As of a few years ago, he was on track to break Barry Bonds’ career home run record. But then bad things started to happen: hip surgeries, suspensions, etc. Now he’s back again, and the big question is whether this season will again be his best of times or will it be his worst of times.

We will know much more in the coming weeks. However, if the start to the 2015 season is any indication, you might want bet on “best.” And nothing exemplifies that better than his offensive outburst on April 17, when Rodriguez belted two tape-measure home runs off the Tampa Bay Rays in a game at Tropicana Field.

According to StatCast, the first homer had the longest distance of any home run recorded thus far in the new season, where–as usual–the distance is an extrapolation of the actual trajectory to where the ball would have landed at field level had it not hit something else first. The second home run was not quite as impressive but a pretty good shot nonetheless. The full “slash line” from StatCast is summarized in Table 1.

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Originally published: May 4, 2015. Last Updated: May 4, 2015.