In the somewhat recent AL Wild Card Game, Giancarlo Stanton went 3-for-4 with two singles and a home run. The projected distances for those three hits? 342, 344, and 399 feet. Which was the homer? 344 ft. The singles, however, were the must-see content and already have been the center of plenty of discussion. Here’s the one during Stanton’s first at-bat:
How the Yankees broadcasters called Stanton’s single… . pic.twitter.com/1Ja1aOjD6w— David Wade (@davidwade) October 6, 2021
These hits say more about early 1900’s ballpark architecture and the quirkiness of baseball than they do about the talents of Giancarlo Stanton. The fact that he could absolutely barrel two balls, both traveling over 340 feet, and neither would amount to more than a single is bad luck and just plain silly. Rockies fans are familiar with just plain silly when it comes to the intricacies of ballparks - between the Bridich Barrier and the humidor, the baseball establishment has grappled with the Coors Field problem for years, with consistently mixed results. And while Rockies fans are more familiar with deep fly balls ricocheting and turning into three baggers, the huge dimensions of Coors Field could also lend themselves to creating some long singles that would surely result in homers in other parks. Here are some of them, all from the past year.
April 23rd, Phillies at Rockies, Sam Hilliard, 378 ft
Now that’s what sitting on a 3-1 fastball looks like, and Hilliard made no mistake. It ended up being his second hardest hit ball of the year, and you could even argue he hit it too well. The lack of loft on the ball plus Bryce Harper playing it well off the wall held him to a single. Of his seven batted balls on the year with exit velocity greater than 110 mph, this was predictably the only single - three homers, a double, and a triple rounded out the rest of the six.
April 8th, Diamondbacks at Rockies, Charlie Blackmon, 371 ft
If the recipe to hitting long singles at Fenway is to admire them out of the batter’s box as they bounce off the Green Monster, then this is the Coors variation. Like Hilliard’s single, this ball is smoked to right, and doesn’t get enough loft to give Blackmon enough time to get around first. This ball was pulled more than Hilliard’s and appeared to be closer to a home run, landing right at or under the yellow, homer-denoting line on the fence. The hit would have left the park in 25 of the other MLB stadiums, but was just a single for Blackmon. There are deeper parts of Coors Field, but to get a single hit to any of those, we’re going to need some help.
April 1st, Dodgers at Rockies, Cody Bellinger, 387 ft
I mean, sure, this is a technicality, but who cares? Cody Bellinger smacked this pitch into left field and it barely cleared the fence. It was so close that Justin Turner thought it was caught, causing him to return to first and pass the advancing Bellinger in the process. So, due to one of baseball’s more niche and chaos preventing rules, Bellinger was called out and credited with an RBI single. Strangely enough, this wasn’t the only time this happened in MLB this year. But if you thought that’d be the longest RBI single Coors saw this year…
May 12th, Padres at Rockies, Joshua Fuentes, 409 ft
...you’d be wrong. And if you were unhappy about calling the last hit a single, then this one is definitely going to ruffle your feathers. But who doesn’t love walk-offs? Especially when they’re against the then-media darling Padres. And what else are you going to call it? This was Joshua Fuentes’ second-longest traveling hit of the year (longer than six of his seven home runs!) but it’ll go down in the record books as just another single. Not that he cares, I’m sure - players go their entire careers without a walk-off hit. Aaron Judge only recently had his first to end the Yankees’ regular season finale.
For housekeeping’s sake, there were 64 singles this year league-wide that were hit more than 370 ft (Salvador Perez had four of them by himself!). Randy Arozarena had the longest one, at 417 feet. Joshua Fuentes’ walk-off above slotted in at third, and the Blackmon and Hilliard hits above rounded out the Rockies entries to the list. While neither were as towering nor as awe-inspiring as Stanton’s moonshot single, they are still good reminders of the strange occurrences you can see during any at bat.
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MLB Trade Rumors, your source for transaction gossip large and small, gives a primer on the Rockies current position and potential moves going into the offseason. Much of the conversation revolves around Jon Gray and his pending unrestricted free agency. We’ve looked at a potential extension before but at this point it seems unlikely, although there still remains a chance for him to return after talking with other teams.
Patrick Saunders gives his take on questions from Rockies fans worldwide, leading off with discussing the possibility of Bud Black leaving the Rockies and returning to San Diego. Black has a year left on his contract with the Rockies and the teams performance next year will go a long way in determining whether he returns and how fondly Rockies fans remember him. Luis Rojas of the Mets, Jayce Tingler of the Padres, and most recently Mike Shildt of the Cardinals have all already been let go this offseason, and there is nothing to suggest that the Rockies would part ways with Black early. But, it will be interesting to watch the current managerial carousel to see what names are mentioned as replacements, as some of them could very well be in the conversation for Rockies manager next time around.
On the Farm: Arizona Fall League Edition
The AFL had a league-wide off day on Sunday, but the Rockies representatives and their teammates on the Salt River Rafters will be back at it today, hosting the Scottsdale Scorpions. The Scorpions are made up of players from the Boston, Cleveland, Minnesota, San Francisco, and Tampa Ray systems.
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