The Five Longest Yankees Homers of 2013

Wednesday Night Open Thread
Agent says Granderson's "first choice" is returning to Yankees
(Rob Carr/Getty)
(Rob Carr/Getty)

Believe it or not, the Yankees actually made homerun history in 2013. After going deep a Major League-leading 245 times last season (franchise record!), the so-called Bronx Bombers hit just 144 dingers this year. That 101-homer drop is the largest in history from one year to the next. Dubious history, but history nonetheless.

The Yankees lost an awful lot of power either due to injury or poor decision-making (Brian Cashman’s words!) this summer, but they still managed to hit plenty of long homers. I’m talking about pure distance here; the ones you can tell are gone just by the crack of the bat. You know what I’m talking about. The long long balls. They didn’t hit as many as we’re used to, but they still hit a bunch. With a big assist from Hit Tracker, here are the five longest homeruns the Yankees hit this past season.

September 11th: Curtis Granderson vs. Scott Feldman (video)
Even though he missed more than 100 games due to fluky hit-by-pitch related injuries, Granderson managed to find time to visit Eutaw Street this season. The Yankees were in Baltimore for what was, at the time, a really important game against the Orioles. They were chasing a wild-card spot and down two runs when Feldman hung a 1-0 slider in the fifth inning, a pitch Curtis hit over Boog’s BBQ in right field. Granderson now has one of those neat little plaques just outside the ballpark. Distance: 436 ft.

(Hannah Foslien/Getty)
(Hannah Foslien/Getty)

July 1st: Robinson Cano vs. Scott Diamond (video)
We didn’t see much of it this year, but one of my favorite things is watching the Yankees storm into a large, pitcher-friendly park and make it look like a bandbox. You know what I’m talking about, when the home team can’t hit the ball out of the park to save their lives but the Yankees play dinger derby for the series. Cano did that in Minnesota in early-July, clobbered the Twins in a four-game series at Target Field. In the first inning of the first game, Diamond put a 3-1 fastball right on a tee that Robbie hit off the batter’s eye in dead center. I thought this would be the longest homer of the season coming into the post, but it was just short. Still a ridiculous shot. That ball went a mile. Distance: 442 ft.

April 4th: Frankie Cervelli vs. Clayton Mortensen (video)
Who? Cervelli? Yeah, Cervelli. Frankie actually mashed for a few weeks before a foul tip broke his hand and, when combined with the #obligatorysetback and a 50-game suspension, ended his 2013 campaign. He hit the longest homer of his career in the third game of the season, planting a Mortensen 3-1 fastball over the visitor’s bullpen and into the left field bleachers at Yankee Stadium. It’s not that easy to hit homers in the Bronx if you’re a right-hander trying to pull the ball, but Cervelli got all of this and then some. He may never hit a ball this far again in his life. Distance: 444 ft.

August 7th: Cano vs. Dylan Axelrod (video)
For a little while, this looked like both the longest and most important homer of the season. The Yankees had lost the first two games of a three-game series against the awful White Sox, and Mariano Rivera had blown the save in the third game. The game went to extra innings and score remain tied until Robbie got a hold of an Axelrod junkball in the 12th inning. The ball landed halfway up the right-center field bleachers and gave New York an important 5-4 lead. The Yankees lost the game in walk-off fashion, but that doesn’t knock any distance off Cano’s tater. Distance: 445 ft.

August 18th: Alex Rodriguez vs. Ryan Dempster
I know you remember this. You can’t not remember it. This was arguably the best win of the season considering all the nonsense that went down. A-Rod was returning to Fenway Park for the first time since all the Biogenesis stuff broken, and the booing was as vicious as any booing I’ve ever heard. Dempster, the self-appointed Chief of Baseball Police (Lieutenant Brian McCann was out of town), took it upon himself to punish Alex for his performance-enhancing drug crimes in his first at-bat. The first pitch was behind his legs, the next two inside at his waste, the fourth in Rodriguez’s ribs.

Benches cleared and both teams were warned, plus Joe Girardi got ejected after nearly punching an umpire. Dempster was somehow allowed to stay in the game and later received a slap on the wrist suspension. That was a joke. A joke, but probably good for the Yankees because he kinda sucks. A-Rod came around to score later that inning and two at-bats later, he led off the sixth inning was a mammoth homer halfway up the seats in dead center field. It was an A-Rod of old homer, not an old A-Rod homer. Just a monster shot. The Yankees came back to win the game and both the hit-by-pitch and homer helped get things started. In a season that featured a lot of disappointment, this was one of the very best moments. And also the longest homer. Distance: 446 ft.

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Wednesday Night Open Thread
Agent says Granderson's "first choice" is returning to Yankees
  • Darren

    The Cervelli homerun stands out as being very impressive. I still like him as a player a lot. I wonder if he could have sustained his hitting if he stayed healthy.

    In any case, the inability of players like Cervelli and Nunez to stay on the field highlight (yet again) how incredible Posada and Jeter’s careers were. Durability is an the unsung 6th tool.

    • Paco Dooley

      “He may never hit a ball this far again in his life. ”

      The Cervelli homerun, I believe, demonstrates the success of his PED use, and if he stops using, he may indeed never hit one that far again in his life.

    • Dohrmann

      Not sure that durability is anywhere near the top of the list of what separates Cervelli/Nunez from Posada/Jeter.

      Durability is an important factor, sure, but is simply not a tool. Tools are skills that players control and provide a fairly constant base of talent. Durability largely does not meet those criteria.

      • Darren

        I agree that durability isn’t the biggest difference between Jeter/Posada and Nunez/Cervelli, but considering how important it is, it gets lost in the shuffle. When assessing the ability of young players to take over for established veterans you can’t just assume that they’re gonna be as durable.

        I disagree that a player can control his speed, power or throwing arm any more than he can control his durability. All of these qualities are a combination of godgiven talent and hard work. True, durability means little without talent (Chris Stewart) but talent means very little without durability (Rocco Baldelli).

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Yes. Let’s also remember that Cervelli’s injury wasn’t exactly the “pulled my hammy again” type as well.

          What happened in his rehab is something I don’t think we can draw a ton of conclusions on….well, it was another of our guys aggravating an injury during rehab (fire the assistant to the nighttime nurse!), but I digress.

        • Dohrmann

          I was actually a Nunez fan, but the guy has pretty consistently been below replacement level. It’s not hard to argue that the more he plays, the more he hurts the team vs. even a Luis Cruz or Brendan Ryan type replacement. Durability only matters even a little bit if you are actually good. (I think Cervelli is decent. Certainly more upside than Stewart, though not sure he was likely to provide much more overall for a whole season. I certainly have never thought of him as Posada’s replacement, but maybe I am wrong.)

          I think that you will find that the Rocco Baldelli’s of the world are the extreme exceptions. He was possibly an outlier with some kind of rare disease. Anecdotely, it appears that far more injuries to position players are just random occurances. David Adams had only so much control over whether someone would slide into him at 2B and cause an injury. Same for Ravel in his sliding: sure he had some control over the actual slide, but any normally healthy and fundementally sound player can slide and rip his ankle to shreds. Granderson over two straight HBPs putting him on the DL. Machado over 1B maybe derailing one of the most promising young careers in MLB (and maybe not, maybe he comes back fine… point is there was nothing in Machado’s innate skill set to predict he would get hurt if it does ruin his career, but it was innate to Posada that we was slow as hell or to Chris Davis that he has incredible power or to Bredan Ryan that he has no power).

          On the P side I’d say it’s a little different. It’s just an unnatural motion where it seems that a huge portion of guys will get hurt. There may be some indicators that one guy is more likely to get hurt, but it just seems pretty pervasive that Ps are likely to get hurt and at least miss a season for TJS at some point.

          Basically, the majority of players are healthy… until randomly they are not. You can predict someone’s speed or power or defense or batting eye or throwing arm with some accuracy based on their current skill set and historical results. The same can really only be said about players we know have long-term injury issues (and even then you get the Freddy Garcias and Bartolo Colons and the occasional big half season from a Travis Hafner). Players who have always been healthy are not locks to stay that way, as the Yankees have learned over the past year with Jeter, Tex, Granderson, etc. Those were some of their most durable guys.

          So, again, health is not a tool. It’s a very important consideration, but there’s no need to erroneously lump it in as a tool to establish that point. A player may not have control over whether he is bestowed with a given tool, but once he has it he does control it. He only has so much control over his health and his historical health is not a very good indicator of his future health except in one tail of the distribution.

          • DArren

            Again, I beg to differ. The fact is that Posada got hit with countless foul tips and didn’t go on the DL until late in his career, while Cervelli gets hits with one foul tip and is out for the year. That’s not necessarily random. Posada may just be made tougher. I don’t mean mentally, which can be controlled to some extent, I mean just pure ability to withstand injury. And that ability is innate the way a good throwing arm is innate.

            And durability certainly matters for everyone regardless of talent. As bad as Nix and Nunez were, their injuries forced us to play even worse players.

            • Dohrmann

              You are still not making an argument that durability is a tool. Tools are underlying talents that can be observed and used to predict future success. What is the tool you observed in Posada at, say, age 25 that let you know he’d never go down for the year after taking a foul ball to the hand and getting busted for roiding? Did he have thicker hands than Cervelli? Is that a skill that you can project across all players or even all Cs? Always take playes with thick hands so they are harder to break? Maybe, but I really doubt it especially compared to saying that guy who run faster or hit the ball better/further are better all else equal than guys who run slower or hit the ball worse/not as far. (Of course not exposing your hand to the tip is a learned behavior that could have avoided the injury, so if you could show Cervelli was generally more prone to this than Posada or the average C you may have some small case. Not sure if there is actually anything there, though.)

              No, durability mattering is entirely contingent upon productivity. The marginal difference between Nunez and Cruz is negligible or perhaps actually in Cruz’s favor. The marginal difference between Cano and whoever is backing him up at a given point is time is likely to be enormous. It matters to the team infinitely more if Cano gets hurt than if Nunez gets hurt. Nunez was at a -1.4 fWAR on the season, so one could actually argue he hurt the Yankees by staying healthy for the periods he did rather than just never playing.

              • Darren

                I agree that durability isn’t something you can assess in a young player the way you can a live bat or arm. My point isn’t about forward analysis so much as it as about looking back and seeing how a player’s durability can be a major asset in their career, ala jeter posada or cano. And yes, of course, Cano’s durability means 1000x more than Nunez’s durability.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I was hoping for a random contribution to this. Thank you, Frankie Cervellilyle. I wish you’d avoided South Dixie Highway.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Cervelli. What on earth that just auto-corrected to is beyond me.

      • Darren

        It was like Hafnerbay.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          “What do you get when you cross Travis Hafner and Jason Bay?”

          Sounds like a baseball-themed horror movie.

          • trr

            Maybe it’s like the Jeff Goldblum version of The Fly, except Cervelli and Sparky Lyle get fused at the genetic level. Instead of Brundlefly you get Cervellilyle.

        • BFDeal

          mick taylor would offer Hafnerbay a 1-year $30 million deal.

        • BFDeal

          mick taylor would offer Hafnerbay a 1-year $30 million deal.

      • Rudy Baryonyx

        At least your phone replys to the correct post but Cervellilyle is hilarious that is all!

  • Preston

    I still like A-Rod and enjoy watching him play. I’m hoping he sees the field next season and I hope we get to see more hits like that homer against Dempster.

  • mick taylor

    and none of those home runs would have been home runs in the old yankee stadium if hit to center, 461 ft., or left center, 457 ft. that is what made dimaggio so great. his 46 home runs in 1937 would have been 70 if hit in a normal size ballpark. dimaggio was punished by playing in that ballpark as witness his on the road stats. which were much better

    • BFDeal

      Shouldn’t you be concentrating on your senior center’s new tapioca pudding contract?

    • Lukaszek

      Hmm you never know though. If Yankee Stadium was bigger, there’d be a mental effect on right handed hitters. Maybe pitchers would also be more open to challenging a right handed hitter, throwing a lot more pitches that could be clobbered. For example, it seems that Cano hits balls much farther on the road than at the small NYS

      Cano’s 440+ foot homeruns since 2009 (opening of NYS)

      3 at Home
      7 on Road

      Cano’s 430+ foot homeruns since 2009

      7 at Home
      12 on Road

      Out of his 19 430+ footers, only 7 were at home

      Same with Granderson. He’s weaker than Cano in terms of pure power, so we’ll lower the standards for him

      Granderson’s 430+ foot homeruns since 2010

      0 at Home
      4 on Road

      Granderson’s 420+ foot homeruns since 2010

      2 at Home
      11 on Road

      Yankees’ two best left handed hitters had 32 very long homeruns, and only 9 of them were at home. Seems like the short walls cause the hitters to aim for shorter homeruns

  • Rudy Baryonyx

    I could not stop laughing at Frankie Cervellilyle!

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I’m absolutely baffled.

      I gladly offer that up as an alternate screen name for anyone who wants it. No royalties or kickbacks required.

      • Frankie Cervellilyle!

        I’ll take it.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Yeah, but who were you before?

      • Frankie Cervellilyle!

        I’ll take it.

  • Lyle Cervelli

    I have been born.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      To Steve’s dismay, I believe we have a new meme.

  • RetroRob

    It’s a shame A-Rod ended up with the two leg injuries the last few weeks. He seemed to be driving the ball as well as he had been in a few years.

    With a suspension looming of unknown length, who knows if we’ll ever see that A-Rod again.

    There’s always Jason Nix.

  • PED’s

    so is that the largest total HR drop off in Yankee history or MLB history?

  • JGYank

    I was expecting cano cano cano cano and Reid brignac to be on this list.

  • botz

    Waist not waste.

  • Get Phelps Up

    Wow, it says Alex’s homer would only be gone in 29 parks. Where on earth would that not have been gone?

  • 461deep

    Alex’s HR would be gone in all parks today. Astros CF is 436FT or so.
    Grandy is a strong fellow and not that big. Said it before but Mantle probably would have 61 or more in 1961 in the new YS as a switch hitter an d not a dead pull hitter. He hit several over the 461 & 457 a bit to the left. centerfield wall in his career. also, many 15 at least a year 420-450 FT outs. Only 5-11 200 but had Popeye arms. Today Stanton seems to have the most power. Frank Howard 6-7 had great power too as he hit Ford well.