The Twins are getting a lot of mileage out of their battalion of home run hitters in 2019 — literally.
No team in major league baseball has hit more homers than Cruz and Cron & Co. That has been common knowledge for a few weeks now. As of Friday, the American League Central-leading Twins had hit 120 home runs, two more than Seattle, second on the list, and more than twice as many as last-place Miami (47).
Some of the Twins’ blasts have been monstrous, not mere looping fly balls that glanced off the tips of leaping left fielders’ gloves and over the fence. Three Twins players have hit tape-measure shots of 450 feet or more: Jonathan Schoop, C.J. Cron and Byron Buxton.
As the Twins’ home runs — and wins, not coincidentally — piled up, it became evident that the numbers were becoming something special. At that point, a question came up: How do you quantify something so special; how do you measure it?
Well, home runs are measured in feet. And feet turn into yards — as in going yards, or something like that. And yards turn into miles.
Enough miles to get the Twins’ 2019 home runs to stretch from, say, home plate at Target Field in Minneapolis to the State Capitol in St. Paul?
What would you guess? Yes or no?
We started with the Twins’ first homer, a 427-foot blast by Nelson Cruz on March 31. We zipped up, over and out of Target Field on the next, a 373-footer by Max Kepler on April 5, waving goodbye to the Minnie-Paul sign at the top of the stadium (headed your way, Paul). With each successive homer, we followed the path of Metro Transit’s Green Line light-rail tracks through downtown Minneapolis and past U.S. Bank Stadium, over the Mississippi River, across Minnesota 280, past Allianz Field and en route to 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., the address of the State Capitol.
Total miles to the front doors: 9.58.
The Twins are almost knocking on that front door.
Through Friday, taking numbers from the Statcast database on the Baseball Savant website, the Twins’ 120 home runs had traveled 48,216 feet (Statcast did not offer numbers on two homers, one by Buxton and one by Mitch Garver, so we added numbers for them based on the team’s per-homer average). Converted to miles, that came out to 9.13 miles of homers.
Using Google Maps’ measure distance function, that put the Twins’ total home run distance for 2019 just a shade past the corner of University Avenue and Rice Street in St. Paul, less than a half-mile from the Capitol.
At their current pace, six more Twins home runs could place them directly under the Capitol’s marble dome, and seven would be a cinch.
Gov. Walz, prepare a red carpet made out of horsehide.
Home run mileage
Here are a few more home run and mileage numbers, most of them courtesy of Statcast and some estimated as closely as we could:
- Through Friday, American League teams had hit 1,282 home runs at an average of 399 feet in 2019, and National League teams had hit 1,194 at an average of 402 feet. That’s 2,476 home runs for a total of approximately 991,506 feet, or 188 miles — almost the 195-mile distance from MLB’s Park Avenue office in New York City to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
- The Twins’ average home run distance through Thursday was 402 feet. The major league-leading team was, not surprisingly, the Colorado Rockies at 409 feet. (If you can’t figure out why, consult your eighth grade science teacher or Google “thin air.”)
- Jonathon Schoop has the Twins’ longest home run of the year, 467 feet off the Angels’ Matt Harvey on May 23.
- Three Twins had hit more than a mile’s worth of home runs each through Friday: Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler and C.J. Cron.
- The Twins’ Cruz has hit 369 career home runs covering how many miles? Take a guess. Statcast doesn’t have an exact figure for Cruz’s total career feet, but using his 2019 average of 403 feet per homer as a baseline, a rough estimate would be 148,707 feet, or 28.16 miles — more than the distance from Target Field to the former Metropolitan Stadium site in Bloomington (now at the Mall of America) and back. Caveat: That’s driving distance, not as the longball flies.
- Among major leaguers with five or more home runs this season, the Twins’ Jason Castro ranks tied for fourth with an average distance of 425 feet per home run. The leaders, all at 426 feet per homer, were Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr., Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Boston’s Michael Chavis.
- Using 400 feet as an estimated average, Hank Aaron’s 755 career homers would have traveled more than 57 miles — a two-state trip from his hometown of Mobile, Ala., to Pensacola, Fla.
- The New York Yankees set the major league record last year with 261 home runs. They averaged 394 feet per homer, giving them about 19½ miles’ worth of homers — about the distance from Yankee Stadium to the Mets’ Citi Field and back again.
- The longest home run in major league history is credited to Babe Ruth, with a knock generally estimated at 575 feet in 1921. That’s one-ninth of a mile of Bambino blast — or 192 yards, the length of a medium-to-long par 3 in golf.
- Among players named Simpson, the all-time leader in four-baggers is Harry Simpson, with 73 from 1951-59. This is an entirely meaningless piece of baseball trivia, except it allows us to conclude by hanging a posthumous nickname upon the fellow: