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AZ SnakePit Awards: Play of the Year (Home-run division)

We kick off the play of the year voting with the long-ball department...

Chicago Cubs v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Note: as with the “real” baseball awards, only regular-season performances should be taken into account. Post-season events simply have too much of an advantage when it comes to our collective memory. This means that things like Archie Bradley’s triple in the wild-card game - awesome though it undoubtedly was - are excluded. I’ve also stuck to home-runs, because those tend to be the most impactful events. Nobody made any counter-argument to this in the nominations thread, so if you don’t like it, please find someone who gives a damn and let them know.

April 29: Jake Lamb goes VERY deep vs. COL

There was a tie for the longest home-run of the season, as tracked by OnlineHitTracker.com. Coming off Tyler Anderson of the Rockies, this was the first one reported there at 468 ft - though MLB estimated it at 13 feet longer. Either way, I have not seen many balls hit to that part of the outfield concourse at Chase Field. Here’s the Statcast analysis of what the reported was the longest home-run in the major-league to that point in the season. What stands out for me here is the ease of Lamb’s swing. He doesn’t really appear to be trying to hit a monster home-run: but the bat is very quick through the zone, and the contact was perfect.

April 30: Daniel Descalso walks off vs. COL

The next afternoon we got another candidate. a walk-off home-run by Descalso. It was memorable both because it came in the bottom of the 13th inning, and for breaking a 0-0 tie to that point. It was the latest homer in a game by a D-back since 2009, and only the second ever in franchise history to end a scoreless contest in extra innings. Justice was service, for this was the game which had earlier seen A.J. Pollock somehow called out for interference, after being body-checked by D.J. LeMahieu. Bonus points for a splash-down into the pool - immediately followed by two rather larger splashes, as two fans in the pool suite dove in to try and retrieve the unexpected souvenir.

May 14: Goldy, Goldy LONG gone vs. PIT

This was the second home-run of the season estimated to have gone 468 feet - but was remarkable as much for its height, with an apex of 134 feet off the ground. Balls hit that high just aren’t supposed to fly that far: for comparison, the next longest NL homer hit this season with such an apex, went only 440 feet (and that was a #GiancarloBomb). It was definitely an upper-cut swing, but Paul Goldschmidt is just so strong, that it didn’t make the slightest bit of difference. You can see from the token three steps taken by the PiratesAndrew McCutchen before giving up on this one, that it was the very definition of a no-doubter.

August 8: Jake Lamb grand-slam vs. LAD

One of six grandies hit by the Diamondbacks this year. But with a Win Probability of +50%, it was easily the most important - not least for who it came against. It was the first time we’d faced the Dodgers since they had swept us out of Los Angeles, and we trailed 3-2 in the seventh inning here. Arizona had worked the bases loaded, but there were two outs. Lamb stepped to the plate, and LA went to their left-hander, knowing of Jake’s struggles there. After falling behind 0-2, Lamb took a ball, then fouled off a couple of pitches, before flipping a pitch down the right-field line - just far enough and just fair enough. Love a) that sound as it pings off the foul-pole, and b) #SadPuig

It’s funny how it works. You wait ages for an inside-the-park home-run, then three turn up at once. In the space of barely three weeks this summer, we got them from Ketel Marte, David Peralta and Daniel Descalso. As is generally the case, these were largely the result of significant outfield malfeasance, to the extent that Marte and even Descalso (not exactly a man noted for his speed, even he’d admit!) were able to cross home standing up. The only one who had to put any effort in was Peralta, who sprinted around the bases and slid into home in a smidge under 15.6 seconds, the fourth-fastest trip to that point in the major-leagues.

Poll

Which home-run should qualify for the Play of the Year final?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    April 29: Jake Lamb goes VERY deep vs. COL
    (1 vote)
  • 11%
    April 30: Daniel Descalso walks off vs. COL
    (6 votes)
  • 5%
    May 14: Goldy, Goldy LONG gone vs. PIT
    (3 votes)
  • 64%
    August 8: Jake Lamb grand-slam vs. LAD
    (34 votes)
  • 16%
    August 12: The Freight Train runs away vs. CHC
    (9 votes)
53 votes total Vote Now