Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dustin Pedroia's home runs

Dustin Pedroia hit his longest home run of the season on Tuesday, a 384-foot blast eight or 10 rows deep in the Tropicana Field bleachers. It also was his first home run of the season that would have been out in any other ballpark.

HitTracker measures every home run hit in the major leagues not just by standard distance but by "true distance," taking into account wind, temperature and altitude conditions that often can affect the flight of the ball. With the Red Sox playing the Rays inside Tropicana Field at sea level, there weren't any extra atmospheric conditions in play. Pedroia's blast really traveled 384 feet.

As you can imagine, the diminutive second baseman doesn't hit the ball that far very often. A year ago, in fact, he only hit three home runs that traveled that far. (He has never hit a 400-foot home run in the major leagues, and Jason Bay has 14 home runs just this season longer than Pedroia's career best of 394 feet.)

But just like this seems to be his favorite time of the year for hitting in general -- his hot streak in August a year ago is likely what won him the MVP award -- this seems to be his favorite time of the year for hitting long home runs. Four of his seven longest home runs have come either in August or the first week of September.

Just for fun, here's a collection of Pedroia's longest home runs:

1. 394 feet: Aug. 27, 2008 into Monument Park at Yankee Stadium
2. 394 feet, May 23, 2008 at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland
3. 389 feet, May 18, 2008 against Milwaukee at Fenway Park
4. 388 feet, May 8, 2007 at Rogers Centre in Toronto
(This was his first career home run. Also, the link is broken.)
5. 384 feet, Aug. 4, 2009, at Tropicana Field
6. 382 feet, Sept. 2, 2008, at Fenway Park
(That one hit the Sports Authority sign.)
7. 381 feet, Aug. 1, 2009, at Camden Yards

If it's not coming up on Labor Day or Memorial Day, apparently, don't expect Dustin Pedroia to be going real deep.

(Speaking of real deep, Pedroia doesn't do this.)

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