Bart’s blast makes Giants history as Statcast’s hardest hit of the era appeared first on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO — A few weeks ago, as Joey Bart tried to make adjustments after being demoted to Triple-A, he met up with Will Clark for a few rounds of beers. The two talked about hitting and swing mechanics, but mostly they talked about life, and Clark is quick to say that he still has a lot of faith in the rookie catcher’s talent.
With Clark sitting in the owner’s box a few feet away Saturday, Bart recalled that physical ability in the fourth inning of a game the Giants would win 5-4. His solo shot gave the Giants a five-run lead over the Chicago Cubs, and it was also the hardest-hit homer by a Giant since Statcast began tracking it in 2015.
Bart’s seventh blast of the year left the bat at 114.3 mph, just shy of the 114.2 mph that Mack Williamson hit off then-LA Andrew Heaney lefty Andrew Heaney of the Los Angeles Angels on April 20, 2018.
“It’s just a good feeling, there’s no other way to put it,” Bart said. “I felt like I had a chance to go. I’m just happy to be in this situation and be able to take a good swing there.”
The homer came one pitch after Luis Gonzalez picked off Drew Smalley in right, giving the rookies their second homer of the year. They also hit two runs off Albert Pujols earlier this season, but Smyly is several steps away from that.
According to Stats, Gonzalez and Bart accomplished something no NL hitter had done before, though that makes a lot of sense since the pitcher hit ninth so far this season:
Bart joined an interesting group on the franchise’s recent exit velocity leaderboard. Before Bart, only five Giants had reached the 114 mph mark since 2015, led by Williamson, who did it twice and still holds the high with a 114.8 mph single from Francisco Liriano.
Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval, Jarrett Parker and Alex Dickerson are the other Giants to have a base hit of at least 114 mph since 2015 (The database does not track foul balls, though it should be noted that Joc Pederson fouled out in the seats at 115 mph last week at Dodger Stadium).
Bart is hitting just .186 overall, but when he makes good contact, he has as much power as any Giant. The homer was his third this year at 111 mph or faster, and of his seven homers, six have come off the bat at 107 mph or better. He said he also hit one at 114-plus when he was in A-ball.
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“I mean, he’s incredibly talented,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I think the pitch he hit was 100 miles an hour, if I’m not mistaken, and he put another ball down the right field line that was 100 miles an hour. Not that we’re all about exit velocity, but seeing him square the baseball up is good.
“Having some accuracy in the barrel is good. We definitely want him to have as much adaptability as possible with his swing in the batter’s box and he showed some of that tonight.”
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