As baseball entered its final weeks, the pressure and intensity ratcheted up across MLB. With the playoffs looming, players were looking to crush their way to a final spot, and the celebrations were wilder than ever. Let’s take a look at some of the best bat flips from around the league last week.
6. Kole Calhoun vs. Julio Teherán
9/15 – ARI @ LAA
419ft, 102.3 mph, 31° launch angle
Kole Calhoun went off against his former team during Arizona’s series against the Angels last week. He crushed three long home runs, and paired this one with a long, floating bat toss. He’s been on cruise control for much of his time in Arizona, where he has quietly been having one of the better seasons of his career. This impressive swing came at the expense of Julio Teherán, and was Calhoun’s 12th big fly of the year.
9/15 – TOR @ NYY
428ft, 108.6 mph, 25° launch angle
In a lineup featuring home run clubbing titans like Luke Voit, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Judge, sometimes it can be easy to overlook Aaron Hicks and his slick bat drops. They are an understated luxury on a team dominated by large-scale theatrics. This one against Taijuan Walker is dangerously exceptionally smooth, while being direct and to the point. Just ruthlessly efficient.
What’s cooler than being cool? Ice Cold!
9/16 – NYM @ PHI
388ft, 110.9 mph, 19° launch angle
J.D. Davis took flight against Zack Wheeler to pull the Mets within one run of the Phillies on Wednesday night, sparking a comeback that would ultimately lead to a 5-4 New York victory. After his big moment late in the game, Davis sent his bat helicoptering away, recording a spin efficiency that would make even Trevor Bauer jealous. If anyone were nearby, it surely would have taken out their ankles like an old Razor scooter.
9/12 – BOS @ TB
376ft, 99.7 mph, 32° launch angle
Christian Arroyo exploded on this center-cut cheddar from Rays ace Tyler Glasnow last Saturday. He crushed it high into the stands in left, then cartwheeled his bat through the air, end over end. He got some good distance as he sent it twirling, but perhaps it didn’t quite travel as far as his 376-foot missile.
2. Tyler Stephenson vs. Sam Howard
9/14 – PIT @ CIN
390ft, 97.8 mph, 31° launch angle
It’s not often you see a pinch-hit, walk-off homer. It’s rarer still to see one hit by a rookie catcher, in only his fifth major league at-bat. That must have been a lot for Tyler Stephenson to take in when he finally regained consciousness as turned the corner of first base in the 7th inning Monday. He had just come up clutch against Pittsburgh’s Sam Howard, and sent his bat flying two-thirds of his way up the base line. Welcome to The Show.
Making 40ish New Friends with One Swing? Not bad.
9/14 – LAD @ SD
397ft, 104.9 mph, 28° launch angle
Trent Grisham continued on his impressive offensive tear with a big home run off of Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on Monday night. Now I have to be honest with you: watching this live, Grisham’s initial reaction made me think he yanked it way foul. Knowing he had hit one of the biggest home runs of his career, Grisham turned to the Padres dugout and unleashed a killer bat flip. Unfortunately, due to fewer available camera angles this season, the best we could get was this still photo recreation. I don’t know, maybe it’s artsy. Regardless, Dave Roberts took exception to Grisham’s celebration (which was dumb on the part of Roberts), and we’re still talking about whether or not it is okay to have fun playing baseball. To his credit, Clayton Kershaw took it pretty evenly, as he had pitched almost flawlessly to this point in the game. While Kershaw and the Dodgers got the last laugh in the series, Grisham got the top spot for the best bat flip of the week. What’s the bigger honor? I’ll let you decide.
Hasn’t the discussion on having fun run its course yet? Apparently not.
That just about wraps it up for this week’s batch of the best home run celebrations from around baseball. As always, let me know where you think my rankings conflict with yours. I’m looking forward to a wild finish here as teams scratch and claw for the last few playoff spots and the big moments start to get heightened. See you next week.