Hilliard Goes Home & the Best Bat Flips of Weeks 16+17

"Twice the pride, double the flips."

After a brief two-week hiatus, we are back with an extra helping of all of the best bat flips from around the league since the All-Star Break. MLB has been busy as the dog days of summer have worn on, filling a stunning highlight reel with some final big moments from fan favorites who will be wearing new jerseys now that the trade deadline has come and gone. With home run streaks, walk-off blasts, and ninth inning grudge matches, there was no shortage of excitement in baseball over the last couple of weeks. Strap in and enjoy as we count down the best bat flips and celebrations from MLB’s 16th and 17th weeks (7/16-7/29)! And remember to keep an eye out for some of these same flips in a few days as the Pitcher List community narrows down and selects the single Best Bat Flip of July!

 

9. Shohei Ohtani vs. Jesús Tinoco

 

7/26/2021 — COL @ LAA

388 ft, 113.1 mph, 22° LA

I’ve been looking for an excuse to feature Shohei Ohtani in this series for a while now. For starters, he’s currently leading all of baseball with 37 home runs … as a pitcher. I get that’s old news at this point, but it’s still hard to put into words how incredible that is nearly two-thirds of the way through the season. So when I saw Shohei finally blessed us with a bat flip, I had to give it the shine he deserves. It’s not the most explosive of flips and is more of a laidback toss, but it’s graceful and fun to watch nonetheless. I’d like to see some more rotations and more energy from Shohei’s flips in the future, but I understand it might not be a priority with six other tools in his skillset. And don’t take it personally Jesús Tinoco, he’s been doing it to everyone.

Style: 7.5

Rotation: 90°

Ohtani Factor: 10 

 

8. Joey Votto vs. Adbert Alzolay

 

7/27/2021 — CIN @ CHC

410 ft, 114.1 mph, 23º LA

Joey Votto went on an almost unprecedented run over the last few days as he briefly turned into the titular character of Matt Christopher’s youth baseball novel, The Kid Who Only Hit Homers. Votto went yard in an incredible seven consecutive games, becoming the eighth player in history to do so. What’s more is he almost made it eight straight, as the future Hall of Famer just missed clearing the wall in the Reds’ Saturday contest against the Mets. This flippant bat drop was the highlight of Votto’s unconscious run, after having muscled a pitch from Adbert Alzolay to the opposite field and over the ivy.

Style: 8.5

Speed: 1.07s post contact

Salsa: 9

 

7. Brad Miller vs. Sam Clay

 

7/29/2021 — WSH @ PHI

425 ft, 105.8 mph, 28° LA

The best part about baseball is how heroes (and bat flips!) can come from any spot in the lineup. Enter last Wednesday’s NL East battle between the Nationals and the Phillies. Leadoff man and shortstop Brad Miller, not without power with nine home runs in 2021, stepped to the plate with the bases juiced and one out in an unfavorable matchup with Washington reliever Sam Clay. In a 1-2 count he then crushed a low-and-in sinker 425 feet out to right-center, and smoked it to the point where the outfielders didn’t even move. It was a walk-off grand slam (the game was part two of a seven-inning doubleheader), and Miller flicked the bat down with gusto and a strong flex towards his home dugout. An electric bat drop befitting an electric moment.

Style: 8.5

Rotation: 90°

Flex: 9

 

6. Willson Contreras vs. Amir Garrett

 

7/26/2021 — CIN @ CHC

384 ft, 105.4 mph, 39° LA

At this point, Willson Contreras is something of a bat flipping veteran for all of his high leverage moments and accompanying celebrations. He added another clip to his highlight reel last week with a clutch late-inning drive off Reds reliever Josh Osich, tying the game at five apiece before rattling off an innovative over-the-back flip. In Contreras’ typical style, he takes a few seconds and steps down the first base line to admire the absolute missile he just sent into the crowd 384 feet away. As he begins to break into a trot, however, he tosses his bat back over his, well, back, sending it falling into the grass in his wake. It was new, it was fresh, and it looked pretty sweet to boot. Strong work.

Style: 9

Rotation: 360°

Originality: 10

 

5. Pete Alonso vs. Ryan Borucki

 

7/26/2021 — TOR @ NYM

450 ft, 111.3 mph, 29° LA

After collecting his second Home Run Derby victory in as many attempts a few weeks ago at the All-Star Break, Pete Alonso picked up right where he left off, bashing a solo shot and adding a new star to the New York skyline. Having extended the Mets lead to a 3-0 margin (where it would stay through the final out), Alonso wound up and slung his lumber off to the side, in an elegant yet exciting windmill motion. Get that outta here.

Style: 9

Rotation: 360°

Windmill: 9

 

4. Sam Hilliard vs. Darien Nuñez

 

7/26/2021 — CIN @ CHC

408 ft, 108.2 mph, 30° LA

Prior to the trade deadline, the Dodgers had been struggling through a rough period where they blew multiple games in a week in the final frame of the contest. Sam Hilliard’s blast off of Darien Nuñez had been the latest in the disappointing run, and by far the most potent, as it traveled 408 feet into a very quiet right field pavilion. Hilliard then twisted the knife with a downright toxic bat flip, and giving fans a stunning highlight in the middle of an otherwise disappointing Colorado season.

Style: 9

Rotation: 540°

The Mountains: Blue

 

3. Fernando Tatis Jr. vs. James Kaprielian

 

7/27/2021 — OAK @ SD

440 ft, 111.8 mph, 32° LA

Tell me something: are you at all still surprised by Fernando Tatis Jr.? Day after day he gives us some of the most dynamic and exciting baseball in MLB, and does it all with a gleaming smile on his face. He was back at it again last week, with this towering drive off of Oakland’s James Kaprielian. He then hit everyone with another classic Tatis Special™, sauntering down the line before spinning his bat at a rate that would make pitchers around the league jealous. He’s here, he’s the best, and it seems difficult to remember a world where Fernando Tatis Jr. wasn’t the face of Major League Baseball. Give him the Swagg Chain.

Style: 9

Rotation: ???

Strut: 9

 

2. Juan Soto vs. Chris Paddack

 

7/16/2021 — SD @ WSH

With a final score of 24-8, this game didn’t provide much for Washington fans to smile at, outside of this Herculean blast off of the bat of He Who Remains, Juan Soto. Soto just straight up demolished this three-run bomb off of “The Sheriff” Chris Paddack to tie the game in the bottom of the first (before things got truly out of hand). It was a monster shot, and Soto gave it a monster reverse bat flip in response. The hand-over-hand rotation here was what set it apart from some of the flips lower on this week’s rankings, and Soto’s sideways shuffle imbued it with a fun energy as he tracked the ball’s flight over the fence.

Style: 9.5

Rotation: 1080°

Energy: 9

 

1. Javier Báez vs. Amir Garrett

 

7/26/2021 — CIN @ CHC

361 ft, 93.3 mph, 33° LA

A couple weeks ago, Juan Soto begged the question, “Does a home run need to be hit for a bat to be flipped?” It appears Javier Báez has passionately answered with a heated display of his own, at the expense of the equally competitive Amir Garrett. The two have a history dating back to 2019, where they got into a bit of a kerfuffle (that is the technical term, yes) following an exciting end to a game. Then, earlier this season, Garrett brought out his “broom” and mimed it after the Reds completed a sweep of the Cubs. So there was history and a precedent for Báez’s response. Flash forward to last week, when Báez, in his possibly last big moment for the Cubs, walked off the game with a high arcing 361 foot “single” over the head of the centerfielder, scoring the winning run from third base. With the flip of a switch, Báez came completely unglued, and well, you can check out what happened next above. The broom came out, the bat was slammed down, and Wrigley was thrown into a frenzy in one of the most entertaining moments of the 2021 season to date. So no, while it wasn’t a traditional home run, it does go down as the most exciting bat flip of the last two weeks.

Style: 10

Rotation:

Ferocity: 11

 

P.S. If you’re reading this and flabbergasted that Brian Goodwin and his skyscraping bat flip from Sunday were left out, rest assured it will appear in next week’s article!

 

What was the Best Bat Flip of Weeks 16+17?

 

Photo by Dustin Ian D’Andrea/Flickr | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

 

Noah Scott

Noah Scott is a long-suffering baseball writer and knuckleball connoisseur. If you want to talk old timey baseball names, traffic on the 405, or lukewarm hip-hop opinions you can find him on Twitter @noahascott6

One response to “Hilliard Goes Home & the Best Bat Flips of Weeks 16+17”

  1. DB says:

    Really wanted to give it to Votto because I’ve rostered him everywhere for most of July and he’s been amazing, but Miller’s drop had more panache. If there are some solid drops in this piece, I’ll usually give them the leg-up. There were some strong actual flip contenders, but Miller gets my vote.

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