Welcome back to the last regular season installment of Best Bat Flips of the Week! Week 9 of the MLB restart came and went and left some thunderous bat flips in its wake. We also saw tensions between players and umpires continue to fray during the final few days of the season, and big moments from unlikely heroes. Every sweet swing and raucous celebration you may have missed is right here. Let’s go!
9/19 – TEX @ LAA
385ft,109.1 mph, 21° launch angle
Even though his arm injuries have once again relegated Shohei Ohtani to a purely offensive role for the time being, it’s still amazing to watch him take the field. Arguably the most talented player on the diamond at any time, Shohei has had more chances to flex his power with the bat, as he did in last Saturday’s contest against Lance Lynn and the Rangers. Ohtani’s infinitely smooth swing launched a high fastball on the outside part of the plate off of the wall in right field. As he took off down the baseline, Ohtani twirled his bat like he was trying to jump start a plane propeller. It was a good idea, but he didn’t quite clear the ground on his first rotation, so he left a lot of potential on the table. We’ll look to see him clean up his bat flipping form as he develops.
9/19 – CWS @ CIN
414ft, 105.2 mph, 31° launch angle
While Nomar Mazara‘s 2020 season may not be off to the scorching pace some projected him for, he still has flashed moments of ability at the plate. One of these moments came last Saturday, when he took Trevor Bauer deep for his first home run of the campaign. As Mazara exits his backswing, he stops to admire his work, letting the bat gracefully fall from his fingers. It’s a compact yet graceful finish to a violent swing.
Digital Fans: Still Horrifying
9/17 – MIN @ CWS
381ft, 106.6 mph, 24° launch angle
Josh Donaldson took a decidedly different approach to his celebrations last week as he hit one of the most spiteful home runs of all time off of Reynaldo López. His issue wasn’t with the pitcher, however, but with the umpire calling balls and strikes, Dan Bellino. The two had a brief spat during Donaldson’s at-bat just pitches before when the slugger argued a called strike, and Twins manager Rocco Baldelli even had to leave the dugout to smooth things out. But then Donaldson connected, crushing this fastball from López and uncorking a spirited bat flip as he jogged down the line. He wasn’t done however, and as he jogged home Donaldson dragged dirt across home to show up the umpire. Bellino didn’t like that, and tossed Donaldson from the game (possibly before he touched home plate?). It was a little weird in all, but I’m sure we will see this home run trot animation end up in MLB The Show next year.
2. Yadiel Hernández vs. Brandon Workman
9/22 – PHI @ WSH
382ft, 100.6 mph, 31° launch angle
Sometimes, there are baseball stories that just make you smile (unless you’re Brandon Workman in the middle of a playoff race). Yadiel Hernández is one of those stories in 2020, a 32-year-old rookie that made his debut in September after playing over 900 games of both international and minor league ball. He was recalled from the alternate site this week after going 0-7 in his first four games. But Hernández did not miss his opportunity when he was called upon in a clutch spot in the doubleheader Tuesday. He crushed a hanging 2-1 pitch from Brandon Workman for his first career home run and walk-off home run, and seized the moment to celebrate with a floating one-handed bat flip. Hopefully there is more to come from Hernández in the near future.
9/23 – CWS @ CLE
388ft, 104.2 mph, 28° launch angle
Jordan Luplow became the latest Cleveland hitter to walk off the Chicago White Sox when he drove this pitch from Gio González deep Wednesday. Coming less than 24 hours after José Ramírez hit a walk-off missile to end the game against José Ruiz, Luplow tattooed a 3-0 “get me over” fastball 388 feet. To punctuate the big moment, Luplow put some sass into a fierce bat toss, before walking off like James Bond coolly strolling away from an explosion.
Rotation: Basically a Spear
That wraps it up for the best bat flips of this week! As you may know, the regular season ends this weekend, but we will be continuing with this roundup into the playoffs and possibly beyond as we wrap up the 2020 season. Have a great rest of your week and see you next time! October baseball is just around the corner.
Photo Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter & IG)