This rookie phenom might just break baseball one day.
On Wednesday, Oneil Cruz hit a baseball an incredible 122.4 mph off the bat, the hardest hit ball since Statcast’s inception in 2015. The ball was hit so squarely that it did not reach a high enough launch angle (17 degrees) to get over the fence at PNC Park.
Cruz’s hit Wednesday beats Giancarlo Stanton’s previous record of 122.2 mph, which resulted in a double play.
The smoked shot, in fact, only resulted in a single. However, projections suggest this would have been a home run in 24 of 30 ballparks across the major leagues.
There were two outs, so the runner on first — Tyler Heineman — was running on contact and the catcher barely reached second base by the time Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. collected the ball.
In 54 career games, Cruz now owns the record for the hardest-hit ball and fastest throw by an infielder (97.4 mph) in Statcast history. When Cruz made his season debut in June, he threw a ball to first base that clocked in at 96.7 mph. It was the fastest throw all season at the time before he broke the all-time mark a month later.
While his actual stats (.198 average, 10 home runs, 30 RBIs, six stolen bases, .650 OPS) are not eye-popping, it is clear that the 23-year-old has some serious potential as a future MLB star.
But, on this day, his rebuilding Pirates were handled 14-2 by the Braves.