The Loop

Homer History

Behold La Tortuga’s 47-mph matzo ball, the slowest pitch hit for a home run in the Statcast era

May 18, 2021

One of the most interesting phenomenons in baseball is the position player pitching. It doesn’t happen often—usually only in blowouts or in the case of a last-second bout of bullpen food poisoning—but when it does, all eyes in the baseball world can’t help but stop and stare. Such was the case on Monday, when Willians Astudillo, AKA La Tortuga, AKA utility Big Sexy, took the mound for the Twins while trailing the White Sox 15-4 in the top of the 9th. La Tortuga immediately fell behind 3-0 to Yermin Mercedes, and what happened next made baseball history.

That’s why you have to drop everything you’re doing and watch, folks. Not only was the home run The Yerminator’s third hit and third RBI of the night, but it was also the slowest pitch hit for a home run since they started tracking such things. Did Ruth crush a few sub-47-mph beach balls in his day? Almost certainly, but this is the slowest that counts, and that, um, counts for something.

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Not everybody was quite as enthused about entering the MLB record books, however. The slow-pitch-softball-league dinger once again raised questions about everybody's favorite [heavy sarcasm] baseball topic: Whether or not it’s OK to swing at a 3-0 pitch in a blowout ballgame.

Mileage will vary there, but safe to say Twins broadcast analyst Roy Smalley wasn’t a fan.

"I don't like it now, at 15-4," Smalley said as Mercedes trotted home. "You're going to get the same pitch after this. I don't like it."

Well Roy, sorry to say we do like it. We like it a lot.