Yandy Diaz hit his first career home run in the bottom of the fifth inning.
I know that many of you are members of the #FreeYandy movement. It’s been a while since we had a meeting; given that the coverage of Yandy on our website is as disproportionately large as his biceps, we’ll forgo a full-blown meeting and celebrate with a close examination. The last few meetings were more like Meetings, anyway.
First, consider that Yandy had already singled in a run and come around to score twice when he stepped up to the plate in the fifth. That’s a fine day at the plate for any baseball player. Diaz, however, is burdened with the need to prove that he deserves playing time. He appears to be making the most of it. During his time with the Indians he is slashing .305/.328/.373, but his expected slashline (based on quality of contact on balls in play) is .295/.349/.414.
As is well-documented across baseball, good things happen when you hit the ball in the air. Great things happen when you do that with power. Yandy has plenty. What the statistics don’t show is that the combination of lift, power, and Yandy equals one of the most spectacular smiles in baseball.
I think everybody deserves to rip off a smile like that after launching their first home run, though I’m sure someone somewhere is crying, “ACT LIKE YOU’VE BEEN THERE BEFORE KID” while wiping tobacco spittle that leaked through the gaps in his teeth off of his long johns.
As far as the hit itself goes, he parked it off of the concrete top of the wall in right-center field, and it hopped into the bullpen. I don’t think anyone is surprised that his first dinger went the other way. This cuts both ways. On one hand, I love that he’s capable of driving the ball the other way. At the same time I really think that he could destroy the scoreboard above the bleachers if he managed to get out in front of one.
The pitch is worth looking at a bit more closely, too. Jake Newberry snapped off a good slider. It floated over the center third of the plate, but just barely caught the zone at the knees. The problem for Newberry — who came up to the majors for the first time on Saturday — is that Yandy hits sliders better than any other pitch according to Fangraphs. He stayed back on this one, barreled it up, and lifted itover the wall.
Yandy made his way around the bases and back to the dugout. Fortunately for us, Andre Knott managed to document his return journey. It’s worth noting that Knott has been giving Yandy a hard time since the end of last season about the 0 in his career HR column.
He soaks in the moment as he makes his way toward the bench, high-fiving everyone in the dugout on his way. While there is a long-running tradition in baseball of pretending to not even notice a player after his first home run, I think it would be impossible to deny Yandy a high-five, if only because he might rip you in half if you did.
If you think Yandy was content to rest after his first ever dinger, you are mistaken. He worked a full count in the seventh inning, then poked another fly ball down the line in right field. It bounced off of the wall, and Yandy motored around the bases for a triple. Since the Indians didn’t need to bat in the bottom of the ninth, he didn’t get a chance to earn a double. It would have given him a cycle, plus one walk.
Here’s what Yandy had to say after the game
I can’t even begin to imagine how proud his mother will feel when she opens up that package and gets to hold her son’s first big league bomb.
That covers the actions and reactions on the field. What was happening out on social media when Yandy went deep?
I think it’s safe to say that we all got a little excited. Hopefully the novelty of Yandy Bombs wears off as he begins blasting them left and right. Mostly to right, I’m guessing.