The Weakest Braves Homers Since 2015

Sep 25, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; Atlanta Braves third baaseman Rio Ruiz (14) doubles against the New York Mets during the eighth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; Atlanta Braves third baaseman Rio Ruiz (14) doubles against the New York Mets during the eighth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s that point in the offseason when most high-profile players are off the board. So instead of trying to speculate what the always-unpredictable Alex Anthopoulos is going to do, I decided it might be fun to look at the weakest Atlanta Braves homers since 2015.

I also thought it’d be interesting to see if these weakly hit wall scrapers were consequential. So, in addition to telling you the metrics on the homers, I’ll let you know whether they played a part in a Braves win, or if the team would’ve won without them.

With that in mind, Let’s look at five of the weakest Braves homers in order, from a homer I think Statcast got wrong to the only homer one player ever hit with the team.

What we mean by “weakest Braves homers”

Before I start, I should briefly explain what I mean when I say weakest Braves homers and explain what I mean by “consequential.” When it comes to weakest, all I’m looking at is exit velocity pulled from Baseball Savant. While I’ll provide the distance, I’m not factoring it into what makes the list. If, hypothetically, Josh Donaldson hit a 342 ft homer on August 25, 2019, but it had an EV of 103.6, it’s not on this list.

When it comes to whether or not the homer was consequential, I could look at Win Probability Added (WPA), but I’ve decided to just look at the end-of-game score. I won’t be ranking how consequential the homer was, just whether it was or not.

So, with that laid out, let’s look at some weakly hit homers that could give you (and me) the impression that maybe if given the chance, you could hit a ball over a big-league fence.

1(a). Andrelton Simmons (5/11/2015) – 86.6 MPH EV | N/A ft | .640 xBA |  .790 xSLG

I’m doubtful about this homer’s exit velocity. Baseball Savant doesn’t include the distance of this homer, but considering the Braves were playing in Cincinnati, a stadium known for cheap wall scrapers, I was ready to believe Simba managed a short homer over the Great American Ballpark left-field wall. After all, this 2019 homer by Eugenio Suarez had a similar EV of 86.7 and went 340 feet.

But then I found the footage. Simmons’ game-tying homer wasn’t one that barely cleared the fence. This one went out to the left center, meaning it went at least 380 feet at a launch angle of 18 degrees. Of homers that went 380-400 ft and had a launch angle of between 17 and 19 degrees, the weakest hit homer was this Wilson Ramos dinger that had an EV of 98.9 MPH.

Additionally, unlike other homers with EVs in the 80s, Simmons expected stats, xBA and xSLGs, don’t align, with xBA believing there was a 64% of being a hit, similar to this William Contreras bomb from 2022, while the .790 xSLG indicates that this hit wouldn’t even average out to single. Contreras’s homer, for reference, had a 1.972 xSLG, meaning that you could at least expect a double, even considering the percentage of times it goes for outs.

Maybe this really was 86.6 MPH off the bat, but I’m doubtful. This was also the first year of Statcast, so there’s a good chance it was just a misread. This was a very important homer, regardless of how well it was hit, as the Braves won the game 2-1.

1(b). Tyler Flowers (6/21/2017) – 90.0 MPH EV | 345 ft | .027 xBA | .077 xSLG

Somehow, this homer necessitated a review. Tyler Flowers floated this ball just far enough to get over the left field fence, but all four umpires failed to see the ball go over the fence and off the pole back into the field of play.

This had a high launch angle of 38 degrees, so combined with the low EV, this barely, barely cleared the fence at 345 feet. Like Simmons’ homer, this was also a fairly important run for the Braves, as they’d need extra innings to defeat the Giants 5-3.

2. Rio Ruiz (9/23/2017) – 90.1 MPH EV | 338 ft | .100 xBA | .305 xSLG

This Rio Ruiz homer brought the Braves to within one against the Phillies. I’m not sure how, but, despite having a lower launch angle that’s more optimal for homers and ever so slightly higher EV, this homer went seven feet shorter than the Flowers homer above.

While Ruiz would appear in 14 games with the Braves in 2018, this entry on the weakest Braves homers list was actually his final homer with Atlanta. After this homer, he’d go 3-33 with 8 walks (.097/.302/.129) in his final 43 PAs (he had one HBP and two SFs as well) before getting claimed off waivers by the Orioles prior to the 2019 season.

As for whether this homer was consequential, it was The Braves would come back and win this game 4-2 after scoring three runs in the bottom of the 8th. Ruiz’s homer wasn’t a deciding factor, it was the first of four unanswered runs in a close game.

3. Matt Adams (8/18/2017) – 91.2 MPH EV | 338 ft | .127 xBA | .413 xSLG

By this point in Matt Adams’s first stint with the Braves, the “Freddie Freeman, 3B” experiment had ended, which left the lefty slugger riding the bench for the most part. But, for this mid-August game, the Braves were trying Adams in LF.

A different Matt, Matt Kemp anchored down the position for most of 2017, but Kemp had been sidelined for almost a month to this point with a strained hamstring. The team had alternated between Sean Rodriguez (who was traded to Pittsburgh five games into August), Danny Santana, and Adams in LF, but this was Adams’s first start in five games.

In the second inning of a scoreless game, Adams pushed out this 91.2 EV homer that just cleared the fence, in a similar fashion to Ruiz’s homer above.

This homer would be the only run until the sixth when the Reds put up four and the Braves ultimately lost 5-3. Considering the deficit and the loss, I will put this homer in the “not consequential” category.

4. Alex Dickerson (4/23/2022) – 91.8 MPH EV |  350 ft | .089 xBA | .608 xSLG

What I find hilarious about this entry to the weakest Atlanta Braves homers list is that the only homer that Alex Dickerson hit during his Braves stint in which he underperformed expected stats by a ton (.395 xSLG vs. .212 SLG) had an xSLG of just .243 and an xBA of just .089. It’s as though the baseball gods, after two weeks of letting 2.241 xSLG’d balls go for outs, let what would normally be a harmless flyout go for his only homer of the year.

It’s the first non-solo on this list, which seems like it gives hit a higher possibility to be consequential. After all, it gave the team a two-run lead. However, the Braves lost this by two runs, thanks to a rare poor relief outing by Spencer Strider. Thanks for your time with the Braves, Alex, but it looks like your sole homer falls into the “not consequential” bucket.

5. Kurt Suzuki (7/20/2017) – 92.6 MPH EV |  369 ft | .153 xBA | .608 xSLG

The final entry on the weakest Braves homers list is another homer from 2017. It seems that the team was obsessed with hitting homers that barely cleared the fence, before shifting their obsession to winning divisions in 2018.

With the Braves up 3-1 in the 4th, Suzuki drove an 0-1 slider to LF that just cleared the fence for a two-run homer. The furthest homer on this list needed every inch to get over.

Whether or not this was consequential is probably the most debatable. The Braves won this game by three runs, meaning that theoretically, they could’ve won without it, but this homer made the game 5-1 and they only scored one more run in the inning. Additionally, that run came in the fourth as well. If Suzuki had gotten out (or even worse, grounded into a double play), Ender Inciarte might not have had the opportunity to knock in Johan Camargo with one out three batters later.

Considering that this was the last inning the Braves scored and that Suzuki’s wall scraper put two on the board, I’ll go ahead and consider this consequential, especially considering the team won.

Bonus Homer: Jaime García (7/22/2017) – 99.3 EV | 399 ft | .647 xBA | 2.066 xSLG

This homer was not weakly hit, nor did it have any consequence to the game, but seeing Suzuki’s homer made me think of this one, as it occurred two days later. In Jaime García’s final game with the Braves, he rocketed this grand slam off of former Brave Alex Wood to make it a 9-0 game.

Two days later, the lefty would be traded along with Anthony Recker for a young pitching prospect who would hit also a grand slam for the Braves four years later.