4 already?’ The man with the grand slam, Royce Lewis

Legendary great general Earl Weaver defined his baseball philosophy in three points. It was pitching, defense, and a three-run home run. Weaver, who was reluctant to play small balls, believed that a three-run home run was the talisman of victory. Because of this, he rarely used strategies aimed at winning just one point.메이저사이트

The reason Weaver praised the 3-run home run is partly due to probability. Situations with two runners on base are common, but situations with the bases loaded and all bases loaded are less common. In this respect, a 3-run home run is realistically expected in many games.

The total number of at-bats with runners on base in the major leagues this year is 73,383. A total of 2,239 home runs were hit here. Among these, there were 115 grand slam home runs, or only about 5.2%. It’s difficult to hit a grand slam, but the conditions themselves aren’t many.

Two runs – 1,559 home runs (69.6%)
Three runs – 565 home runs (25.2%)
With bases loaded – 115 home runs (5.2%)

The top home run hitter in the Major League is Matt Olson of the Atlanta Braves. Olson hit 52 home runs, breaking Atlanta’s record for most home runs in a single season. However, among Olson’s 52 home runs, only two are grand slams. Pete Alonso of the New York Mets, who ranks second in home runs after Olson, also has only one grand slam out of his 45 home runs. Shohei Ohtani, ranked 3rd, has two grand slams among his 171 career home runs.

In this respect, Minnesota Twins Royce Lewis’s grand slam pace is truly shocking. Lewis hit his 14th home run of the season against the Chicago White Sox. It was a grand slam that instantly turned a 0-0 game into 4-0. Of Lewis’s 14 home runs this season, 4 are grand slams. He surpassed Max Muncy, Adolis Garcia, and Alex Bregman to become the sole leader in grand slam home runs this year.

2023 Lewis’ grand slam home run

8/28 vs. Texas
8/29 vs. Cleveland
9/05 vs. Cleveland
9/16 vs. White Sox

What makes Lewis’ grand slam home run more surprising is the ‘duration’. Lewis has been hitting four grand slams in about three weeks. According to Elias Sports, a records agency, this is the first time in history that four grand slams have come in such a small number of games.

Minimum games with four or more grand slams

18 – Royce Lewis (2023)
39 – Don Mattingly (1987)
44 – Travis Haffner (2006)
45 – Jim Northrup (1968)
48 – Ralph Kiner (1949-50)

Lewis has already become Minnesota history. Before Lewis, no Minnesota batter had hit four grand slams in a single season. It is a feat that even team legends Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett, and Joe Mauer were unable to accomplish (Carew hit three grand slams in 1976 and Puckett in 1992). For reference, the most grand slam home runs in a single season in the major leagues is 6 by Don Mattingly in 1987 and Travis Haffner in 2006. “You can’t do better than this,” Minnesota manager Rocco Boldelli said of Lewis with the bases loaded.

For Lewis, a grand slam was fate. Lewis came up with his first grand slam against Cleveland on May 14th of last year. He then took a cutter to his body and sent it over the wall to his left. It was Lewis’ first home run in his debut. Starting with this home run, Lewis has now hit 16 home runs in 67 major league games. Of the first 16 home runs of his career, Lewis is the only batter to hit five grand slams.

With the bases loaded, Lewis is attacking all types of pitches. The pitches that led to the grand slam were two four-seamers, a cutter, a slider, and a curveball. In particular, the slider and curveball were pitches that came after giving up a strike on the first pitch. He was not at all intimidated by the unfavorable count. Pitchers are trying to deal with Lewis in as many ways as possible with the bases loaded, but no clear countermeasure has been found.

Lewis has had 13 at-bats with the bases loaded so far. He is 7-for-12 (0.583) with 5 home runs and 24 RBIs. He not only hit a home run, but also had a single and a walk. He was not a hitter who just went for a home run with the bases loaded. Lewis also said about his incredible bases-loaded performance, “My teammates are giving me great opportunities. I’m just focusing on not letting those opportunities go in vain.”

Lewis was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft. He is the second first overall pick that Minnesota has signed (Joe Mauer in 2001). You can get a glimpse of Minnesota’s expectations for Lewis.

But Lewis, who was 18 years old when he was drafted, took time to grow up. Even his lower level didn’t quite pass. He struggled in the upper levels of Single-A and Double-A. In 2019, when he played at two levels, he was disappointing, batting .236 with 12 home runs and an OPS of .661 in 127 games.

There were other challenges as well. In 2020, the minor league was suddenly canceled due to the coronavirus. In 2021, he suffered a torn cruciate ligament in his knee during spring training in February. He finally seemed to stand out when he returned last year, but a recurrence of his knee injury prevented him from playing a full season. He played in 12 major league games and 14 minor league games. No matter how talented he is as a top prospect, his value will inevitably drop if his durability does not support it.

Lewis, who missed 36 games this year due to a left oblique injury, still has question marks regarding his health. However, a healthy Lewis is directly showing how attractive a player he is. His forgotten presence is being imprinted through his most powerful grand slam home run. There is still a long way to go, but if Lewis stays healthy for the rest of his career, a new history of grand slam home runs can be created.

Major league career grand slam ranking:

25 – Alex Rodriguez
22 – Lou Gehrig
21 – Manny Ramirez
19 – Eddie Murray

Meanwhile, Lewis has not been able to escape from the swamp of injuries. However, he is healing his painful days with a home run, which is called the ‘flower of baseball’, and a grand slam home run, which has the strongest scent among flowers. I hope that the history of grand slam home runs is not eroded by injuries.

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