There’s a reason why Oneil Cruz is one of the hottest prospects in baseball today. His hitting ability was never in question, and on Wednesday, that attribute helped him smash a long-standing record.
He stepped in to face Braves starter Kyle Wright in the third when he smashed a 91 mph fastball off the 21-foot-high Clemente Wall in right-field.
"Oneil Cruz hits one 122.4 mph! That's the hardest hit ball of the Statcast era!" - Talkin' Baseball
In doing so, he recorded the hardest-hit ball in Statcast history, with an exit value of 122.4 mph. Fans were naturally left in awe as Oneil Cruz’s stock keeps rising.
New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton previously held the hardest-hit record with a 122.2 mph contact.
"Hardest-hit batted balls tracked by Statcast (since 2015): Oneil Cruz: 122.4 mph, today; Giancarlo Stanton: 122.2 mph, 8/9/21; Giancarlo Stanton: 122.2 mph, 10/1/17; Giancarlo Stanton: 121.7 mph, 8/9/18; Giancarlo Stanton: 121.3 mph, 7/25/20" - Sarah Langs
The 2022 All-Star Game MVP has been out of action since July 23, due to an achilles injury. Stanton is expected to return to action when the Yankees take on the Oakland Athletics in a four-match set, starting on Thursday.
Earlier this year, Cruz notched the fastest infield assist with a 98.7 mph bolt to throw out Miami Marlins' Luke Williams at first base.
2023 will serve as a litmus test of Oneil Cruz's immense potential
Oneil Cruz was called-up by the Pirates in June. We can only expect him to get better with more experience under his belt.
The sky’s the limit for the 23-year-old shortstop. Potential and talent were never a problem, it's now a matter of working hard and delivering consistently.
Unfortunately, Cruz’s rocket accounted for only a single as the ball ricocheted off Clemente Wall, coming back into play.
Braves manager Brian Snitker thinks that the wall’s intervention may have prevented someone from getting hurt in the stands.
“It's probably good that ball hit a wall, because it might have hurt somebody if it had been up a little higher” - Brian Snitker
Per Statcast, Cruz’s single would have been a home run in 26 ballparks. Only Fenway Park, Coors Field, Kauffman Stadium, and of course, PNC Park have enough room to contain that hit.
For more news and updates, go to the Sporskeeda Baseball page.