Morning report: Gone in 3.45 seconds

April, 23, 2013
4/23/13
11:37
AM ET
BOSTON -- Good morning from the Edes cave on a day hardly suited for baseball, but I am comforted by this: In the past few days, when the weather did invite us outside, I saw all those joggers on city streets and thought to myself, yes, we will run again.

[+] EnlargeNapoli Heatmap
ESPNMike Napoli has handled pitches at the bottom of the strike zone very well this season. All four of his homers have come on pitches in that area. In 2011 and 2012, Napoli hit 54 home runs. Only nine of them came in the lower-third of the strike zone.
You may have seen a tweet I sent out last night, which I later included in my Will Middlebrooks story posted currently, about how it took .6 seconds, by my unscientific estimate, for Middlebrooks’ home run to reach the Monster seats Monday night. Fortunately, I work at a place that has the means to render an accurate reading of how long, contact to splashdown, it took that home run.

Mark Simon of ESPN Stats and Information, after consulting hittrackeronline.com, informed me that the correct time was 3.45 seconds, the sixth-fastest home run this season. It traveled a true distance, Simon wrote, of 397 feet. It was traveling at a speed of 108.7 miles an hour off the bat.

What is true distance? As defined by hittracker:

If the home run flew uninterrupted all the way back to field level, the actual distance the ball traveled from home plate, in feet. If the ball's flight was interrupted before returning all the way down to field level (as is usually the case), the estimated distance the ball would have traveled if its flight had continued uninterrupted all the way down to field level.

The longest home run, in true distance, this season was a 475-foot drive by former Sox prospect Anthony Rizzo for the Cubs that reached the back of the bleachers in right-center in Wrigley Field five days ago. That would have ranked sixth among all regular-season home runs in 2012: Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins hit the year’s longest, 494 feet.

* Buona sera, Napoli: Mike Napoli’s five RBIs Monday night gave him 25 in the team’s first 19 games. Here is how that compares to the top RBI men in Sox history through 19 games, per Elias Sports Bureau, and how many they finished with that season (table on right).

The most RBIs Napoli had in the season's first month previous to 2013 was 14, which he had last season for the Rangers.

* Special delivery: In the midst of tragedy, Jonny Gomes and his wife, Kristi, celebrated the birth of their fourth child, a girl, Capri, on Monday. Gomes made it to Fenway Park about a half hour before Monday night's game but did not play.

* Base at a time: Dustin Pedroia has a .407 on-base percentage, the highest of his career for the month of April, due in considerable part to the 14 walks he has drawn so far. But what has yet to come is his extra-base production: In 99 plate appearances in April, 2012, Pedroia had 10 extra-base hits (6 doubles, a triple and 3 home runs). So far this season, he has 2 extra-base hits, both doubles, in 86 plate appearances.

The same can be said of Shane Victorino. The Flyin' Hawaiian has a .378 on-base percentage and has scored 11 runs, tied with Pedroia for third on the club, behind Jacoby Ellsbury (15) and Napoli (12). But of his 20 hits this season, he has just one extra-base hit, a double.

* WAR or WHA...?: I have come to respect WAR (wins above replacement player) as a legitimate tool for measuring a player's value to his team. But maybe someone a lot smarter than I am can explain to me how Napoli can rank only 101st in WAR this season with a 0.5, even though he has accounted for so many runs? I'm sure there is a plausible explanation, but it escapes me.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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