Make way Mike Trouts and Kevin Kiermaiers of the world, Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera might have you matched with this truly insane home run robbery.
In the third inning of the Phillies’ game against the Braves on Saturday, first baseman Freddie Freeman launched a mighty wallop to straightaway center field off pitcher Nick Pivetta. Per Statcast’s numbers, Freeman’s fly ball traveled 411 feet, long enough for a homer in most MLB parks, and a ball with a similar exit velocity and launch angle is a hit 91 percent of the time. Pivetta watched the ball fly blankly, seemingly more prepared to watch a homer than what Herrera would do next.
With a running start and a perfectly timed jump, Herrera extended his glove over the center-field fence and made one of MLB’s catches of the decade. Unfortunately, that catch wasn’t much help for the rest of the game, as the Phillies ultimately fell 4-1 to the Braves.
To give you a sense of the physics at work here, the center-field wall at Citizen’s Bank Park is six feet tall, an inch taller than Herrera himself. He still managed to jump high enough that his armpit landed on the top of the wall, with his glove hitting the bushes behind the fence. The play was reviewed to make sure Herrera got the ball before it hit the bushes, which would have made it a home run, but all that led to was even more replays of the catch, so we aren’t complaining.
You don’t have to be an accomplished lip-reader to catch Pivetta’s reaction, with his arms raised, when Herrera made the leap: “Holy [expletive].” He probably wasn’t the only one in Philadelphia to yell such a thing.