Pirates rookie Oneil Cruz breaks MLB Statcast with hardest hit ever recorded

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Pittsburgh Pirates rookie shortstop Oneil Cruz broke Statcast Wednesday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves.

The Pirates might have been crushed 14-2 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, but Cruz likely dented the right field wall after hitting a single at 122.4 mph, the hardest-hit ball Statcast has ever recorded.

The ball traveled an estimated 366 feet and would have been a home run in 26 of 30 MLB ballparks..

The tall right field wall in Pittsburgh didn’t allow Cruz to trot around the diamond, but one could imagine how far that ball might have gone if it had a better launch angle.

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Oneil Cruz (15) of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a solo home run in the fifth inning during a game against the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park Aug. 22, 2022, in Pittsburgh.
(Justin Berl/Getty Images)

The previous record for the hardest hit ball went to another current slugger, Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit a ball 122.2 mph twice — one in October 2017, the other in August 2021.

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Oneil Cruz (15) of the Pittsburgh Pirates turns a double play in front of Jose Barrero (2) of the Cincinnati Reds during the fifth inning at PNC Park Aug.  19, 2022, in Pittsburgh.

Oneil Cruz (15) of the Pittsburgh Pirates turns a double play in front of Jose Barrero (2) of the Cincinnati Reds during the fifth inning at PNC Park Aug. 19, 2022, in Pittsburgh.
(Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

StatCast is the analytical tool used by Major League Baseball.

Cruz, 23, has quickly become a showstopper with the Pirates after being called up in June. His numbers may not jump off the page — a .198/.249/.401 slash line with 10 homers and 30 RBI over 51 games — but his potential has been showcased with moonshot round-trippers and a cannon of an arm at short that has surpassed 100 mph on throws to first base.

Oneil Cruz of the Pittsburgh Pirates takes the field against the Atlanta Braves during a game at PNC Park Aug.  24, 2022, in Pittsburgh.

Oneil Cruz of the Pittsburgh Pirates takes the field against the Atlanta Braves during a game at PNC Park Aug. 24, 2022, in Pittsburgh.
(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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Cruz also stands at 6-foot-7, the same height as Yankees slugger and current American League MVP favorite Aaron Judge. There’s an argument to be made Cruz’s athleticism, which includes incredible speed, rivals that of Judge.

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No wonder the Pirates are excited about what the future holds with this cornerstone franchise.

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