Batting practice at the Futures Game is always one of the most enjoyable power displays of the year. Some of the best power hitters in the minors get together and a game of one-upmanship breaks out. Before long, you're watching players try to reach second and third decks that don't exist in their home park.
It didn't take long for the competition to begin on Sunday. Twins first baseman Kennys Vargas drew the first “oohs” of the day with a long home run that nearly cleared the batting eye in center field. Then, Cubs shortstop Javier Baez was reaching the second deck consistently with batting practice home run after batting practice home run and even got to the third deck once. Several of the shots rung out with loud clangs as they threatened to dent the seats.
And then came the Rangers Joey Gallo in the U.S. batting practice. Fans had started streaming into the stadium before the U.S. took its batting practice, but understandably, not a whole lot were paying attention with the exception of those trying to snag home run balls in the outfield.
Gallo quickly changed that. He hit a couple of balls into the second deck in right center field that drew cheers and applause. Then he managed to curve a ball over the first deck to hit and demolish the windshield of a Chevy truck placed in a seemingly safe spot beyond the right field seats. By then, Gallo's swings were stopping everything in the stadium. Much like Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper or Mike Trout, his batting practice requires everyone's attention.
The park was set up to let Gallo star in BP more than the righthanded Baez. While left field at Target Field has a third deck for Baez to reach, right field has an equally epic second deck in right center as well as a plaza beyond the first deck in right field giving Gallo plenty of room where the ball could disappear from sight from the field.
But given the size of the park and the upper decks, it was a great setting for all of the prospective power hitters. Jorge Alfaro, Hunter Renfroe and Kennys Vargas also hit some deep home runs. To give you a better idea, and to serve as a useful comparison to the big leaguers hitting in tonight’s home run derby, here’s the plot of the deepest home runs from the batting practice. It’s not a complete list of all the home runs hit in batting practice, just the furthest ones. To see where the balls landed, click on the photos.