22-year-old right-hander Huascar Ynoa wasn’t supposed to be a major part of the Atlanta Braves rotation in 2021. The Braves invested eight-figure contracts in starters like Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly and, with youngsters like Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Ian Anderson, and others returning, Ynoa projected as a supporting piece, or even a long relief option. However, Atlanta is off to a bit of a slow start and, due to both injury and ineffectiveness, Ynoa is in the spotlight.
On the mound, the youngster entered Tuesday’s game against the Washington Nationals with a rock solid 2.96 ERA in six appearances, and Ynoa also helped his own cause with a home run at the plate in his last outing. In the current environment, though, pitchers aren’t exactly raking after a year off from hitting at all, and Ynoa wasn’t exactly expected to follow up his previous home run with another.
This time, though, Ynoa took things a step further, blasting a sixth-inning grand slam to give the Braves a 6-0 lead.
Ynoa’s home run was not of the cheap variety, as it traveled 427 feet and was measured at 107.4 miles per hour off the bat according to MLB’s statcast metrics.
Braves pitcher Huascar Ynoa hit a 427-foot grand slam, the longest of the 13 grand slams hit by pitchers since 2006.
It's Ynoa's 2nd home run this season. All other pitchers have 2 HR combined, including 1 by Shohei Ohtani as a pitcher.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 5, 2021
It was quite a majestic blast and, in the process, Ynoa made some recent Braves history, with an intriguing twist involving former Atlanta hurler Jaime Garcia.
The last @Braves pitcher to hit a grand slam was Jaime Garcia on July 21, 2017. Three days later, he was traded for Huascar Ynoa… Who is now the most recent Braves pitcher to hit a grand slam 🤯 pic.twitter.com/FxUfhDBQCN
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 5, 2021
Ynoa also became the first Braves pitcher to hit a home run in back-to-back appearance in sixty years.
Braves pitchers with HR in back-to-back games (since at least 1901):
2021 Huascar Ynoa *
1961 Lew Burdette
1961 Warren Spahn
1960 Lew Burdette
1916 Lefty Tyler
each in 2 straight!
* = active streak
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) May 5, 2021
At the time of his big swing, Ynoa was also working on a shutout, though that evaporated when he gave up a run in the seventh inning. Still, he lowered his ERA to a sparkling 2.36 for the season with seven quality innings, flashing his big-time arm to compliment his suddenly prolific bat.
Huascar Ynoa, Filthy 86mph Slider. 😷
Yes, he can pitch too. pic.twitter.com/83vaxgepU7
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 5, 2021
It isn’t every day that a pitcher hits a home run, much less a grand slam, in a game between division rivals. Ynoa’s emphatic swing was even more impressive than usual, and he’s also been a fantastic early story for an Atlanta team that needs some mojo.