Counting Down the Best Bat Flipping Sluggers in Recent MLB History
Asdrubal Cabrera’s Bat Flip Getting Recognition Was An Embarrassment to Baseball’s Best
Last night, the New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies on a 3-run walk-off homer Asdrubal Cabrera to regain momentum in their hunt for an NL wild card spot. I quickly grew infuriated by how much coverage SportsCenter gave his very underwhelming bat flip.
It was a two-handed bat flip that wasn’t even worth of replaying, let alone comparing to Jose Bautista’s all-time great bat flip from Game 5 of the 2015 NLDS
Before I start breaking down the best bat flips we’ve seen in recent MLB history, let’s first talk about the criteria that make a good bat flip. Disclaimer: I only hit one home run in my baseball career, so I do not speak from personal experience. You would have to ask guys like Jack Harrigan or Sam Cybulski to get more credible advice.
First off, if you use two hands it’s automatically a useless bat flip. That’s like saying a two-handed grab in football is cooler than a one-handed catch, simply never true. Second off, major bonus points any time that you stare down the pitcher or interact with the dugout or crowd. No one wants to watch a guy stare at the ball mid-flight and be self-absorbed in his greatness.
Finally, there is a very fine line in determining what the appropriate bat flip waiting time is. You either have to use a very fluid motion or own it by waiting it out for a while. Even within these guidelines, waiting too long can take away from it. Just ask Tom Lawless, a lousy slugger with only three career home runs, about that one.
I mean seriously, you don’t get to flip your bat like that with three career home runs.
So, now that we’ve established some ground rules let’s get into ranking some of the best sluggers by their bat flips.
Korean Baseball Organization Players Compilation
Honestly, if I knew who any of these guys were and could track individual progress, some may have a legitimate shot at cracking the top ten. But if Ichiro’s hits in Japan don’t count, then bat flips in the KBO don’t count. Truly a spectacle though, no such thing as a non-emphatic bat flip in the Korean league.
Absolutely love the quick, fluid motion Zack uses here. Don’t see that kind of hair combined with the bat flip very often from pitchers these days. He finishes the swing with two hands because his hitting coach told him to, but quickly flips the bat with the bottom hand as he watches the ball sail out. Truly eloquent.
This stare down with Jered Weaver is all-time and definitely cracks the top 10 of individual bat flips of all time.
Unfortunately, Carlos Quentin never had the opportunity to hit a truly memorable or relevant home run in his short lived, fury filled career. But when he wasn’t breaking Greinke’s collarbone or breaking his wrist against his own bat, he had decent sty.
Evan Gattis is an absolute legend, the guy looks like a lumberjack every time he steps up to the plate with no batting gloves. Huge style points for that, and he had an all-time bat flip on his first
Schwarbo would without a doubt be in the top 10 if he was healthy this year. This 450 foot yabo is just the first of many to come. Look at that bat flip, that’s a GROWN MAN BAT FLIP.
Cano could easily be a top 10 guy, but I just think there are too many smooth swinging lefties with better moments than he has. You will see a few examples below. But, Robbie Cano is undoubtedly one of the smoothest guys at the dish.
This second one has some serious style points…
Quick disclaimer…There is absolutely no need to include Jose Bautista in this list since he already owns the bat flip that broke the internet. I have chosen NOT to include the king to shed some light on other sluggers who deserve recognition
The Top 10 Bat Flipping Sluggers in Recent MLB History:
10. Manny Ramirez
Boy, do I miss Manny being Manny. This home run against the Oakland A’s in game 5 of the ALDS was an all-time Manny moment. Huge bonus points for the slow trot and calling out their whole dugout
9. Carlos Gonzalez
If we were ranking top individual bat flips, this guy would be in there for sure. I don’t want to make any crazy comparisons here on talent, but CarGo’s bat flips rival those of the top left handed sluggers to ever play the game. Just sooo smooth.
8. Albert Pujols
Say what you want about his underperformance in LA, this guy was flat out electric in his days with the Cardinals. Top 5 easily if he maintained his performance.
7. Barry Bonds
Say what you want about the cheater home run king, this man can flat out flip a bat.
6. Yoenis Cespedes
I’m sure everyone remembers the emphatic bat flip from the NLDS series against the Dodgers in 2015. Not much commentary needed on this one
5. Matt Adams
If Adams was a truly perennial slugger who didn’t play for the Cardinals, he might sneak higher up the list. But despite his fantastic bat flips and crowd engagement, Matt Adams is fairly irrelevant.
Fast forward to 0:50 on this second video…that’s ALL-TIME GREATNESS
4. Rickey Henderson
Although Rickey was known best for his speed, the guy had some serious swagger every time the ball left the yard. Kenny Lofton and Fred McGriff even once tried to impersonate the trot in an interview. Fast forward to 0:30 to see the sneaky good bat flip from the fastest man in MLB history.
3. Prince Fielder
The big man’s career may have been short lived, but boy was he fun to watch. Watching him both tomahawk balls out and hit them off his shoestrings was always a treat, especially in the same game. The best walk-off celebration of all-time may be a title for him to keep too.
2. Ken Griffey Jr.
Whether or not you believe Griffey’s follow-through and bat drop to constitute a bat flip, you cannot deny he has the smoothest finish of all time. The guy was just an absolute stud. From postseason debut homers with the Mariners in ’95 to his 500th career home run, the guy never missed a beat.
1. David Ortiz
In the final year of his prolific career, it is only fitting for Big Papi to take the crown. Yes, the timing didn’t hurt, but don’t try to tell me he isn’t deserving of the top spot after watching a few of these. My personal favorite is the spin move. Start at 1:25 for the spin move.