On Tuesday I wrote about the five unluckiest outs the Yankees made throughout the 2022 season. Although this season did not end too fortunately for New York as a whole, that doesn’t change the nature of the sport they play. The Yanks, much like every other team, had some favorable moments when it came to luck as well. The idea of Yankee Stadium being a “little league park” came up a lot this year, and although that may or may not play a role in the upcoming list, luck-aided hits are just a part of the game. Perhaps even a fun one.
For this list, I narrowed it down to just extra-base hits, to avoid it being entirely taken up by weak infield hits. And I used the same system of sorting by expected batting average, but in ascending order on XBH this time. So, with that in mind, here are the five luckiest hits from the 2022 season.
5. Aaron Judge, May 25th
Exit Velocity: 85.8
One issue with expected batting average is that it doesn’t take spray angle (lateral) into account, just exit velocity and launch angle. So, this exact swing by Judge might actually often fall for a hit considering it’s right down the line. But still, it was just an 85 mph looping liner that was hit about 300 feet. Nothing worth much recognition, but 2022 Aaron Judge could do no wrong, and found some luck with this swing.
4. Gleyber Torres, July 8th
Exit Velocity: 90.5
Unsurprisingly, Fenway Park is fertile land for low xBA hits. If you look up any outlier parameter for home runs (e.g. highest, shortest), they are almost always at Fenway thanks to the green monster in left and the pesky pole in right. This was not a particularly hard hit ball from Torres, but it was enough to make it to the 310 foot monster, and secure a relatively lucky two-base knock.
3. Jose Trevino, July 7th
Exit Velocity: 82.7
Ah, the ol’ 77 degree launch angle double, a classic. This is a fun one, and realistically probably shouldn’t even be a hit, let alone an RBI double. Infield pop-ups are basically the next-worst thing a hitter can do after striking out, but in a stroke of good luck, Trevino drove in an insurance run with one.
2. Joey Gallo, July 8th
Exit Velocity: 95.0
After Gallo lamentably took the top spot in this year’s unluckiest outs list, it’s good to see that he found some good fortune at some point too, and it’s easy to see why this made the list. This is may be the most entertaining entry on this list, a towering fly-ball, a visibly panicked outfielder, and an eventual play at the plate. This had to have been a sickening feeling for Christian Arroyo in right, and luckily for him, Gallo was denied trying for the inside-the-parker. Interestingly, this is the third hit in these top five that took place in the same July series against the Red Sox.
1. Anthony Rizzo, April 26th
Exit Velocity: 99.0
Anthony Rizzo takes the top spot on this more favorable list, hitting a home run with an xBA that does not look like a real number. I like to think it’s fitting this list concludes with the most egregious of short porch homers, as the ball hit the top of the wall a few inches above the infamous 314 foot marker. This was the third and final home run of the game for Rizzo against the Orioles, and it was probably the luckiest hit the Yankees got all season.