Akil Baddoo Makes an Impression & the Best Bat Flips of Week 1

Bat flips are back in a big way in 2021.

We. Are. BACK. America’s pastime is once again back in full swing, and we’re already through our first week of games. The players returned with a bang out of spring training, and we’ve already been treated to some truly unbelievable performances. There’s already been multiple historic rookie debuts, a handful of intense walk-offs, and history made in front of our eyes as Shohei Ohtani became the first pitcher to bat second in the lineup in more than a century. Oh, and the first home run of the season was hit in a snowstorm. It’s been a busy week.

Of course, with the return of baseball chaos comes the return of earth-shaking bat flips (and drops!). In just seven days there have been some crazy flips that could wind up among the best of 2021. Once again, we will be embarking on a journey to catalog and rank the best bat flips around the league each week, with the end goal of determining the absolute best home run celebration of the season.

As a refresher, these rankings are fairly subjective, but each bat flip is graded on various criteria like distance, rotation, attitude, altitude, and style. While these rankings are of course 100% right and are basically law, I don’t expect you to agree with the list exactly each week, so feel free to voice your opinions on where I went wrong in the comments and on Twitter each week as you follow along.

Alright, enough from me. Let’s get to the Best Bat Flips of MLB’s first opening week. Enjoy!


8. Akil Baddoo vs. Aaron Civale



4/4/2021 — CLE @ DET

372ft, 103.7 mph, 29° launch angle

Last week, Akil Baddoo made headlines as he enjoyed one of the most ridiculous starts to a major league career since Trevor Story hit home runs in each of his first four MLB games in 2016. For those of you that caught last week’s breakdown of the Best Bat Flips of Spring Training, you might recognize Baddoo from his filthy bat drop at the expense of Domingo Germán. He changes things up here for his debut, when he homered against the very first pitch he saw. He instead goes with a simple, yet elegant flip out of his hand, and keeps his arm outstretched above his head for emphasis as he trots down the line. Baddoo didn’t stop there, either. He cracked a grand slam the next day, and then had the game-winning hit in the game against the Twins the day after that.

Style: 7

Rotation: 180°

Beginner’s Luck? Doubtful


7. Byron Buxton vs. José Cisnero



4/6/2021 — MIN @ DET

451ft, 114.1 mph, 38° launch angle

Please stay healthy. Please stay healthy. Byron Buxton has once again reeled us into his incredible promise as an elite outfielder by getting off to a scalding start in his first week back. He’s already sporting a 1.143 OPS in the (very) young season, with three home runs in his first 16 PAs. And just look at this hack, how can you not want to buy into that? He absolutely clobbered this pitch, and took his time to watch it land in the seats. He had plenty of it, after all, having sent that pitch to orbit.

Style: 7

Rotation: 360°

Post-post-post Hype: 10


6. Joc Pederson vs. Devin Williams



4/7/2021 — MIL @ CHC

417ft, 107.5 mph, 37° launch angle

JocPops are back on the menu in 2021, though they’re now being served at Wrigley Field rather than Chavez Ravine. Not only that, but this one came at the expense of relief ace Devin Williams, who receives the dubious honor of becoming the first high-profile pitcher to wind up on the Best Bat Flip list this season. Joc was (as always) fired up at the blast, so much so that he does this double-pump thing with his arms that has the unintended side effect of making him look a little like a T-Rex here. The energy is fantastic though, as is the dismissive bat drop Joc does when he realizes he got all of it.

Style: 7.5

Drop: 7

Joctober: Here early.


5. Giancarlo Stanton vs. Shawn Armstrong



4/5/2021 — BAL @ NYY

471ft, 115.1 mph, 25° launch angle

Even the typically low-key Giancarlo Stanton got in on the fun last week, after this missile of a grand slam that seemed like it was going to break the sound barrier with a 115.5 mph exit velocity. Stanton even looked impressed at his work, and lingered for a few seconds in the box to gaze upon the destruction he had wrought. For punctuation, he then spun the bat away with a disdainful flick of his wrists. Enjoy the ride, because Stanton is a can’t miss at-bat when he’s locked in.

Style: 8

Rotation: 340° flat spin

New York: Still bashing.


4. Yerm‏ín Mercedes vs. Brad Keller



4/8/2021 — KCR @ CWS

485ft, 113.3 mph, 24° launch angle

Going into the season, if you asked a White Sox fan who their best player was going to be by the end of the year, they’d probably have answered Tim Anderson, or Luis Robert, or Lucas Giolito. Very few would likely volunteer Yerm‏ín Mercedes, the magnetic rookie that has become the South Side’s new baseball deity seemingly overnight. After a historic start to his career when he recorded hits in his first eight at-bats, Mercedes drove a ball into the stratosphere Thursday against Royals starter Brad Keller. Mercedes spoke to the media before the home opener about how he was excited to finally get to play in front of the home crowd, saying “I want to see the Yermín fans, the Yermínator fans.” So there you have it. Not only can Mercedes crush baseballs into a fine pulp, but he also has a dope nickname befitting someone of his talents. With those two things on his side, how can he not become baseball’s next superstar?

Style: 8.5

Rotation: 720°

The Ball: Yermínated. Hasta la vista, baby.


3. Jared Walsh vs. Matt Foster



4/4/2021 — CWS @ LAA

395ft, 103.3 mph, 26° launch angle

Jared Walsh hit a clutch walk-off home run in a hard-fought victory on Sunday Night Baseball, with a spicy bat drop and strut, and it still may not have been the most exciting home run hit that night. That is just a testament to the ridiculous display of both offensive and pitching talent his teammate Shohei Ohtani put on that evening, with this crushed home run in his first at-bat out of the #2 spot as a pitcher. After a back-and-forth game, Ohtani would later look to Walsh to save the night for Orange County, when the first baseman came to the plate against Matt Foster with two on in the bottom of the ninth. With a 3-1 count, Walsh took a high and away fastball to the opposite field to send everyone home, before setting out on one of the nastiest struts out of the box I’ve ever seen. After seeing the ball go out, he just drops his bat at his feet and lets his body go a little limp as he walks towards the dugout. It’s like a swashbuckling saunter, and Walsh walks away as if he was insulted by the pitch he just sent beyond the wall.

Style: 8.5

Drop: 9

Swagger: Off the charts


2. Nick Castellanos vs. Sam Howard



4/5/2021 — PIT @ CIN

431ft, 108.9 mph, 27° launch angle

Nick Castellanos has been on a tear to kick off the 2021 season. With four home runs in six games and a 317 wRC+ (love those early-season stats!) Castellanos has been the most valuable player to start the year. And while each of his home runs thus far has been impressive, none were quite as breathtaking as this absolute bomb he hit off of Sam Howard and the Pirates. Nick was pretty amped up too, as he sent his bat helicoptering away before yelling out to his teammates in the Cincinnati dugout. It’s like a higher-energy version of Giancarlo Stanton’s bat flip against the Orioles earlier in the week, and is the second-best bat flip of week 1.

Style: 9

Rotation: 1080°

Making it through this without a ‘4-0’ lead joke: Just barely.


1. Jeff McNeil vs. Anthony Bass



4/8/2021 — MIA @ NYM

408ft, 104.7 mph, 32º launch angle

Wow. The new-look Mets are out to cause chaos this season, with Jeff McNeil leading the charge in week 1 with this monster bat toss against Anthony Bass to tie the game against the Marlins in the ninth yesterday. McNeil knew it was gone off of his bat, and just chucked his bat as far as he could offscreen in celebration. Seriously, I looked at pretty much every available angle of this bat flip, and couldn’t find a single one where his bat flip could be contained by the camera frame. It is an absolutely electric moment to start the campaign, and is already a super-early contender for bat flip of the year. That said, I think my favorite part of the celebration is the split second where it appears the bat flip tumbles a little further than McNeil anticipated, and he does a couple of anxious hop-steps before seeing it land safely away from bystanders. If this is where we are starting, we are in for a legendary season.

Style: 9.5

Rotation: ???

Anthony Bass: Floundered


That just about wraps up an explosive first week of baseball across the league. It sure is good to be back. Be sure to vote on your favorites from this week, and to check back in again next week (and every week this season) for the best bat flips from around MLB.

See you next time!


Best Bat Flip Vote Week 1


Photo by Dustin Ian D’Andrea/Flickr | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Noah Scott

Noah Scott is a long-suffering baseball writer and knuckleball connoisseur. If you want to talk old timey baseball names, traffic on the 405, or lukewarm hip-hop opinions you can find him on Twitter @noahascott6

One response to “Akil Baddoo Makes an Impression & the Best Bat Flips of Week 1”

  1. HarryLime says:

    In the Jeff McNeil vs. Anthony Bass video at 16.69 sec . What’s the deal with the coach that stepped up on him.
    facial expression just changed so quickly and drastically.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login