The 2016 Detroit Tigers were a flawed team. They were among the worst clubs in baseball at playing defense and running the bases this season, and their pitching left much to be desired at times throughout the year.
But man, could they hit some home runs. Their total of 211 dingers ranked eighth in Major League Baseball, and was the franchise’s highest total since 1999. They fell two Nick Castellanos home runs short of becoming the second team in franchise history with six 20-homer players in a single year.
Chief among the Tigers’ dinger monsters was Miguel Cabrera, who led the team with 38 bombs. He and Justin Upton (31 home runs) flashed the most raw power, but Ian Kinsler, Victor Martinez, and J.D. Martinez also crossed the 20-homer plateau. Add in Castellanos, James McCann, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and the Tigers had eight players with double-digit home runs. That total tied them for third in the AL, behind the Minnesota Twins (huh?), and the Seattle Mariners.
Before we get to a somewhat anti-climactic list, here are a few other categories worth a mention. All data is from Statcast, which somehow only recorded 206 of the Tigers’ 211 homers this season (per Baseball Savant).
Hardest-hit homer: Justin Upton (video)
Date: October 1 | Exit velocity: 114.35 mph | Opponent: Atlanta Braves
At the time, this homer seemed like it would open the floodgates and help the Tigers get back into a game they desperately needed to win. The end of the game didn’t finish as we would have liked, but Upton’s dinger is a must-watch.
Softest-hit homer: Cameron Maybin (video)
Date: July 6 | Exit velocity: 87.26 mph | Opponent: Cleveland Indians
Make fun of Maybin’s “soft” homer if you want, but it helped the Tigers clinch their first win of the season over the Tribe.
Highest homer: Victor Martinez (video)
Date: August 14 | Launch angle: 43.6 degrees | Opponent: Texas Rangers
This homer also makes an appearance below, but Victor’s moonshot gave the Tigers an early lead over the Rangers and helped them clinch a big series win on the road.
Lowest homer: Miguel Cabrera (video)
Date: May 15 | Launch angle: 15.82 degrees | Opponent: Baltimore Orioles
This line drive homer wasn’t only the lowest of the season for the Tigers, it was one of the most important. Cabrera’s solo shot off Baltimore’s Darren O’Day gave the Tigers a 6-5 lead in their series finale against the Orioles, and helped them avoid a series sweep.
Longest homer (non-Miggy and J-Up division): Steven Moya (video)
Date: June 19 | Distance: 441 feet | Opponent: Kansas City Royals
To no one’s surprise, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Upton hit a lot of long home runs this year. In fact, those two combined to hit the Tigers’ 10 longest homers this season. Moya was the only other Tiger to cross the 440-foot mark, and it came on the first homer of his major league career.
Shortest homer: Victor Martinez (video)
Date: August 14 | Distance: 325 feet | Opponent: Texas Rangers
This may have been a glorified pop-up in some stadiums, but some crafty stadium design in Arlington helped Victor Martinez notch the Tigers’ shortest homer of the season. V-Mart should be proud of this wall-scraper, though; it helped open the scoring in a big 7-0 win over Texas.
5. Justin Upton
Date: September 22 | Distance: 453 feet | Opponent: Minnesota Twins
Upton hit a lot of long home runs this season, but his longest of the year helped spark a late-inning deluge of runs in the first game of an important doubleheader sweep over the Twins. This was one of three 450-foot bombs Upton hit on the year.
t-3. Miguel Cabrera
Date: June 20 | Distance: 454 feet | Opponent: Seattle Mariners
This is going to get repetitive quickly, as Cabrera hit the Tigers’ four longest homers of the year. Of course, watching Miggy crush baseballs never gets old for us. This homer seemed like the longest one of the year considering it left Comerica Park, but Statcast pegged it at “just” 454 feet.
t-3. Miguel Cabrera
Date: September 2 | Distance: 454 feet | Opponent: Kansas City Royals
Goodness, he hit this one over the fountain at Kauffman Stadium!
2. Miguel Cabrera
Date: June 29 | Distance: 459 feet | Opponent: Miami Marlins
Miggy might have something against the statues out in left-center field at Comerica Park, because he tried to hit several of them with baseballs this season. Maybe he’s trying to clear space for his own?
1. Miguel Cabrera
Date: May 14 | Distance: 462 feet | Opponent: Baltimore Orioles
I feel bad for this baseball.
(h/t to South Side Sox, who we totally stole this idea from)