NEW YORK -- Not all ground-ball RBI singles through the hole at shortstop are alike. They may all count the same on the stat sheet, but the sound was very different when Giancarlo Stanton swatted a ball into the outfield in Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Nationals.
When it comes to pure might mashing a baseball, Stanton struck again in the first inning at Nationals Park. His run-scoring single to left was tracked by Statcast™ at a blazing 120.1 mph, making it the highest exit velocity reading of the young season.
"That was one of the hardest balls I've ever seen hit," said Marlins third-base coach Lenny Harris, who played 18 years in the big leagues. "I didn't even move, and as soon as I looked up, it was in left field already. It was really [a] pistol."
The blistered grounder also ranks second of any baseball Statcast™ has tracked over the past two seasons. Not surprisingly, Stanton also holds the all-time mark of 120.3 mph, which came on a single off Mike Bolsinger of the Dodgers on May 12, 2015.
Making Sunday's accomplishment even more amazing is that it came on an 83.6-mph offering by Joe Ross, instead of off a fastball, which would help generate exit velocity.
After the hit, Harris recalls Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon being in amazement.
"Rendon said, 'I'm glad it wasn't at me.' I said, 'He does hit some balls hard. You better be careful on balls hit over here,'" Harris said. "I told him, 'He's hit some of the hardest balls I've ever seen. Why do you think I'm staying so deep?'"
With his hit on Sunday, Stanton surpassed Houston's Carlos Correa for the hardest-hit baseball of 2016. On April 8, Correa struck one with an exit velocity of 118.2 mph against Milwaukee's Chase Anderson.
Stanton's immense power has Harris regularly telling fans located near third base to be careful.
"Always, I'm like, 'Hey, be careful over here,' especially when I see kids and stuff," Harris said. "Especially at our ballpark, I want them to be aware. A lot of kids are level down there. He really hits some balls hard, and I pray he doesn't hook some down there in the stands down there. He really hits the ball harder than anyone in the game."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.