During his two seasons as a Brewer, it's possible Norichika Aoki surprised us the most with his power. He clubbed ten home runs as a rookie in 2012, and eight more in 2013. Today Brew Crew Blasts takes a break from chronicling the season's longest homers to remember some of Aoki's most notable shots.
The first one
Aoki was just starting to show flashes of his potential when the Brewers opened a series against the Rockies on April 20. The inside-the-park home run he hit off Jhoulys Chacin that day was only his fourth MLB hit, and his first for extra bases. Here's the highlight:
Aoki is one of just 18 players in franchise history to hit an inside-the-park homer.
Aoki's first homer was pretty dramatic, but he topped it a few weeks later with his second and third. On June 7 against the Cubs he broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with the first out-of-the-park homer of his career, and six innings later he ended the game with a walkoff shot against Casey Coleman in the tenth.
You can see the highlights from both homers here:
Later in 2012 Aoki had established himself as the Brewers' leadoff hitter, a role he held through all of 2013. On September 19 of 2012 he became just the 24th batter in franchise history to lead off a game with a homer, taking Pirates starter Kyle McPherson deep to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead. Here's that highlight:
Aoki's final home run as a Brewer was also a leadoff shot, against Carlos Torres and the Mets on September 27.
The longest one
Aoki came to camp in 2013 having bulked up a bit, inspiring some talk that his power numbers could actually improve in his second MLB season. That wasn't the case overall, but he did hit the ball a little further: This 408-foot blast against Wandy Rodriguez on April 29 was his longest as a big leaguer:
That was also the back half of back-to-back home runs with Yovani Gallardo. Clearly, Aoki inspires all of us to do great things.