Posted Under: Stat of the Week
When baseball fans think of home runs, they recall images of the Sultan of Swat, Big Mac, Mr. October, Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, the list goes on and on. Something you might not consider when you turn your head and watch the ball sail out of the ballpark is that approximately 11-12% of flyballs hit to the outfield every year are home runs (Hard Ball Times). This statistic is often measured as a pitcher or hitter’s Home Run to Flyball Ratio (HR/FB) and these numbers are affected by the ballpark a player hits or pitches in (O.co Coliseum will yield fewer homeruns than the bandbox known as Yankee Stadium or Coors Field).
FanGraphs outlined the scale of HR/FB ratio for batters, with 20% being an outstanding season, while some hitters have posted awful ratios at 1%. A player’s HR/FB ratio can be explanatory as if their HR/FB ratio is high and they hit more home runs in a season than their career average, it can be expected that their home run total the next year will regress to the mean. A decrease in a player’s home run totals in a single season could be the result of an unfavorable HR/FB ratio or a decrease in a player’s slugging power that comes with age.
A website worth visiting is Hit Tracker Online, which has recently been licensed to ESPN’s Stats & Information Division, and is now called ESPN Home Run Tracker. This website tracks every home run within a season and defines three types of home runs, No doubters, Just Enoughs, and Plenties (Plenties are those home runs that are between monster shots and home runs that squeak over the outfield wall). Other interesting aspects of the site is their breakdown of some of the longest home runs in history, including the Mickey Mantle home run that hit one hundred feet up the façade of the Old Yankee Stadium, and calculations of which ballparks have the highest home runs/game average since 2006.
So when your team’s pitcher gives up a home run this week, or worse, back-to-back home runs, rest assured that they are not due to give up a home run for at least the rest of the game, unless of course that pitcher’s name is Dave Bush. Check back Thursday when I will do some player analysis of different player’s home runs totals and how Curtis Granderson and Jose Bautista altered their hitting mechanics on their new teams to become home run threats.