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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Were Dunn's HR-rates depressed in 2006?

Very interesting post today by Greg Rybarczyk, also the operator of HitTracker.com, at The Hardball Times about home runs. Here's an excerpt (JE = a "Just Enough" home run barely clearing the wall, PL = a "Plenty" home run [essential "normal"], and ND = a "No Doubt" home run):
When we examine the 2006 season data (which is available here), we find that the MLB average breakout of home runs by type was 27% JE, 55% PL and 18% ND. For hitters with above average power, the ratio shifts to 25%/55%/20%, and for the elite sluggers, the ratio becomes 23%/54%/23%, as “No Doubt” homers make up a larger fraction of their output.
He then goes on to look at which players deviated from those ratios. Three Reds players came up as being rather low last year in terms of their Just Enough home run output, indicating that they may have "unluckily" missed out on a fair number of not-quite-enough homers: Adam Dunn (5%/55%/40), Edwin Encarnacion (7%/67%/27%), and Dave Ross (10%/62%/29%).

I've written before about Adam Dunn's apparent bad luck last year, and this might give us some clue as to what specifically may have gone wrong. I'm excited to see Encarnacion on that list, as I think he's poised to have a great season. Ross is also intriguing--I'm almost certain that he'll decline a bit this year, but these data indicate that it's possible that he may have had more power last year than he showed--and what he showed was already ridiculous.

Other News

  • Yesterday, this blog received the most hits it ever in one day by a considerable margin. This was due to be continued incoming traffic from David Pinto and TangoTiger's kind links to my zone rating article, as well as numerous bloggers who linked to my reflections on opening day as they recapping coverage of that game. Thanks to everyone who came by, and I want to especially thank those who linked to me. It is always very much appreciated.
  • Curt Schilling has a blog. It actually makes for a pretty good read now and then. For example, after his most recent pummeling by Kansas City, he posted a very interesting recap of what it was like to struggle like that on the mound. It's really cool to get a glimpse into the thought processes of a major league pitcher:
    Grud worked the count to 3-1, laying off the first change at 1-1, and a FB down and away ended up middle in for a hard single to left. Had Teahan down quick and left a split up for another single 1-2 (I think). First pitch slider to Sweeney didn’t slide, bad miss. Next slider was better and he stayed on it and hit it hard to right to load the bases. Gordon worked a 7 pitch AB, and chased a good split down for out #2. A lengthy AB from Shealy, saw me go to the split 3-2 which he took for ball 4 to walk in a run. I can’t remember if I ever done that? Made a lot of mistakes inside this one AB and it ended up costing us.Overthrowing some balls when I had a chance to end the AB earlier and missing spots too badly to even get him to offer.
    • It's easy to get frustrated with pitchers now and then when they're struggling on the mound, but what I love about this post is that it shows how aware they are of what's happening--and how frustrated they can get too.
  • I wanted to applaud the Cincinnati Reds for trying to make Opening Day "Green" by purchasing carbon offsets. Of course, what would have been really amazing is if they purchased enough offsets to account for the 42,000+ fans that drove down to the ballpark for the game. But it's still impressive and a great symbolic demonstration of what we need to do with our planet moving forward.
  • Looks like both DirectTV and the cable companies will allow be showing MLB Extra Innings this year. I have to say, on first blush, this looks like an amazing bit of negotiating by MLB. I don't subscribe to Extra Innings myself, but making these games available to more people is always a great thing for the sport.
Photo credit: AP/Al Behrman, on 4/2/07