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Entries in home runs (14)

Saturday
Apr062013

Chris Davis is Making Earl Weaver Proud

Chris Davis is one pace to blast 162 homers and drive in 648 runs during the 2013 season. Okay, so the O's first baseman probably won't put Barry Bonds and Hack Wilson to shame this year. But he is off to an historic start, becoming just the fourth player ever to begin the season with a home run in each of his first four games (Willie Mays, Mark McGwire and Nelson Cruz are the others). Davis' eighth-inning grand slam against the Twins was especially fitting on a night when Baltimore honored the late Earl Weaver, who abhorred bunting and played for the big inning with sluggers like Boog Powell and Eddie Murray. Here's how Davis has made the Earl of Baltimore proud.

  • Davis has hit two homers apiece off right-handers (Roberto Hernandez and Jeremy Hellickson) and lefties (Jake McGee and Tyler Robertson). The lefty slugger was lousy against same-handed pitching early on during his big league career (he batted .236 and slugged .418 in 298 plate appearances against left-handers from 2008-11), but he's now batting .267 and slugging .533 in 126 PA versus lefties since the beginning of the 2012 season. The sample size is small, but he has significantly cut his miss rate against lefties from 2008-11 (35%) to 2012-present (26.5%).
  • Three of his four homers have come on pitches thrown on the outside corner of the plate, with Davis flicking two of them to the opposite field and pulling one to right. Davis has hit 15 homers on pitches thrown outside since the beginning of 2012, tying him with Edwin Encarnacion for third-most among MLB hitters.

Most HR on pitches thrown outside, 2012-Present

  • Two of Davis' homers have come on the first pitch. He has as many first-pitch homers from 2012-13 (nine) as former free-swinging teammate Josh Hamilton, and he ranks in the top ten among all MLB batters in first-pitch HR over that time frame.
  • Davis also has two home runs on soft stuff, driving a slider and a changeup over the fence. You might think that a hulking, high-strikeout slugger like Davis would struggle against breaking and off-speed pitches, but he actually has the second-most HR in the majors on curves, sliders and changeups since 2012.

Most HR on breaking and off-speed pitches, 2012-13

 

 

Friday
Sep282012

Breaking Down Bryce Harper's Homers

As the Nationals chase 100 wins, Bryce Harper has an outside shot of becoming baseball's all-time teenage home run champ. With 21 bombs, Harper has already passed the likes of Mickey Mantle (13 in 1951), Ken Griffey Jr. (16 in 1989) and Mel Ott (18 in 1928). Next up is Tony Conigliaro, who hit 24 homers back in 1964. How has Harper put himself one power surge away from Tony C.'s record? Here's a quick breakdown of Harper's homers.

  • The lefty-hitting Harper has gone deep 15 times against right-handed pitchers, and six times versus lefties.
  • He has done more damage on non-fastballs (12 home runs) than fastballs (nine). Harper has nine homers against fastballs/sinkers, four against changeups, three apiece versus sliders and cutters, and two on curveballs. Perhaps it shouldn't surprise us that Harper has more big flies against non-fastballs, considering that he has seen the second-lowest percentage of fastballs among all qualified MLB hitters:

Lowest fastball percentage seen among qualified hitters, 2012

BatterFastball Pct.
Pedro Alvarez 38.1%
Bryce Harper 38.3%
Cameron Maybin 38.5%
Alfonso Soriano 38.9%
Ike Davis 39.3%
Chris Johnson 40.2%
Justin Upton 40.5%
Josh Hamilton 40.6%
Dan Uggla 40.7%
Jesus Montero 40.9%

 

  • Harper hasn't had much use for the opposite field, as his homer spray chart shows:

 He has hit 12 HR to the pull side, six to center field and three to left field.

  • While Harper's pull power would lead you to believe that he hit most of his homers  against inside stuff, he actually has more taters on outside pitches (nine) than inside or middle offerings (six apiece).
  • Six of Harper's homers have come on the first pitch of an at-bat. The only NL hitters with more first-pitch home runs are Ike Davis (11), Jay Bruce (10), Carlos Beltran (10), Ryan Braun (nine), Adam LaRoche (eight) and Matt Holliday (seven).
Sunday
Aug192012

Dunn Demolishing Fastballs During Comeback Season

During the first season of his four-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox, Adam Dunn came dangerously close to failing to slug his own weight. The typical Three True Outcomes idol lost the power component entirely, hitting just 11 home runs and ranking dead last among batters with at least 450 plate appearances in slugging (.277). It was a shocking slide for the Big Donkey, who averaged 37 home runs and slugged .518 during his first nine years as a big league regular.

Dunn's power has returned with a vengeance in 2012, however. Dunn's slugging .494 and he leads the majors with 35 homers. His latest shot, a 434-foot drive off a Tim Collins fastball, made him a member of the 400 career HR club. It's fitting that Dunn's milestone came on a heater. While he couldn't turn on a fastball to save his life in 2011, Dunn is demolishing pitchers who challenge him this year.

Here's Dunn's fastball slugging percentage by pitch location last season, compared to the league average:

Dunn vs. fastballs, 2011

 

League average fastball slugging percentage

 

Unless pitchers threw one down the pike, Dunn didn't do much against fastballs. His .332 fastball slugging percentage in 2011 was nearly 80 points below the MLB average for non-pitchers (.406), and hit seven home runs. When he hit a fastball into the air, it was usually a can of corn: Dunn's average fly ball distance on fastballs was 259 feet, below the 264 foot average for non-pitchers.

Dunn's back to crushing fastballs in 2012, particularly those thrown on the outer half:

Dunn vs. fastballs, 2012

 

He has gone deep 23 times already against fastballs. And with a .620 slugging percentage against the heat, Dunn ranks in the top 15 among qualified hitters:

Highest slugging percentage vs. fastballs, 2012

BatterSlugging Pct.
Alfonso Soriano .745
David Ortiz .736
Andrew McCutchen .730
Jason Kubel .722
Miguel Cabrera .671
Adam LaRoche .662
Ryan Braun .651
Curtis Granderson .651
Paul Konerko .636
Billy Butler .636
David Wright .621
Adam Dunn .620
Austin Jackson .616
Nick Swisher .611
Mike Moustakas .602

 

His fly ball distance on fastballs has shot up to 298 feet, tied with Andrew McCutchen for sixth-highest among MLB batters. Suffice it to say, Dunn's not done slugging.