Monday, July 10, 2017

Home Run Derby

The 2017 Home Run Derby is about to get underway as I type this, and just for fun I thought I'd look at the 2017 leaders in homeruns per batted ball, measured by the $HR component, the formula for which is

HR / (PA - BB - SO - HBP).

I would argue that this metric, rather than raw homeruns or homeruns per total plate appearances, is the best measure of a player's true homerun power, because it takes walks and strikeouts out of the equation and only counts instances where the batter made contact.

Here are the top 10 batters for the 2017 season so far (min. 275 PA):

1Aaron JudgeNYY36630611094.156
2Joey GalloTEX29121391124.154
3Cody BellingerLAD2922533850.144
4Eric ThamesMIL3292351894.124
5Khris DavisOAK36824431172.117
6Miguel SanoMIN34521441200.116
7Logan MorrisonTBR3462450782.111
8Mike NapoliTEX2831824924.110
9Giancarlo StantonMIA3692639884.109
10Yonder AlonsoOAK2982039691.106

Going by $HR, it looks like Joey Gallo and Khris Davis should have joined Aaron Judge and Miguel Sano in this year's Derby. On the NL side, Eric Thames would have been a more logical choice than Charlie Blackmon.

Here are the active career leaders (min. 3000 PA):

1Giancarlo Stanton3797234441106533.104
2Chris Davis4427255441140446.101
3Ryan Howard6531382709184359.097
4Mark Reynolds5607270638173252.085
5Mike Napoli5128256625139766.084
6Nelson Cruz5526301463123840.080
7Pedro Alvarez316015329690611.079
8Mike Trout376418451382652.078
9Jose Bautista6540322934120271.074
10Mark Trumbo380419226293413.074

Only two players in the top 10, Giancarlo Stanton and Mark Reynolds, currently play for an NL squad. The next two players in career $HR currently playing in the NL are Jay Bruce (.071) and Bryce Harper (.069).

And here are the all-time career leaders (min. 3000 PA and 200 HR):

1Mark McGwire76605831317159675.125
2Giancarlo Stanton3797234441106533.104
3Jim Thome103136121747254869.103
4Adam Dunn83284621317237986.102
5Chris Davis4427255441140446.101
6Babe Ruth106237142062133043.099
7Ryan Howard6531382709184359.097
8Sammy Sosa9896609929230659.092
9Rob Deer4513230575140932.092
10Barry Bonds1260676225581539106.091

And finally, here are the career leaders for each generation (min. 3000 PA):

Generation Player            $HR
National   Harry Stovey      .021
American   Bill Joyce        .024
Deadball   Ken Williams      .041
Ruthian    Babe Ruth         .099
G.I.       Ralph Kiner       .083
Silent     Harmon Killebrew  .088
Boom       Rob Deer          .092
Gen X      Mark McGwire      .125
Millennial Giancarlo Stanton .104

A homerun rate of 10% of batted balls used to be impossible; Babe Ruth finished his career with what looked to be the maximum human limit of 9.9%. But now six players in the last two generations have topped the 10% threshold for their careers (including Russell Branyan, who missed my career leaders table because he hit less than 200 homeruns, but who homered at an astounding .105 $HR rate, second only to McGwire).

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