I thought it was pretty likely that this increase in home runs is almost certainly linked to the warm weather. To check this out, shouldn’t we take the temperature at all the games, compare it to the usual temperature at games in April, and then use the rate at which temperature affects HR’s to see how much of the increase is due to temperature?
Do we not have good datasets for those things? They should all be out there somewhere.
Could this have anything to do with the fact that fences have been moved in at Citi Field (a loooot of homers hit there so far this year), and also at Safeco? And the fact that only one game has been played at Petco, and two at the Marlin’s park?
This rise in HR rate is all well and good, but personally I’m more fascinated by that aggresive increase in K%. When’s the last time the league K rate was over 20% for a full season?! I mean that’s really high.
Another question about the K’s that I’ve never seen discussed: Who will become the first pitcher to strikeout 21 batters in a game? Obviously no one knows, but it would seem like something that would not be unexpected.
Conspiracy of Silence? No mention made of Joey Votto, who has not homered since June 24, 2012. That’s a span of 49 games and counting. Last year when Pujols had his April drought, it seemed to be all I read about. Double standard?
Comment by Carl Karcher — April 10, 2013 @ 5:47 pm
The Axford Effect.
Comment by Dandy Salderson — April 10, 2013 @ 5:48 pm
Votto has a 134 wRC+ this week, and a 146 wRC+ in the second half of last year. Pujols wasn’t just not hitting dingers last April, he was slashing an ugly .217/.265/.304
Mariners opened on the road, so only two games have been played at Safeco (though, granted, one was last night’s slugfest… and at least three of the Astros’ home runs would’ve been warning track catches or maybe doubles with the old dimensions). The fences were moved in at Citi Field in the ’11-’12 offseason, not this past winter; perhaps you’re thinking of PetCo — but again, the Padres opened on the road and as of this morning have only played one game in their new park.
Serious question: what do these numbers look like with the Rogers Centre (and maybe one or two others) removed from the equation?
The first six days of the season, that stadium was a bandbox like I’ve never seen. Balls that typically would have fallen harmlessly into a glove were instead carrying over the wall – and the ones that would have left, left with authority. Five of the six longest HRs this season! 23 dingers in six games!
So, yeah. Might this just be a result of outlier stadiums?
If April = coldest month and there is a correlation with dingers, it shouldn’t be too hard to compare how cold this year has been compared to other years. Batters getting their timing down may be another factor and this year had a longer spring training.
Votto isn’t one of the biggest names in baseball, he didn’t just sign an enormous contract, and he didn’t just debut that new contract in the largest media-celebrity market in the country. Pujols is a huge name and a Latin player moving to one of the largest Latino demographics in the US; Votto is a quiet Canadian playing in a small non-Canadian city. He didn’t elicit much commentary even when he was leading his league in HRs and MVP votes, and he plays in a flyover city that for all its baseball history most Americans know mostly for chili and a Loni Anderson sitcom. When was the last time anything of national note happened in Cincinnati? (Mapplethorpe maybe?) The situations aren’t remotely comparable, so the coverage isn’t either.
What has caught my attention the most in this early season is the number of games won by huge margins, 10 runs or more and even 15 or more. I could see this as either a cause (the bottom of both bullpens being scraped) or effect of the high HR numbers.