FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. Utley’s hip injury probably had more to do with his drop off in HRs than the derby.

    Comment by Ryan — July 13, 2009 @ 10:52 pm

  2. As I mentioned on my blog, none of the announcers tonight could figure that out (that HR derby participants are chosen because they got lucky in the first half), as they were droning about how most derby players hit fewer HR in the second half. To their credit, someone said that they doubted there was any cause-effect relationship or some such thing.

    R.J., if you want to present data to the general public, who likely don’t understand regression toward the mean and concept that all the players in the derby likely got lucky in the first half, simply every player in the derby with a player with similar HR totals in the first half who was not in the derby. You will likely find (given a large enough sample size) almost the exact same HR rate in the second half between the control and experimental groups. As I said, this is a nice way to explain this concept, or at least illustrate it, to the layperson or casual fan (or TV commentator I guess).

    Joe Morgan actually – and I kid you not – said this:

    “All players get tired in the second half. That is why very few players hit more HRs in the second half.”

    Check out the % of players who hit more HR in the first or second half. What do you think it would be? Morgan says “very few” players hit more HR in the second half of the season and he should know as he has played and commentated for 40 years or so…

    Comment by MGL — July 14, 2009 @ 12:03 am

  3. This sentence:

    “R.J., if you want to present data to the general public, who likely don’t understand regression toward the mean and concept that all the players in the derby likely got lucky in the first half, simply every player in the derby with a player with similar HR totals in the first half who was not in the derby.”

    Should read, of course:

    “R.J., if you want to present data and concepts like this to the general public, who likely don’t understand regression toward the mean and the concept that all the players in the derby likely got lucky in the first half, simply match every player in the derby with a player with similar HR totals in the first half who was not in the derby.”

    Comment by MGL — July 14, 2009 @ 12:04 am

  4. I’m surprised no one has mentioned that the second “half” typically has approx. 10% fewer games than the first “half.”

    Comment by Yakker — July 14, 2009 @ 12:16 pm

  5. I guess I hear the rumors differently; I’ve heard some say that a player’s hitting in general can suffer in the second half (not necessarily power numbers). My counter argument is that a lot of these guys try to bomb home runs in BP, so I don’t see why this would be much different.

    Comment by Ben — July 14, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

  6. “All players get tired in the second half. That is why very few players hit more HRs in the second half.”

    I guess Joe doesn’t include pitchers in the category of all players.

    Comment by Davidceisen — July 14, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

  7. Seriously, as I was reading these comments I was waiting for someone to make that utterly obvious comment. They SHOULD hit slightly fewer homers, they play slightly fewer GAMES in the second half!

    Comment by Tonio — July 14, 2009 @ 4:17 pm

  8. Agreed, I mean apparently Ichiro has been known to go nutso sometimes and go for homers during the occasional batting practice. This doesn’t seem to effect his ability to hit at all despite the fact that he’s not a HR-hitter.

    Comment by Tonio — July 14, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

  9. I don’t know the numbers, but everyone in Toronto believes it helped tank Alex Rios.

    Comment by brent — July 14, 2009 @ 7:52 pm

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