Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.
Greatest Home-Runs Seasons Relative to League
After his home run this weekend at Yankee Stadium, Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis now has 33 for the season. With over half the season complete, it would appear as though Davis has a slight probability of surpassing the 61-home-run threshold set by Roger Maris in 1961 and an almost non-extant probability of reaching Barry Bonds‘ record of 73, set in 2001.
With regard to Davis, however, it’s entirely possible that some readers will credit his accomplishments more subtantially than Bonds’ — or Mark McGwire‘s or Sammy Sosa‘s, etc. — because Davis’ powerful first half has occurred during an era in which Major League Baseball is testing for certain performance-enhancing drugs. While the author has absolutely no intention of examining to what degree PEDs do or don’t actually enhance performance, concerns about PEDs do reveal an actually interesting point — namely, the degree to which certain eras have signature (some higher, some lower) home-run rates. Indeed, it might be best were we to celebrate those players not with the highest absolute home-run totals, but those with the best home-run rates relative to their peers.
With a view to examining which players have produced the most impressive home-run seasons relative to their peers, the author has first identified the league-average home-run rates (home runs per at-bat, and not plate appearance, for reasons that are mentioned below) for every season since 1876. The author has then divided every qualified player’s seasonal home-run rates (since 1876, as well) by the relevant league-average rate for that year. The result is an index stat, HR+, which measure home-run rate relative to league average, where a higher figure is better.
A pair of tables below contain the relevant results.
Table: Greatest Home-Runs Seasons Relative to League (Since 1876)
By the methodology described above, here are the greatest home-run seasons relative to league since the beginning of major-league baseball:
Table: Greatest Home-Runs Seasons Relative to League (Since 1961)
By the methodology described above, here are the greatest home-run seasons relative to league — in this case, since the start of the expansion era:
• While Babe Ruth is famous in every land as one of the sport’s great power hitters, 19th century outfielder Charley Jones is famous in almost none of them (i.e. the lands) — and yet, in 1879, Jones was responsible for over 15% of the 58 home runs hit in the National League. He played for the Boston Red Caps in that city’s South End Grounds — although, five of his home runs were hit in away parks, so the influence of home park factor is likely minimal.
• Mark McGwire and Mike Schmidt both appear twice on the expansion-era leaderboard. Of note regarding Schmidt’s 1981 figures: those came during a strike-shortened season during which only 108 games were played.
• Chris Davis has produced a 357 HR+ this season so far, the 36th-best mark since 1961.
• It should be noted that this methodology accounts zero percent for park factors. Home-run rate relative to overall league has been the author’s only concern — mostly because of how much easier it is to calculate.
• The author has chosen at-bats and not plate appearances as the denominator for home-run rate because employing the latter would actually penalize those batters (like Bonds, for example) who were so terrifically powerful that opposing pitchers refused to throw them strikes.
Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Minnesota at Tampa Bay | 19:10 ET
Samuel Deduno (49.1 IP, 102 xFIP-, 0.7) faces Roberto Hernandez (96.1 IP, 87 xFIP-, 0.5 WAR). The Rays are currently about a standard deviation above league average both by park-adjusted offensive production relative to league average and park-adjusted home-run rate. Meanwhile, the club’s payroll is a full standard deviation below league average.
Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Tampa Bay Radio.
Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 5.5.
Note: the following table is entirely sortable.
|Max Scherzer||DET||10||7||8||8||6||CLE||Scott Kazmir||19:05|
|Jeremy Guthrie||KC||1||6||3||3||4||NYA||Phil Hughes||19:05|
|Bartolo Colon||OAK||4||6||4||7||3||PIT||Jeff Locke||19:05|
|Derek Holland||TEX||9||4||6||9||3||BAL||Scott Feldman||19:05|
|Dan Haren||WAS||6||2||4||1||4||PHI||John Lannan||19:05|
|Mike Minor||ATL||8||8||6||1||5||MIA||Kevin Slowey||19:10|
|Samuel Deduno||MIN||3||3||5||10||7||TB||Rob. Hernandez||19:10|
|Matt Garza||CHN||4||4||4||1||6||CHA||Hector Santiago||20:10|
|Homer Bailey||CIN||10||3||7||4||5||MIL||Kyle Lohse||20:10|
|Zack Greinke||LAN||3||2||5||2||10||AZ||Randall Delgado||21:40|
|Jon Lester||BOS||5||8||7||5||10||SEA||Felix Hernandez||22:10|
|Tyler Chatwood||COL||6||8||5||7||3||SD||Edinson Volquez||22:10|
|Matt Harvey||NYN||10||7||8||6||7||SF||Tim Lincecum||22:15|
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