Changes in Home Run and Fly Distance from 2010 to 2011

Many players show a power increase in the form of higher HRs, SLG and ISO from one season to the next. Today, I am using MLB batted ball data to see which players showed an actual increase in home run and fly distances from 2010 to 2011. This data helps show if there was an underlying talent change from 2010 to 2011.

To get the values, I used batted ball data that MLB provides. It is the data seen on spray charts during games and on their website. The data is not perfect. It is not close to perfect. Right now, it is the best publicly available batted ball data.

If you want to look at the data for any player or over any time frame, you can goto:
http://www.baseballheatmaps.com/graph/
User: fangraphs
PW: Dave (capital D)
Click on: Angle and Distance of a Hitter’s Batted Balls
Enter in the player and parameters.

Using the data, I took the players with a total of 50 fly balls and home runs in each of 2010 and 2011. Then, I compared the differences. Here are the players with the biggest gains and losses from 2010 to 2011 (link to all the players).

Name 2010 Avg Distance 2011 Avg Distance Diff
Hudson Orlando 268 301 33
Napoli Mike 291 313 22
Stanton Michael 302 322 20
Wood Brandon 264 282 18
Sandoval Pablo 276 293 17
Santiago Ramon 251 265 14
Kendrick Howie 276 290 13
Cabrera Melky 263 276 13
Avila Alex 289 301 13
Werth Jayson 290 302 12
Howard Ryan 298 309 11
Hardy J.J. 277 288 11
Bourn Michael 268 278 10
Betancourt Yuniesky 269 278 9
Reyes Jose 260 268 8
Hart Corey 308 316 8
Willingham Josh 284 292 8
Martin Russell 280 288 7
Molina Yadier 280 287 7
Andrus Elvis 252 259 7
Ruiz Carlos 269 275 7
Wigginton Ty 293 300 7
Cabrera Asdrubal 273 280 6
Kinsler Ian 270 276 6
Pierre Juan 241 246 6
Renteria Edgar 270 275 6
Hamilton Josh 310 287 -23
Smoak Justin 304 280 -23
Sanchez Gaby 290 266 -24
Kelly Don 284 259 -25
Ramirez Hanley 302 277 -25
Fukudome Kosuke 296 271 -25
Rios Alex 285 260 -25
Morneau Justin 290 264 -26
Uribe Juan 295 270 -26
Rodriguez Alex 302 276 -26
Torres Andres 296 270 -27
Cedeno Ronny 293 266 -27
Crisp Coco 294 266 -27
Dunn Adam 315 286 -29
Iannetta Chris 303 274 -29
Zimmerman Ryan 309 280 -29
Byrd Marlon 296 267 -29
Rolen Scott 300 270 -30
Lowrie Jed 298 267 -32
Soto Geovany 318 283 -35

Here are my thoughts on some of the players.

Mike Stanton – A 21-year-old power stud in the making. He may be able to carry a team to the HR title. Did I mention he is 21?

Juan Pierre, Ramon Santiago and others – Just because a player increases their batted ball distances, it doesn’t mean they will actually see any meaningful power increase in their stats. They just don’t hit the ball far enough to matter.

Howie Kendrick – He saw a nice increase in power last season with 18 HRs vice 10 in 2010. Also, his ISO was up from 0.128 to 0.179. There seems to be some legitimacy behind his power uptick.

Jayson Werth – He was hitting the ball in 2011 further with worse results than the previous season. Can anyone say, “Park factors.”

Alex Rodriguez, Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman, Justin Morneau and others – The list of players showing a power loss is littered with hitters that played through some kind of injury in 2011. I am not sure which will rebound and by how much in 2012, but they are some great buy low candidates.

Hopefully the preceding data can be another tool in helping find some fantasy gems in 2012. Tomorrow, I will look at some players that changed their batted ball distance mid season.




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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.


4 Responses to “Changes in Home Run and Fly Distance from 2010 to 2011”

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  1. filihok says:

    RE: Werth
    I can also look at hitting 20 more groundballs and 20 less flyballs in 2011 than in 2010.

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  2. Buck says:

    Adam Dunn wasn’t plagued by injury, really, but had a minor appendectomy. I think this a very cool tool, though.

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  3. jim says:

    http://joetorresucks.blogspot.com/2013/01/top-25-gainers-and-losers-in-average.html

    I looked at this data for this year. Some interesting results.

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