The early word from Hit Tracker

Hit Tracker Online is once again documenting every home run this year, including each homer’s “true” distance, speed off the bat and other cool stats. Greg has already got an early impression of this year’s ball, per an e-mail he sent me yesterday:

My very first impression of 2009 is that the baseball is hot, as in more lively than last year. The first 40 or so homers I have analyzed have been averaging about 7 extra feet of standard distance (i.e. with the weather factored out), and the likelihood of that resulting from chance is about 5%, comparing it to the full set of 2008 homers using a 2-sample T-test. Now, more data may change that number, and of course given a 5% chance, the ball still could be the same as last year, but my antennae are twitching, and I wanted to record my early impression.

I followed up with Greg to get a little more info this morning, and here’s what he added:

I ran another 2-sample T-test last night, with data for 82 of the first 91 homers from this year (missing some so far due to video issues), and the p-value is down to 0.014, or in other words, the likelihood of this effect being real is getting bigger. Some of the individual homers I’ve seen have been remarkable, too: Brandon Inge 458 feet with the roof closed in Toronto; Randy Winn 426 feet to RCF in San Francisco with only a couple feet of help from the weather; Nelson Cruz 446 feet to the second level in LF in Arlington; Austin Kearns well into the upper deck in LF in Miami. That’s a lot of long homers from some atypical names in just three days of games…

Now, everyone should just stay calm. It is way too early in the year to come to any conclusions about anything such as the ball, WBC or the drug-enhanced physique of certain players. Seriously. Stay calm. Greg will be reporting back. In the meantime, make Hit Tracker a regular part of your morning baseball routine.

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