Jose Bautista may have hit the greatest number of home runs in 2011, and Prince Fielder may have hit the single longest dinger, but there’s another way of measuring home run “wow factor”—distance consistency.
Or to be more specific, among the biggest power threats in baseball, who had the longest home run distance average? One giant blast over the fence is impressive, but there’s just so much entertainment value in watching a slugger crank out home runs into the third deck on a regular basis. To find out, I grabbed some data from the invaluable Hit Tracker Online and averaged out the home run distances of the top 15 home run hitters last year.
Your distance champion? Not Bautista, Fielder, or even Pujols, but Mike Stanton of the Marlins, who averaged 417 feet in his 34 home runs on the year.
|Player||HRs||Avg Distance (ft)|
But why not go a bit further? Hit Tracker Online calculates a whole lot more than just distance, so I plotted the average home run flight path trajectory for each player and overlaid them all together, with the longest and shortest home runs in 2011 for reference. Click to enlarge.
It’s important to note that this isn’t a proxy for batted ball speed. The bottom two in the table are both Yankees, due in part to the short home runs that sneak over the fence in Yankee Stadium’s right field porch. Those short home runs will drag their distance average down, so it’s not a very good measure of quality of contact. What it is, though, is a fun measurement of being able to break a windshield in the parking lot.
References & Resources
Hit Tracker Online. Every few months I’ll spend hours thumbing through it, and then wonder why I don’t do it more often.