MLB  > General MLB  > My problem with the homerun and sabermetrics
November 29, 2013, 03:51 PM
I may be the only person that feels this way, but despite the fact that the homerun guarantees a run, I find them incredibly overrated by fans. Here's my reason: on average a major league hitter hits a homerun once every 33 at bats. So that comes out to be about once every 8 games or about 20 homeruns in a season. My point is even though they have the biggest payoff of any other hit, they don't necessarily contribute as often compared to every other hit. A hitter week can have a 7 game stretch consisting of going 12 for 32 in his at bats with 8 RBIS and no homeruns before he finally hits 2 grand slams in his 33rd and 34th at bat respectively in the same game before going into a 0 for 15 slump. So let's just say this was what a hitter did in 34 at bats for 8 games:
Game 1: 3-4 2 2B, 1 1B and 2 RBIS 3 LOB
Game 2: 1-4 1B, 1BB, and 1 RBI 4 LOB
Game 3: 2-5 2B, 1BB and 1 RBI 3 LOB
Game 4: 0-4 2 BB and 1 RBI 2 LOB
Game 5: 1-5 1B and 0 BB and 0 RBI 2 LOB
Game 6: 2-5 1 2B and 1 3B 0 BB 0 RBI 1 LOB
Game 7: 3-5 3 2B and 0 BB 3 RBIS and 0 LOB

Now in game 8 of his 33rd and 34th at bat: 2-5 2GS 0 BBS and 2 LOB

Just looking at this we can see that even though the 2 grand slams provide a greater payoff in terms of the number of runs it produced, it doesn't provide as much of an impact in the larger scheme of things if we are talking about a 9 or 10 game stretch. So yes the payoff to the homerun is the greater number of runs created, but not necessarily in the quantity of games it creates runs.

I mean I could make an argument right now I would rather take a hitter who has many 10-30 stretches with no homeruns over a hitter who has many 4-20 stretches with 4 homeruns especially when those homeruns are more likely be few and far between.

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not advocating homeruns are not important. They have value, because they ensure a run. I'm just simply stating they are overrated by the fans and that fans should be at least willing to hear from fans who complain a team is being reliant too much on the homerun in the postseason. That's why when a good homerun hitter struggles in the postseason it doesn't come as much of a surprise me given that he is facing 2 obstacles. The first being he is facing better pitching and that on average he is only expected to hit a homerun once every 33 at bats. A homerun hitter without the homerun is a guaranteed failure in a short sample size. So it's obviously much tougher to get on a hot streak if a hitter is only hell bent on hitting the homerun and never willing to accept taking a 2 run single the other way or hitting it where it's pitched. Sure a homerun hitter can get hot hitting the homerun in the postseason, but more often than not he will fail with that mind set because the law of averages say he is more likely to fail living with that mind set. Homeruns are great for the greatest possible outcome, but they don't happen as often for each player for fans to warrant the hype that they give them.

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