An Outfield (Anti)Assist and Home Run Distances | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

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Even though not a lot has been going right for the Milwaukee Brewers this season. A lot has been going very right for Jonathan Lucroy lately. Saturday’s game against the Miami Marlins was no different. Lucroy went 4 for 4 with a double, home run, and two RBIs. But those who watched the game know that Lucroy cannot get full credit for his home run. Part of that home runs also belongs to Giancarlo Stanton, whose glove gave the ball that extra bit of encouragement. For Lucroy, the home run was lucky. For Stanton, it was an outfield (anti)assist.

Outfield assists are already a legitimate stat reserved for plays when outfielders gun down runners on the base paths. Carlos Gonzalez leads baseball with 10 this season. Ryan Braun and Norichika Aoki lead the Brewers with five. So, okay, maybe calling a home run that deflects off of, or is assisted over the fence by, an outfielder an “Outfield (Anti)Assist” might be a little too confusing. So, I propose we call it something a bit more memorable, like a Canseco — a cheeky name fit for the funny and rare play it represents.


After watching Stanton “Canseco” Lucroy’s hit into Miller Park’s ATI Club in right field, I wondered if anyone kept track of such plays. A few Google searches later the closest I found was something described as a list of players with “Lucky Homers”. This site, Home Run Tracker, describes “Lucky Homers” as — “A home run that would not have cleared the fence if it has been struck on a 70-degree, calm day”. The site lists Lucroy’s blast on Saturday as a “Lucky Homer” and plots it accordingly. I love how Stanton’s “Canseco” is represented by the blue dot just before the green.

Listed as traveling 350 ft, Home Run Tracker also tracks other interesting home runs stats. The “Speed Off Bat” on Lucroy’s home run is listed at 94.9 MPH. The ball’s “Apex”, or highest point of the ball while in flight, was 80 ft. And, my personal favorite stat, Lucroy’s hit would have been a home run in a total of ten MLB parks.

After discovering this wealth of home run information, I abandoned my quest to find if anyone was keeping track of the “Canseco” stat. Instead, while the Brewers and Marlins battled through 13 innings on Sunday, I built a spreadsheet to help sort through the information on all 94 of the Brewers’ home runs that have occurred this season — prior to Caleb Gindl’s walk-off home run on Sunday.

The wealth of Brewers’ home run knowledge from Home Run Tracker can be found here. The site does a great job compiling some of the data to fit their areas of interest. For example, home run distances are listed in “True Distance”, which was used during the Home Run Derby. “True Distance” is how far the ball would have traveled if it flew uninterrupted back to field level. By this metric, Jonathan Lucroy has three out of the five longest home runs hit by a Brewers player this year.

Here are how the stats around the Brewers five longest bombs compare —

Hitter Pitcher Ballpark True Distance Speed Off Bat Apex # Parks
Jonathan Lucroy Wade Miley Chase Field 445 107.9 93 30
Jonathan Lucroy Paul Maholm Miller Park 436 105.6 83 26
Juan Francisco Zack Wheeler Miller Park 433 105.5 94 29
Rickie Weeks Wandy Rodriguez PNC Park 430 108.1 86 30
Jonathan Lucroy Mike Adams Citizens Bank 429 104.4 96 28

Here are how the five shortest home runs stack up —

Hitter Pitcher Ballpark True Distance Speed Off Bat Apex # Parks
Juan Francisco Homer Bailey GABP 338 96.5 128 13
Jonathan Lucroy Nathan Eovaldi Miller Park 350 94.9 80 10
Juan Francisco Edwin Jackson Miller Park 353 105.8 168 11
Ryan Braun Trevor Rosenthal Busch Stadium 355 97.4 83 28
Ryan Braun Jorge De La Rosa Miller Park 358 97.4 75 19

Look at the drop in “Speed Off Bat” between the longest and shortest home runs. Also, notice the increase in “Apex” on Juan Francisco’s shortest home runs. These are balls he is hitting a mile high that arc down just past the fence or, in the case of his shortest home run, just off the foul pole. This is the definition of muscling one out of the park.

Lucroy’s shortest home run, the one Stanton “Cansecoed”, is above. It’s interesting to note the “Horizontal Angle” of Ryan Braun’s two shortest blasts. “Horizontal Angle” refers to what part of the field the ball was hit — 90 degrees is straight center, 45 degrees is down the right field line, and 135 degrees follows the left field line. Both of Braun’s shortest home runs were tucked down the right field line. His home run against Trevor Rosenthal, “True Distance” 355 ft, landed at 55.9 degrees, and his blast against Jorge De La Rosa, 358 ft, landed at 64.1 degrees. The “Apex” on both these balls, 83 and 75, also indicate that they were not hit very high. Just hard enough, both had a “Speed Off Bat” at 97.4 MPH, to be lined into the right field bleachers. This is another way to muscle the ball out of the park.

Because Braun’s shortest blast came on line drives, which are less affected by the wind, they are both listed as going out of a majority of MLB ballparks. While Francisco’s moonshots would be much less likely to leave most parks. According to Home Run Tracker, “# Parks” is described as this —

This value indicates the number of MLB ballparks, out of 30, in which the ball in question would have been a home run, if the ball had been struck in weather conditions of 70 degrees and no wind. Really long home runs could achieve a value of 30, while a particularly weak home run could achieve a value as low as zero if it only made it over the fence in the park in which it was struck due to “help” from wind and/or temperature. The average value for “# Parks” in 2011 was about 23.

By this standard, 32 of the Brewers’ 94 home runs (34%) are considered out of all 30 parks. Here are the five Brewers’ home runs that were luckiest to find the seats —

Hitter Pitcher Ballpark True Distance Speed Off Bat Apex # Parks
Yuniesky Betancourt Ryan Vogelsong Miller Park 390 106.5 54 1
Jean Segura Kyle Kendrick Miller Park 396 107.6 55 2
Jean Segura Vin Mazzaro Miller Park 388 97.7 88 2
Carlos Gomez Jonathan Pettibone Miller Park 389 105.9 58 4
Yuniesky Betancourt Justin Grimm Miller Park 385 101.0 68 4

Not surprisingly all of them occurred at Miller Park. The low “Apex” for most of these shots explains why they are on this list. These ball were hit on a line and had “Just Enough” to clear Miller Park’s fence. In most other ballparks, these balls would have ended up off the wall or, maybe, as outs.

Home Run Tracker also places all home runs into one of three categories “No Doubt”, “Just Enough”, and “Plenty”. “No Doubt” home runs clear the fence by at least 20 vertical feet and landed 50 ft past the fence. “Just Enough” home runs clear the fence by less than 10 ft OR land within “one fence height past the fence”. “Plenty” refers to everything else.

This season, Edwin Encarnacion has hit ten “No Doubt” home runs and Pedro Alvarez nine. Seven Brewers have hit a “No Doubt” home run — Weeks, Francisco, Segura, Aoki, Braun, Betancourt, and Gomez — but none of them have hit more than one.

When it comes to home runs that are “Just Enough”, Carlos Gonzalez has hit eleven wall scrapers so far this year. Miguel Cabrera has ten. Jean Segura leads the Brewers, and is tied for third in all of baseball with Chris Davis and Domonic Brown, for having nine “Just Enough” home runs. Five of Yuniesky Betancourt’s nine home runs fall into the “Just Enough” category. Out of all the Brewers, who have more than one home run on the season, only two hitters have hit their home runs hard enough for all of them to land in the “No Doubt” or “Plenty” category. Those two players are Norichika Aoki and Logan Schafer. Combined, Aoki and Schafer have only hit six home runs. But when they get a hold of one, they get all of it.

Hitter Pitcher Ballpark True Distance Speed Off Bat Apex # Parks
Norichika Aoki Mat Latos GABP 392 104.5 73 30
Norichika Aoki Wandy Rodriguez Miller Park 408 105.6 80 30
Norichika Aoki George Kontos Miller Park 378 98.8 99 28
Norichika Aoki Jhoulys Chacin Miller Park 360 96.7 114 16
Logan Schafer Ian Kennedy Chase Field 387 101.7 101 30
Logan Schafer Tony Cingrani Miller Park 427 103.7 91 25

Above, Aoki’s line drive blast off Mat Latos is considered a “No Doubt” home run. All of the other home runs fall into the “Plenty” category.

Home Run Tracker has so much interesting information that I have only begun to unlock its glories. While the site lists details on every home run for every player for this season, and going back through 2006, it doesn’t average out the stats for every player. So I put my spreadsheet to work and figured out the home run averages for every Brewers hitter that has bashed more than one.

Here are the results —

Hitter # HR Ave. True Distance Ave. Speed Off Bat Ave. Apex Ave. # Parks
Carlos Gomez 15 400 104.9 79.1 24.5
Jonathan Lucroy 14 402.2 102.2 93.8 22.7
Jean Segura 11 395 102.6 80 17.6
Rickie Weeks 10 402.3 103.9 84.7 24.5
Ryan Braun 9 388.4 101.9 79.7 24.1
Yuniesky Betancourt 9 387.4 102.3 78.4 19.1
Juan Francisco 7 389.6 104.4 98.9 22.1
Aramis Ramirez 5 385 101.4 81.8 17.2
Norichika Aoki 4 384.5 101.4 91.5 26
Martin Maldonado 3 393 101.6 98 19.7
Yovani Gallardo 2 384 98.65 92.5 5.5
Logan Schafer 2 407 102.7 96 27.5

According to Home Run Tracker, the average “True Distance” in the majors is 396.8 ft. The average “Speed Off Bat” sits at 103.4 MPH.

While my quest to uncover if the “Cansesco” stat exists where derailed, I happened upon a ton of cool home run information at Home Run Tracker. To be honest, this was probably time better spent.

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