Home Runs Have Been A Problem | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Home runs have plagued the Brewers’ pitching staff this year. Their home run rate of 1.38 HR/9 is the highest in the National League and second-worst in all of baseball behind only the Houston Astros. It’s clearly one of the main reasons the pitching staff has a collective 4.60 ERA and ranks 27th in Major League Baseball.

One of the driving factors of a high home run rate is usually a low ground ball rate. After all, if pitchers cannot consistently keep batted balls on the ground, they should have a higher propensity to surrender a greater number of home runs. Thus, the St. Louis Cardinals — who have the highest ground ball percentage in baseball — own the second-lowest home run rate.

That only makes sense.

The Brewers, on the other hand, find themselves with an abnormally high home run rate and a middling ground ball rate. Their 43.5% ground ball percentage ranks 19th in the league, and while that’s certainly below-average, it still places them in the middle third and isn’t a huge red flag for the pitching staff as a whole. Then, why are opposing teams launching pitch after pitch out of the park against Brewers pitchers?

Perhaps the biggest factor appears to be Miller Park. Thus far in the 2013 season, Miller Park is far-and-away the most homer-friendly ballpark in Major League Baseball.

Rank Park Name HR Factor
1 Miller Park 2.207
2 Rangers Ballpark 1.872
3 Great American Ball Park 1.506
4 Rogers Centre 1.423
5 Minute Maid Park 1.375
6 Busch Stadium 1.279
7 Citizens Bank Park 1.220
8 Comerica Park 1.193
9 Progressive Field 1.154
10 U.S. Cellular Field 1.108

This isn’t an uncommon occurrence, either. Miller Park also had the highest home-run factor (1.631) last year and hasn’t been outside the top-11 ballparks since the 2008 season. Most Brewers fans have long known that Miller Park can be a launching pad, at times, but it was surprising to see how homer-friendly the ballpark has been over the last couple years.

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Comments

Tell us what do you think.

  1. Bob says: May 7, 2013

    Does HR factor take into account the quality/type of hitters who generally play there?

    Take 2012, for example. The Brewers were the #4 HR hitting team. They hit 119 at home (compared to 111 for their opponents) and 83 on the road (compared to 58 for their opponents). Even their lower away game HR rate would put them as a league average HR hitting team. Does the focus on power hitters (Braun, Ramirez, Hart, Weeks, Gomez all have 20+ HR potential) in the Brewers lineup inflate Miller Park’s HR rating, as compared to a team without that same focus? Say, Minute Maid Park and the Astros (no 20+ HR hitters last season).

    • Chris says: May 7, 2013

      I was wondering if the high HR rate at MP could also be due to the highly flammable pitching staff the Brewers have? Perhaps it is a chicken/egg thing.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: May 7, 2013

      HR factor stats usually either (a) take the home/road splits for all teams involved, or (b) neutralize the statistics against the league environment. This means that the types of hitters on a ballclub — or the types of pitchers, for that matter — do not influence the actual split. At its most basic, its simply an expression of how much more (or less) frequently everyone homers in a specific park.

  2. 新作 ジャケット says: January 9, 2014

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