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|
|3||Great American Ball Park||1.506|
|5||Minute Maid Park||1.375|
|7||Citizens Bank Park||1.220|
|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.