One of my favorite baseball sites out there is Hit Tracker Online. Over at Hit Tracker, they use crazy technology stuff to measure the distances of home runs. They also account for variables such as altitude and wind, and give us interesting information such as speed off the bat.
Corey Hart’s home runs have been a bit of a mystery for Brewers fans. He’s always had decent power, as this looks to be his third 20 home run season barring an injury or a ridiculous bout with ineffectiveness for the next four months. His career ISO of .207 is well above the major league average, but this season he has a Pujolsian .333 ISO, mostly thanks to a 22% HR/FB rate. That doesn’t seem too out of whack – his 2007 season had a 20% rate – but it’s likely that some of his line drives (12%) are being misclassified as fly balls (50%), which would lower his FB rate and as a result increase his HR/FB rate.
It’s not uncommon for a player to carry a uncharacteristically high HR/FB rate because they’re getting lucky on some fly balls turning in to home runs – see Scott Rolen. Let’s take a look at Corey Hart’s homers.
Unlike AL HR leader Jose Bautista, who has been killing the ball but only to the pull field, Hart has shown some power to center – his mammoth blast against the Twins – and to right.
HitTracker has four labels for home runs which are pretty intuitive. They are “No Doubt,” “Plenty,” “Just Enough,” and “Lucky.” Hart’s breakdown is one No Doubt (the Target Field shot), eight Plenties, three Just Enoughs, and one Just Enough/Lucky. This doesn’t suggest a ridiculous amount of luck, but to me, it also doesn’t suggest one of the best power hitters in the league either.
Corey Hart is just hitting the cover off the ball right now. Can it continue? My prediction would be a slight drop off for the rest of the year. That said, there’s over 100 games left, and if Hart remains healthy, he does have a very good chance at 30 home runs this season, which certainly seemed like a long shot after only hitting 12 last season.