Sometimes, Camden Depot expands the rosters beyond Nick Faleris and Jon Shepherd. This enables our audience to speak directly outside of the comment box as well as shine a light on other Orioles writers. This article is from Danny Black.
Was Earl Weaver correct about the 3 Run HR?
By Danny Black
Note: This piece was completed before the release of Mike Fast’s Baseball Prospectus article “Spinning Yarn” which examines the hit and run.
Earl Weaver often talked about his preference for the 3 run home run. In his book “Weaver on Strategy”, Chapter Two is titled “The Offense, Praised Be the Three-Run Homer!” Weaver talks about his approach to offense, hitting, and his love of 3R Homers. The question I wanted to examine is weather or not there is a correlation between 3R Homers and wins. The Orioles have not won more than 69 games over the last 5 years. I have chosen this time period to look at the success (or lack thereof) of the 3R HR.
The following list shows the total number of 3R HR hit by The Orioles and their ML rank:
Year 3R HR HIT ML RK WINS
2007 21 12t 69
2008 17 15t 68
2009 19 10t 64
2010 9 29t 66
2011 21 9 69
On its surface it would appear that there is no direct correlation to 3R HR totals and total wins. The Orioles went from 29th in the Majors in 3R HRs in 2010 to 9th in the majors in 3R HRs in 2011 but only won 3 additional games. Also, in 2008 The Orioles went from middle of the league to 2009 when they were in the top 10 in 3R HRs. The result was 4 fewer wins with the additional HRs. So is it time to cancel the bronze statue for Earl? Not necessarily. If hitting 3R HRs is good, giving them up must be bad, right Earl?
Below is the same chart as above but showing 3R HR allowed:
Year 3R HR ALLOWED ML RK WINS
2007 23 9t 69
2008 25 2 68
2009 26 2T 64
2010 31 1 66
2011 27 2 69
Finally a category The Orioles are in the top of the league: 3R HR allowed! This chart is fascinating. Consistently in the top 10 in HR against, there is a correlation between those numbers and Orioles wins. Over the 5 year period of 2007-2011 The Orioles have a net of -47 in 3R HRs while never once hitting more than they allowed. For comparison, The Yankees have a net of +29 and The Red Sox have a net of +28 over the same time frame.
Is Earl vindicated? Maybe. Clearly hitting 3R HRs alone does not guarantee success, but avoiding them avoiding them certainly helps.