28 December 2011

Expanded Roster: Was Earl Weaver correct about the 3 Run HR?

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting article! While impossible to statistically track, the emotional impact of giving up so many 3R homers most likely contributes to the "losing" mentality that has plagued the O's the last several years.