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On the Theory That Not All Home Runs Are Created Equally ...
2006-04-11 09:27
by Jon Weisman

Dodger Home Runs Allowed, 2006
HR#GameDateOpp.BatterPitcherInn.OutsCountRunnersScore BeforeFinalHarm
114/3vs. Atl.LaRocheLowe111-22nd-3rdAtl 1, L.A. 0Atl 11, L.A. 103
214/3vs. Atl.A. JonesLowe510-01st-2ndAtl. 5, L.A. 1Atl 11, L.A. 104
314/3vs. Atl.LangerhansOsoria800-0noneAtl. 10, L.A. 5Atl 11, L.A. 102
424/4vs. Atl.McCannPenny213-2noneL.A. 4, Atl 1L.A. 5, Atl. 42
524/4vs. Atl.LaRocheSeo821-02ndL.A. 5, Atl. 2L.A. 5, Atl. 43
634/5vs. Atl.BetemitPerez321-02ndL.A. 5, Atl. 3Atl. 9, L.A. 83
744/7at Phi.BurrellTomko403-1noneL.A. 5, Phi. 0L.A. 5, Phi. 31
844/7at Phi.FasanoTomko411-11stL.A. 5, Phi. 1L.A. 5, Phi. 32
964/9at Phi.AbreuHamulack923-21st-2ndL.A. 3, Phi 3Phi. 6, L.A. 35

I haven't figured out what exactly to do with this chart yet; it's definitely a work in progress. But somehow I want to get somewhere with the final column: a rating of how important the home run allowed was, taking into account all aspects of the situation.

Right now, I'm rating the home runs subjectively on a harm scale of 1-5. For example, the game-winning home run by Bobby Abreu on Sunday gets a 5, while the bases-empty home run allowed by Brett Tomko with a five-run lead gets a 1. But you can see how quickly this gets complicated when you look at the homer allowed by Franquelis Osoria on Opening Day. At the time, it appeared meaningless, turning a five-run deficit in the eighth into six runs, but it proved to be the margin of defeat. Right now, I'm leaning toward keeping it mostly meaningless, since Osoria really had no reason not to challenge the batter. But I'm sure I'll tinker with my logic as time passes.

I hope to return to this and see if I can come up with a less subjective tool for evaluating home run damage. We also might see if there's a typical count or typical situation the Dodgers become vulnerable to the long ball. I don't know that I'll be able to keep this up for a whole month, let alone a whole season, but it's worth a shot.

Here's the chart for Dodger home runs on offense. Despite two homers Monday, it's still shorter.

Dodger Home Runs, 2006
HR#GameDateOpp.BatterPitcherInn.OutsCountRunnersScore BeforeFinalHarm
124/4vs. Atl.DrewSmoltz112-11stL.A. 2, Atl. 0L.A. 5, Atl. 43
264/9at Phi.NavarroMadson203-2noneL.A. 2., Phi. 0Phi. 6, L.A. 33
374/10at Pit.RepkoDuke100-21stL.A. 0, Pit 0.L.A. 7, Pit. 33
474/10at Pit.SaenzDuke510-01stL.A. 5, Pit. 0L.A. 7, Pit. 32

2006-04-11 09:37:00
1.   Blu2
I guess the previous thread is kaput, so I'll post this here:

For the Aybar Marching & Chowder Society:

2006-04-11 09:37:44
2.   Blu2
I guess the previous thread is kaput, so I'll post this here:

For the Aybar Marching & Chowder Society:

2006-04-11 09:41:58
3.   FoulTerritory
Perhaps you could use something similar to the Leverage statistic developed over at BP. If that alone doesn't satisfy, you could find a way to combine Leverage with the final score in order to try to capture the value of the Osoria homer.
2006-04-11 09:43:53
4.   CharlieBrown

Are you trying to get at how bad the homers were in the sense of 'gee, why didn't he pitch more carefully in THAT situaton' (ie as more of a measure of pitcher decision making) or in the sense of 'wow, that really sunk the team' like the walk off homer in Philly.

I guess I ask because what if you came in with the bases loaded and a tie game and the count 1-0 on the batter. And it was the bottom of the ninth. You have to throw strikes, since in that situation the walk is as bad as a grand slam--but would a homer there be a 5 on the harm scale? The pitcher did what he could, but of course the homer ended the game. Just curious.

2006-04-11 09:44:42
5.   ryneestabrook
The subjective Harm rating seems to be very closely related to the concept of leverage Baseball Prospectus has mentioned in it's last two annuals. If you want a less subjective harm rating, you would need probabilities of either team winning before and after the home run. Then you could either subtract pre-HR P(W) from post-HR P(W), or construct an odds ratio.
2006-04-11 09:49:46
6.   Jon Weisman
4 - In response to your first paragraph, the latter. How harmful the home run was. Although the two options you give are related.

In response to your second paragraph, I would give a 5. Ultimately, though a walk is as bad as a homer there, the pitcher still has to get the out. It's probably true I'd rather see a pitcher give up a grand slam in that situation, though sometimes you get the out by throwing a pitch that, if not swung at, might be a ball.

Anyway, you can see it can get complicated. But basically, I'm just trying to look at how harmful the Dodger home runs have been this year. If they end up allowing 162 homers this year, how much will they have mattered?

2006-04-11 09:51:22
7.   Jon Weisman
3, 5 - Keep in mind that I have to keep this in the realm of what's doable on my time and with my mental capacity.

Is BP doing that stat during the season? I didn't see it on the site.

2006-04-11 10:07:28
8.   Johnson
7 It wouldn't be too hard to use the suggestion in 5. Probabilities of winning given score differential, inning, and base/out states are tabulated in The Book by Tango et al., which you've advertised here. As a first pass, it wouldn't be too taxing. Looks as if the tables you've constructed have enough info to do it, but I don't have the book (The Book?) in front of me.
2006-04-11 10:09:05
9.   D4P
This may not be helpful, but I wonder if it would improve your subjective rating if you were to factor in the quality of the hitter who hit the HR. For example, one could argue that giving up a HR to a "good" hitter is better than giving up a HR to a "bad" hitter, in that, once a good hitter has hit a HR, the average production of the remaining hitters will be less than in the situation where a bad hitter has hit a homerun.

In other words, it seems reasonable to hypothesize that the number of runs you will give up on average will probably be higher when you give up a HR to a bad hitter than when you give up a HR to a good hitter.

2006-04-11 10:56:53
10.   King of the Hobos
Using tangotiger's win expectancy chart available on his website, the Dodgers had a .482 win expectancy with Abreu up at the plate. They had a .000 win expectancy after, thus a difference of .482, which is quite large and warrants a harm rating of 5 (or 4.82). This seems like it would be quite easy to calculate, if the tables are given, and The Book claims to have a win expectancy table (Table 10)

2006-04-11 10:58:44
11.   Steve
There is David Wright, and there is everyone else. There is also Manny Acta trying to run the Mets out of a big inning.
2006-04-11 11:00:40
12.   adamclyde
if we make the assumption that the metrics are currently accurate and usable, your current graphs suggest that at least the dodgers are getting about the same efficiency from their home runs as their opponents (Dodger HR: 2.75 v. HR allowed: 2.77). It will be interesting to see how this changes in the coming months when the sample size grows.

It's just too bad we've hit less than half as many as we've given up...

2006-04-11 11:00:42
13.   Jon Weisman
10 et al - I have "The Book" at home. So before I update the chart, I'll take a look at it.
2006-04-11 11:08:05
14.   adamclyde
9 factoring in the quality of the hitter shouldn't affect the harm done to the game though, should it? a pitcher's 1-run home run can be just as damaging as the #4 batters, right? So while factoring in the quality of the hitter could be a predictor for how a certain pitcher gives up home runs to certain hitter profiles, it wouldn't be relevant for the question of how much harm it was to the game, right? [this whole discussion is a bit out of my mental range, though, so forgive me if I'm totally off base!]
2006-04-11 11:40:22
15.   Jacob L
I think, if your going to do this Jon, you need ignore the rabbit-hole that is the Osoria Corrollary. That is, only judge the homer by the apparent damage at the time it was hit, not based on the eventual outcome of the game. You're trying to tell how well, or how poorly, the pitcher handled the situation at hand, right?
2006-04-11 11:46:20
16.   Jon Weisman
I'm trying to determine how harmful the home run was at a given moment. I'm not really trying to get into how a pitcher "handled" the situation. Osoria's HR really wasn't that harmful - and certainly, you can't say it was more harmful than the ones Lowe allowed, even though those came earlier in the game.

If Osoria had allowed his HR in the eighth inning of a 10-10 tie, I might up it to a subjective rating of 3. Then again, it's only one run with two innings to go for the Dodgers - it's still not a huge deal.

2006-04-11 11:56:38
17.   King of the Hobos
Bronson Arroyo has hit his second homer of the season

Arroyo: 2-2, 2 HRs, BB
Pena: 1-3, 2B, 2 Ks

2006-04-11 12:10:26
18.   Bob Timmermann
Bronson Arroyo's major league debut was as a pinch hitter for the Pirates.
2006-04-11 12:21:24
19.   King of the Hobos
The Reds have homered once every inning off Grendon Rusch, although they have just been solo homers. Arroyo has one of them, Dunn has two, and Griffey the other. As for Arroyo's homer, he must have felt bad for Rusch, as Rusch immediately doubled in the bottom of the inning, one of the Cubs' two hits
2006-04-11 12:36:39
20.   bhsportsguy
Is it more damaging to the pitcher to give up a run on a first pitch homer or to give up a walk, have to deal with a base runner, another hit, maybe a scoring fly ball but have to pitch with men on base and the potential to give up more runs.

An interesting observation during the first week is that the Dodgers are among the leaders in combined doubles and triples (no one comes close to the 4 triples so far). Historically (and may be in part to Dodger Stadium), the Dodgers hit the fewest doubles and triples in the league. They compensated that by being among the leaders in home runs.

2006-04-11 12:45:36
21.   blue22
20 - Ah, the ol' "homeruns as rally killers" argument.

And I've never known the Dodgers to be amongst the leaders in homeruns. Maybe relative to their standings in doubles and triples...

2006-04-11 12:50:18
22.   D4P
Is leading the league in triples a good thing...?

2006-04-11 13:24:05
23.   scareduck
One of these months I need to take off a month and write some code, one of which would calculate all the state changes. As King of the Hobos mentions in post 10, this is exactly the kind of work that is being done elsewhere by guys like Tangotiger and the authors of Baseball Prospectus. What would be fun is to hitch a parser to the play-by-play output available from ESPN (but not, strangely enough, from, but so what) and generate these kinds of graphs automaticall. Lookout Landing, an excellent blog covering the Mariners, does a win expectancy graph for every game; here's a sample:

I would like to do the same for the Angels and Dodgers and automate the whole thing, as I have for the Minor League Scorebook posts. One of these days.

2006-04-11 13:24:42
24.   scareduck
23 - that would be "... generate these kinds of graphs automatically."
2006-04-11 13:31:11
25.   T Money
Just got back from Vegas, where I saw two 51s games. The first was against the the Giants' triple-a team, from Fresno. The 51s handled them easily, and Aybar just teed off on a succession of weak Fresno pitchers. Guzman was at first base, and he looked bored to be there. (Of course, he also crushed a home run.)

Last night's game was against the Angels' triple-a franchise, from Salt Lake City. They were considerably tougher, as Kevin Gregg opened the game, and seemed to overpower the 51s for four innings. Meanwhile, the 51s' pitcher, Eric Stults, generally kept the SLC team off-balance. Never overpowering them, but hitting his spots and making the pitches he needed to make. It all fell apart when the 51s brought pitcher Harold Eckert into the game, who proceeded to give up six runs in 2/3 of an inning (including three MASSIVE home runs). Evidently, the 51s came back to win the game, but I'd left before the ninth. I was, after all, in Vegas.

2006-04-11 13:33:09
26.   scareduck
25 - actually it was three innings:

And yeah, a hell of a game. Should be a great series.

Fresno doesn't have much in the way of talent from what I remember.

2006-04-11 13:50:11
27.   Penarol1916
26. I can't understand why people aren't more excited about this series on minor league sites. I mean these have to be among the two most talent stacked clubs in the minors.
2006-04-11 14:00:52
28.   underdog
25 Thanks for the recap!

26 What's great is that Fresno is the Giants AAA affiliate, so it's all the sweeter. Their farm system is fairly weak at this point, with one of their top pitching prospects already in the majors (Cain) and only a few other players anywhere near ready.

27 You mean Vegas... and who? Not Fresno - they can't be all that talent-stacked...

2006-04-11 14:07:01
29.   Penarol1916
28. No, Salt Lake, the series scareduck was talking about that should be a great series. They've got Morales, E. Aybar, Kendrick, Weaver, Napoli, I'd say it's the only minor league club that comes close to Vegas in terms of minor league talent.
2006-04-11 14:08:26
30.   underdog
Ahhh... yeah, Salt Lake. Definitely. The Angels' farm system is at least as good as the Dodgers' in general. Cool, thanks.

I wonder if Jered W will turn out to be more consistent than his brother...

2006-04-11 14:22:11
31.   fawnkyj
IS jered pitching for salt lake in this series?
2006-04-11 14:23:47
32.   Steve
Kevin Towers says his team this year has the same chemistry as the 1998 team, though nobody mentioned how they'll pass the new tests.
2006-04-11 14:25:33
33.   Jacob L
So, correct me if I'm wrong, Dodger and Angel prospects don't face each other until AAA? The Angel affiliates are all in the west, right? So, yeah, this is neat.

I do miss the Dodgers having a Cal League affiliate. The last one was San Berdoo, but I understand that you don't really need 2 high A teams.

2006-04-11 14:27:30
34.   Jacob L
32 I think it was the 96 team that was famous for chemistry/pharmacology. That and Chris Gwynn.
2006-04-11 14:38:40
35.   Penarol1916
33. I believe that I saw games between Orem and Ogdon, the two clubs rookie league affiliates reported on 6-4-2 last year, but other than that, I think you're right.
2006-04-11 15:36:51
36.   Uncle Miltie
So the Reds picked up Brandon Phillips for a PTBNL or cash. I really hope the Reds were ahead of us in terms of priority.

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