I’ve hypothesized all year that Boston has been the victim of more “warning track outs” than anybody else this season. And it appears that I was wrong. At least I was if you use the Baseball-Reference’s event finder play descriptions for balls hit to “deep outfield”. Below are the team-by-team totals (through May 28) for batted balls where the location was listed as “deep” and “outfield”:
The Red Sox have hit the 13th most such balls (272) and their 1.646 OPS on them ranks a very bad 26th. The only AL team that’s worse is Chicago (1.634). Of course, the Red Sox currently rank 25th in overall OPS (.680) with, you guessed it, the White Sox (.658) the only AL team that’s worse.
Is it luck? Is it a quirk in the way batted balls are categorized from park to park? Is it that Red Sox and White Sox hitters have “warning track power”? Let’s look at 2014:
Well look at that. Toronto was on top last year, too. And Boston was in their same 26th place, albeit with an OPS about 100 points lower.
Before we move on to players, let’s look at Home/Road splits. Here are HOME results since the start of the 2014 season:
Boston checks in 12th (1.779 OPS) while Toronto remains in the top spot with a ridiculous 2.305 OPS. The Blue Jays have 132 HR on 465 deep balls at home (28%), while the rest of the league was at 16% (Boston 12%, KC just 9%).
What about on the road?
Aaack. There are the Red Sox, dead last, with a 1.400 OPS on deep balls hit on the road. However, only one team has hit more deep balls on the road since the start of the 2014 season than the Red Sox (655)…Cleveland (657).
Baltimore leads the league in road OPS on deep balls (1.954), thanks to 21% of their deep balls leaving the yard. On the road, the Blue Jays sport a much more normal 17% home run rate, leading me to believe that there is some noise in the data coming from Rogers Centre.
So what about individual players? Here is the list of players with 40+ deep balls so far in 2015:
Colorado’s Nolan Arenado (49) and Cincinnati;s Todd Frazier (47) have the most deep balls in the league so far. But look who’s 5th? Yep, Boston rookie Mookie Betts. And only Evan Longoria (1.220) has a lower OPS on deep balls among this group than Betts’ 1.333.
Finally, here are the batters who have had the worst “luck” on deep batted balls this season (min. 25 deep balls):
Note that Betts is the only Red Sox player on this list. I found it interesting that Detroit’s Ian Kinsler and Seattle’s Robinson Cano have hit 61 deep balls between them and have only one home run between them to show for it. Remember that one homer is hit for just about every six deep balls on average.
I hope you found this as enlightening as I did. Thanks to Baseball-Reference and their awesome stats database for making this possible.
Comments? Find me on Twitter: @nuggetpalooza.
Have a good weekend, everyone.