September 28, 2021

Beware the Derby

July 6, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

The participants have been announced for the 2010 Home Run Derby. Among the participants are Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and Robinson Cano of the Yankees. The Tigers and Yankees are both wrapped up in tight races in their respective divisions, and these two players are significant, essential pieces to their teams.

Other participants include Corey Hart of the Brewers, Matt Holliday of the Cardinals, Vernon Wells of the Blue Jays and David Ortiz of the Red Sox. Though all are good players, their teams are either out of contention or they are not the most significant piece to their team’s offense. Cano and Cabrera, however, are.

The Home Run Derby has been a very dangerous event for participants, and has been extremely detrimental to the players’ performance once the regular season resumes. For this reason, contending teams like the Yankees usually do not allow players to compete, which is why they have only had three participants in their history and none of them have been Alex Rodriguez, one of the best home run hitters in history, who has been asked to participate almost every year.

However, this year, the Tigers and Yankees are allowing their most productive offensive pieces to compete in a very risky competition. If history holds true, the consequences can be very significant.

Here is a look at the first and second place finishers in the last two Home Run Derby’s and their numbers before and after the competition:

Year Player Before After
2008 Justin Morneau (1st) .903 OPS, 14 HR .831 OPS, 9 HR
2008 Josh Hamilton (2nd) .919 OPS, 21 HR .874 OPS, 11 HR
2009 Prince Fielder (1st) 1.055 OPS, 22 HR .967 OPS, 24 HR
2009 Nelson Cruz (2nd) .865 OPS, 22 HR .839 OPS, 11 HR

Every player saw a decline in their OPS, and every player (with the exception of Prince Fielder) saw a decline in home runs. Most notably, Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz hit 10 or more fewer home runs in the second half.

These apparent and astronomical declines are worth noting. These are extremely talented players, and it is not a coincidence to see a prolonged slump at the same time for these players, who all happened to participate in the Home Run Derby.

These numbers should be a heads up to the Yankees and Tigers, who are sending their most essential pieces to the 2010 event. Both players will be needed, and both teams will have trouble should these players fall into a slump. It wouldn’t be a surprise if that were to happen.

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One Response to “Beware the Derby”
  1. I agree with the derby effect, although I think it’s a bit harder to prove statistically than meets the eye considering that some guys do worse (or better) after the break whether they’re in the derby or not.

    Another notable power outage following the derby is Bobby Abreu in 2005, who smashed a then record 24 homers in the first round. He hit only 6 homers the rest of that season, then followed up with career lows (15, 16) in the following two.

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