The First Five Days in Home Runs
With the first couple days of the season in the books I thought it would be cool to look at the superlative HRs of the season -- not as any real analysis, just for the fun of it. I have been playing around with ways to display HRs that show information about the pitch the HR was hit off of and the HR itself. My current version combines these pieces of information into a single graph with two different scales: a finer scale shows the location of the pitch in the strike zone (the box at the base of the image), this box in the x-z plane; and then the larger scale showing the approximate angle of the HR in play connected to the dot of the pitch, this now in the x-y plane. The superlatives HRs are marked in red. All data through last night.
Here are the HRs by RHBs off RHPs.
These include four of the superlatives I looked at. First off you have the farthest inside HR. It is easy to see in the image (right by the 'B' in RHB) and was 14 inches inside of the center of the plate. That was Delmon Young's HR off of a Fernando Rodney changeup yesterday. The highest HR is also easy to see. It was 3 feet 9 inches high, a four-seam fastball from Kevin Millwood hit by Evan Longoria on Tuesday. Below and slightly to the left of that was the HR off the fastest pitch. That was Yuniesky Betancourt's unlikely HR on Monday off of Justin Verlander's 98.6 MPH fastball. The last HR, to the right of the fastest, was the shortest HR, Miguel Cabrera's 342-foot shot off of Joakim Soria on Wednesday (distance by HitTracker).
Here are the HRs by RHBs off of LHPs.
This includes two superlative HRs. The HR on the farthest outside pitch -- 12.75 inches off of the center of the plate -- was Mark DeRosa's HR off of a 86mph Tim Byrdak fastball on Monday. The other HR here was the HR off of the slowest pitch. That is Rajai Davis's HR on a 70mph Ryan Rowland-Smith curve.
Here are the HRs by LHBs off of RHPs
Here you have the HR off of the lowest pitch, Wednesday's Travis Ishikawa HR on a Jeff Fulchino change just 1.5 feet high. The other HR here is the farthest, Jason Heyward's Monday HR, the first of his career, a 476-foot blast off of Carlos Zambrano.
Finally, the HRs by LHBs off of LHPs.
Here there were no superlative HRs based on the categories I looked at.
I guess I am guilty of 'digging the long ball' and finding ways of looking at them, but I hope forgive this prosaic impulse.