MLB All-Star Game Home Run Derby: Is Winning the Event a Good Thing?

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MLB All-Star Game Home Run Derby: Is Winning the Event a Good Thing?
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Prince Fielder

The 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby will take place tonight in Kansas City with four players from the American League (Robinson Cano, Mark Trumbo, Prince Fielder and Jose Bautista) facing off against the National League’s quartet (Matt Kemp, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Beltran and Andrew McCutchen).

So here’s the question: Does winning the Home Run Derby affect that player’s swing and batting prowess in the games after the event?

Just looking at the past three Home Run Derby winners, you might be inclined to say that winning the event is not a good thing. In 2009, Fielder won the event as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. In the 10 games he played after winning the Derby, Fielder collected only eight hits in 37 at bats for an average of .216.

Fast forward to 2010 and that year’s winner, David Ortiz, had only seven hits in 39 at bats (a .179 average) in the 10 Red Sox games after winning the event. His .179 average is the lowest average of any Home Run Derby winner in the 10 games after winning the event.

Even last year’s winner, Robinson Cano, had somewhat mixed results in the games following his Derby victory. Cano did bat .302 in the 10 games after winning the Derby, but he hit only one home run in those 10 games. In fact, Cano hit only one four-bagger in 21 games after the event in a total of 82 at bats.

Here’s a look at the batting averages and home runs for each Home Run Derby winner in the 10 games after they won the event.

Following are the Home Run Derby winners who had the best averages in the 10 games after their Derby win.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Sammy Sosa

Batting average in 10 games after Derby win, Player, (hits/at-bats), Year

.410 Sammy Sosa (16-for-39) 2000

.368 Juan Gonzalez (14-for-38) 1993

.351 Ken Griffey, Jr. (13-for-37) 1998

.351 Garret Anderson (13-for-37) 2003

.333 Ken Griffey, Jr. (14-for-32) 1994

.325 Wally Joyner (13-for-40) 1986

.325 Miguel Tejada (13-for-40) 2004

.324 Frank Thomas (12-for-37) 1995

.316 Ryan Howard (12-for-38) 2006

.314 Jason Giambi (11-for-35) 2002

Following are the Home Run Derby winners who had the lowest batting averages in the 10 games after their Derby win.

Batting average in 10 games after derby win, Player, (hits/at-bats), Year

.179 David Ortiz (7-for-39) 2010

Winslow Townson/Getty Images
David Ortiz

.216 Prince Fielder (8-for-37) 2009

.219 Bobby Abreu (7-for-32) 2005

.222 Ryne Sandberg (8-for-36) 1990

.237 Darryl Strawberry (9-for-38) 1986

.238 Andre Dawson (10-for 42) 1987

.244 Cal Ripken (8-for-36) 1991

.250 Eric Davis (9-for-36) 1989

Following are the players who hit four or more home runs in the 10 games following their Derby win.

Home Runs, Player (year they won Derby)

6: Sammy Sosa (2000)

5: Tino Martinez (1997)

4: Juan Gonzalez (1993); Frank Thomas (1995); Ken Griffey, Jr. (1998); Ryan Howard (2006)

Following are the players who hit one or no home runs in the 10 games following their derby win.

Home Runs, Player (year they won Derby)

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Bobby Abreu

0: Bobby Abreu (2005); Vladimir Guerrero (2007)

1: Wally Joyner (1986); Ruben Sierra (1989); Ryne Sandberg (1990); Mark McGwire (1992); Garret Anderson (2003); David Ortiz (2010); Robinson Cano (2011)

For the record, if you combine all the players stats for the 10 games after they won the Home Run Derby, you’ll find that the 28 winners hit a combined .289 with 67 home runs, an average of 2.4 home runs in those 10 games per player.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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