Breaking Down Alfonso Soriano's 300 Home Runs
Lost in translation of the Cubs' 10-5 loss to the White Sox was that Alfonso Soriano slugged his 300th home run in the second inning to tie the game, shooting the Cubs' win probability up from 38.2 percent to 55.2 percent.
Randy Wells proceeded to give the game away in the fifth inning, leaving the Cubs' win probability at 19.2% when he left the game, and soon after a parade of average to below average relief pitchers (with the exception of Tom Gorzelanny) followed to make matters worse. Before the Cubs recorded an out in the eighth, their win probability was a hopeless 0.2 percent.
While the Cubs' loss reflects their recent bullpen problems, Soriano's career home run achievement should not be forfeited to the liner notes.
In his 12 year career, Alfonso Soriano has managed five 4.0+ WAR seasons (including a 6.9 WAR season with Washington), and has been rightly considered a superstar due to his considerable talents as a power/speed threat. He posted four 30/30 seasons, and one 40/40 season. His power/speed score, according to Baseball Reference, stands as the fifth best of active players, and 32nd best all-time.
Since starring for the Yankees in 2001, Soriano has posted above average home run marks, especially during his time as a second baseman. He hit a homer every 20 at bats during this time, besting Ryne Sandberg (28) and Jeff Kent at the position.
Over the course of his career, Soriano has hit 107 home runs in the first inning, including 54 lead-off homers. He prefers the first two pitches of the at-bat, accumulating 144 homers before strike two or ball two is called.
Of all the pitchers Soriano has hit a home run off, CC Sabathia stands alone as his most susceptible home run victim, with the Baltimore Orioles being the team he most prefers to hit long balls against.
Although his bat appears to be on the decline, Soriano has established himself as an above-average major leaguer over the course of his career, and should continue to contribute at least a couple more seasons of a 2+ WAR.
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