Using Fly Ball Rate to Predict Home Runs
In middle school, I hit a ground ball down the first baseline that I ended up legging out for a home run. I stopped the game and made the opposing pitcher toss me my “home run ball,” which is still on display at my mom’s house (it’s whatever). Chicks dig the long-ball.*
I also remember in that same game there was a really attractive female in the stands and my friend on the team said something like, “Wow, she has a gorgeous complexion,” and we made fun of him for a long time since we didn’t think that was appropriate language for human beings of our age. I didn’t really care though because I was just on Cloud Nine that the girl with the gorgeous complexion saw my (three-run) home run ground ball.
I thought my newfound power might propel me to the big leagues, but as I later found out, professional baseball players don’t hit a ton of ground ball home runs. Turns out most of ‘em are hit in the air.
We know there’s a strong correlation between the percentage of balls a player hits into the air and the number of home runs he hits, but there’s also a strong correlation between the percentage of balls a player hits into the air and the rate at which his fly balls leave the park, i.e. fly ball hitters hit more home runs per at-bat than any other type of batter, but also more home runs per fly ball.
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