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Entries in home runs (12)


How Chris Davis is Crushing the Record Books

Chris Davis has crushed a major league-leading 32 home runs already this season, leaving him just one clout shy of matching his 2012 total and putting him in prime position to break the Orioles' single-season home run record, set by Brady Anderson (50 HR) in 1996. Somewhere, Earl Weaver is smiling. How has the Rangers castoff maintained a homer pace that would make him the first batter to go deep 60 times in a season since Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa in 2001? Here's a breakdown of how Davis is breaking down opposing pitchers.

  • Davis wastes little time once he's in the batter's box, swinging at far more first-pitch offerings (39%) than the major league average (26%). That aggressive approach is paying off, as he's tied with Miguel Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion for the most first-pitch homers this season (8).
  • When he does get behind in the count, Davis is no longer an automatic out -- he has 13 homers in two-strike counts. That leads the majors, and it's not even close (Cabrera is a distant second, with eight HR in two-strike situations). Davis' 13 HR in two-strike counts already tops his ten hit in 2012 and nearly matches his combined total from 2008-11 (14).
  • Hard stuff, soft stuff -- it matters little to Davis, who's crushing every pitch type known to man. He has 17 homers against fastballs and sinkers, six against sliders, four versus curveballs, three on changeups, and one apiece on a splitter and a knuckleball. Has anyone tried throwing him an eeuphus pitch?
  • Davis also doesn't seem to care whether he has the platoon advantage, as he's tied with Jay Bruce and Carlos Gonzalez for the most home runs hit by lefty hitters against lefty pitching (seven). That matches his HR output against left-handers in 2012.
  • Davis has been an all-fields slugger, actually hitting more combined home runs to left field (8) and center (10) than to right field (14). We're barely halfway through the 2013 season, yet Davis has nearly cranked double-digit home runs in every direction. To put that into perspective, the only player with ten or more homers to left, center and right field in 2012 was Cabrera.

Davis' home run spray chart


  • On a related note, Davis has done most of his damage on pitches thrown to the middle (14 HR) or outer third (15 HR) of the plate. If the 6-foot-3, 230 pound behemoth has a weakness, it might be on inside pitches that require him to extend his arms. He has three homers and is slugging .347 on inside stuff, compared to an .829 slugging percentage on middle pitches and a .794 mark on outer-third offerings.

Davis' slugging percentage by pitch location


Chris Davis is Making Earl Weaver Proud

Chris Davis is one pace to blast 162 homers and drive in 648 runs during the 2013 season. Okay, so the O's first baseman probably won't put Barry Bonds and Hack Wilson to shame this year. But he is off to an historic start, becoming just the fourth player ever to begin the season with a home run in each of his first four games (Willie Mays, Mark McGwire and Nelson Cruz are the others). Davis' eighth-inning grand slam against the Twins was especially fitting on a night when Baltimore honored the late Earl Weaver, who abhorred bunting and played for the big inning with sluggers like Boog Powell and Eddie Murray. Here's how Davis has made the Earl of Baltimore proud.

  • Davis has hit two homers apiece off right-handers (Roberto Hernandez and Jeremy Hellickson) and lefties (Jake McGee and Tyler Robertson). The lefty slugger was lousy against same-handed pitching early on during his big league career (he batted .236 and slugged .418 in 298 plate appearances against left-handers from 2008-11), but he's now batting .267 and slugging .533 in 126 PA versus lefties since the beginning of the 2012 season. The sample size is small, but he has significantly cut his miss rate against lefties from 2008-11 (35%) to 2012-present (26.5%).
  • Three of his four homers have come on pitches thrown on the outside corner of the plate, with Davis flicking two of them to the opposite field and pulling one to right. Davis has hit 15 homers on pitches thrown outside since the beginning of 2012, tying him with Edwin Encarnacion for third-most among MLB hitters.

Most HR on pitches thrown outside, 2012-Present

  • Two of Davis' homers have come on the first pitch. He has as many first-pitch homers from 2012-13 (nine) as former free-swinging teammate Josh Hamilton, and he ranks in the top ten among all MLB batters in first-pitch HR over that time frame.
  • Davis also has two home runs on soft stuff, driving a slider and a changeup over the fence. You might think that a hulking, high-strikeout slugger like Davis would struggle against breaking and off-speed pitches, but he actually has the second-most HR in the majors on curves, sliders and changeups since 2012.

Most HR on breaking and off-speed pitches, 2012-13




Breaking Down Bryce Harper's Homers

As the Nationals chase 100 wins, Bryce Harper has an outside shot of becoming baseball's all-time teenage home run champ. With 21 bombs, Harper has already passed the likes of Mickey Mantle (13 in 1951), Ken Griffey Jr. (16 in 1989) and Mel Ott (18 in 1928). Next up is Tony Conigliaro, who hit 24 homers back in 1964. How has Harper put himself one power surge away from Tony C.'s record? Here's a quick breakdown of Harper's homers.

  • The lefty-hitting Harper has gone deep 15 times against right-handed pitchers, and six times versus lefties.
  • He has done more damage on non-fastballs (12 home runs) than fastballs (nine). Harper has nine homers against fastballs/sinkers, four against changeups, three apiece versus sliders and cutters, and two on curveballs. Perhaps it shouldn't surprise us that Harper has more big flies against non-fastballs, considering that he has seen the second-lowest percentage of fastballs among all qualified MLB hitters:

Lowest fastball percentage seen among qualified hitters, 2012

Batter Fastball Pct.
Pedro Alvarez 38.1%
Bryce Harper 38.3%
Cameron Maybin 38.5%
Alfonso Soriano 38.9%
Ike Davis 39.3%
Chris Johnson 40.2%
Justin Upton 40.5%
Josh Hamilton 40.6%
Dan Uggla 40.7%
Jesus Montero 40.9%


  • Harper hasn't had much use for the opposite field, as his homer spray chart shows:

 He has hit 12 HR to the pull side, six to center field and three to left field.

  • While Harper's pull power would lead you to believe that he hit most of his homers  against inside stuff, he actually has more taters on outside pitches (nine) than inside or middle offerings (six apiece).
  • Six of Harper's homers have come on the first pitch of an at-bat. The only NL hitters with more first-pitch home runs are Ike Davis (11), Jay Bruce (10), Carlos Beltran (10), Ryan Braun (nine), Adam LaRoche (eight) and Matt Holliday (seven).
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