HR Derby Tidbits: AL Edition
Team Cano (Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder, Mark Trumbo) takes on Team Kemp (Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Andrew McCutchen) tonight at Kauffman Stadium in the 2012 Home Run Derby (8 PM EST, ESPN). While the Royals' home digs aren't particularly friendly to power hitters during regular games, decreasing homers hits by 27 percent for lefties and 15 percent for righties according to StatCorner, these guys should have little trouble reaching the waterfalls beyond the outfield fences. Here's a closer look at the shots hit by Team Cano in 2012.
Home Runs: 27
Bautista is all about the pull power: 22 of his 27 bombs have screamed down the left field line, with just one shot going to the opposite field. That Bautista is the game's pre-eminent pull hitter is remarkable considering how loathe pitchers are to give him something inside. Just 23 percent of the pitches Bautista has seen have been thrown inside, compared to the 28-29 percent MLB average. That means he's hitting pull-side homers on pitches thrown on the outer half:
Bautista has his 16 of his bombs on outer-half pitches this season.
Home Runs: 20
While not quite Bautista-like, Cano has also pulled the vast majority of his homers this season (14 of 20). Ten of those 13 pulled home runs have come at home -- Yankee Stadium's short right field porch is a pull hitter's best friend. Cano has popped an equal number of homers this season against "hard" pitches (fastballs, cutters and sinkers) and "soft" stuff (changeups, curveballs and sliders). He likes the ball below the letters, hitting three-quarters of his homers on pitches thrown low or to the middle of the zone:
Home Runs: 15
Continuing the pull-happy theme, Fielder has ripped 12 of his 15 home runs into the right field stands. Prince has actually hit the majority of his homers on "soft" pitches, going yard nine times combined against breaking and off-speed stuff. Just over half of his home runs have come on pitches thrown around his considerable belt:
Home Runs: 22
Trumbo has distributed his homers a little differently than the rest of Team Cano, hitting 14 to the pull side, seven to center field and one to the opposite side. If the regular season is any indication, don't look for Trumbo to take many pitches tonight. He's tied with Cano and a few others for the second-most home runs hit on the first pitch this season, with five. Trumbo likes it when pitchers challenge him inside, as 15 of his homers have come on inner-half offerings: