With the news that Toronto Blue Jays slugger and all-time leading (one time) All-Star vote getter Jose Bautista (that was a mouthful) will be entering the 2011 All-Star Game Home Run Derby I have heard more than a few people mention the possibility of the dreaded “jinx”. I am not sure where this started and there isn’t a worse crowd than the baseball world to bring out mostly unfounded superstition.
But I was bored and I thought I would give a lazy effort to see if there was any merit at all to this theory that a player will magically fall off after hitting in the derby. For this exercise I must caution it is very rudimentary and doesn’t include a few things I was either not in the mood to look up like HR/FB ratio in the second half and overall FB% which would have given us a much better overall indicator of any supposed drop off.
Second a lot of players are just going to simply tire down the stretch and their homerun numbers suffer. Third some of the players on this list aren’t really just homerun hitters and possibly had big first half numbers (hence, making the all-star game) that were never sustainable over a full season and thus the inevitable second half decline to bring their overall numbers back into line.
I included the past five HR derby’s and used the two finalists from each as presumably the longer you go in this competition the worse it will supposedly “wreck” your swing. The “1st half” numbers are in bold and the “2nd half” or post all-star game numbers aren’t.
Again with a very basic look at the past five homerun derby finalists we see that of the twelve players involved seven had worse overall performances when considering AB/HR. While it isn’t a comprehensive study I don’t feel that anything conclusive could be shown with the data presented nor did I expect it to.
Some guys have hot second half’s like the unreal 2006 season by Ryan Howard (seriously, what a season!) and some guys were always going to fall off in terms of overall power (like David Wright in 2006).
So for anybody thinking this could potentially ruin the best hitter in the game, think again. If Jose Bautista goes on to a worse second half it will have nothing to do with a serious version of batting practise. For those curious here are Jose Bautista’s current HR numbers heading into the all-star game.
Bautista – 27 HRs, one every 10 ABs.