Is The Home Run Derby A Curse?

Photo: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

In this investigation, we will try to determine whether or not the Home Run Derby really does curse/negatively impact the participants’ second half performance. To start, let’s examine an abundant amount of raw information from the past three years…

2018

Jesus Aguilar

3/29 – 7/15

  • PA: 316
  • HR: 24
  • PA/HR: 13.2
  • AVG: .298
  • OBP: .373
  • SLG: .621
  • wRC+: 160
  • ISO: .324
  • HR/FB%: 27.0
  • IFFB%: 3.4
  • SwStr%: 12.4

7/20 – 10/1

  • PA: 250
  • HR: 11
  • PA/HR: 22.7 (+9.5)
  • AVG: .245 (-.053)
  • OBP: .324 (-.049)
  • SLG: .436 (-.185)
  • wRC+: 101 (-59)
  • ISO: .191 (-.133)
  • HR/FB%: 19.0 (-8.0); 2017: 22.5 (-3.5)
  • IFFB%: 10.3 (+6.9)
  • SwStr%: 12.6 (+0.2)

Rhys Hoskins

3/29 – 7/15

  • PA: 370
  • HR: 14
  • PA/HR: 26.4
  • AVG: .252
  • OBP: .363
  • SLG: .456
  • wRC+: 123
  • ISO: .204
  • HR/FB%: 12.8
  • IFFB%: 9.2
  • SwStr%: 8.7

7/20 – 9/30

  • PA: 290
  • HR: 20
  • PA/HR: 14.5 (-11.9)
  • AVG: .237 (-.015)
  • OBP: .341 (-.022)
  • SLG: .546 (+.090)
  • wRC+: 136 (+13)
  • ISO: .309 (+.105)
  • HR/FB%: 19.2 (+10.0)
  • IFFB%: 13.5 (+4.3)
  • SwStr%: 6.9 (-1.8)

Alex Bregman

3/29 – 7/15

  • PA: 434
  • HR: 20
  • PA/HR: 21.7
  • AVG: .288
  • OBP: .389
  • SLG: .539
  • wRC+: 158
  • ISO: .251
  • HR/FB%: 14.6
  • IFFB%: 10.9
  • SwStr%: 4.8

7/20 – 9/30

  • PA: 271
  • HR: 11
  • PA/HR: 24.6 (+2.9)
  • AVG: .283 (-.005)
  • OBP: .402 (+.013)
  • SLG: .520 (-.019)
  • wRC+: 156 (-2)
  • ISO: .238 (-.013)
  • HR/FB%: 12.9 (-1.7); 2017: 12.5 (+0.4)
  • IFFB%: 15.3 (+4.4)
  • SwStr%: 3.3 (-1.5)

Kyle Schwarber

3/29 – 7/15

  • PA: 321
  • HR: 18
  • PA/HR: 17.8
  • AVG: .249
  • OBP: .375
  • SLG: .498
  • wRC+: 130
  • ISO: .249
  • HR/FB%: 26.9
  • IFFB%: 9.0
  • SwStr%: 11.1

7/19 – 10/1

  • PA: 189
  • HR: 8
  • PA/HR: 23.6 (+5.8)
  • AVG: .221 (-.028)
  • OBP: .323 (-.052)
  • SLG: .417 (-.081)
  • wRC+: 89 (-41)
  • ISO: .196 (-.053)
  • HR/FB%: 20.5 (-6.4); 2017: 24.0 (-3.5)
  • IFFB%: 10.3 (+1.3)
  • SwStr%: 12.4 (+1.3)

Max Muncy

4/17 – 7/15

  • PA: 279
  • HR: 22
  • PA/HR: 12.7
  • AVG: .271
  • OBP: .409
  • SLG: .604
  • wRC+: 171
  • ISO: .333
  • HR/FB%: 30.6
  • IFFB%: 6.9
  • SwStr%: 8.4

7/20 – 10/1

  • PA: 202
  • HR: 13
  • PA/HR: 15.5 (+2.8)
  • AVG: .253 (-.018)
  • OBP: .366 (-.043)
  • SLG: .553 (-.051)
  • wRC+: 149 (-22)
  • ISO: .300 (-.033)
  • HR/FB%: 27.7 (-2.9)
  • IFFB%: 4.3 (-2.6)
  • SwStr%: 12.2 (+3.8)

Javier Baez

3/29 – 7/15

  • PA: 365
  • HR: 19
  • PA/HR: 19.2
  • AVG: .292
  • OBP: .326
  • SLG: .566
  • wRC+: 133
  • ISO: .274
  • HR/FB%: 23.2
  • IFFB%: 12.2
  • SwStr%: 18.3

7/19 – 10/1

  • PA: 280
  • HR: 15
  • PA/HR: 18.7 (-0.5)
  • AVG: .289 (-.003)
  • OBP: .326 (0)
  • SLG: .540 (-.026)
  • wRC+: 128 (-5)
  • ISO: .251 (-.023)
  • HR/FB%: 25.9 (+2.7); 2016-17: 16.2 (+9.7)
  • IFFB%: 10.3 (-1.9)
  • SwStr%: 18.0 (-0.3)

Bryce Harper

3/30 – 7/14

  • PA: 414
  • HR: 23
  • PA/HR: 18
  • AVG: .214
  • OBP: .365
  • SLG: .468
  • wRC+: 118
  • ISO: .254
  • HR/FB%: 25.3
  • IFFB%: 3.3
  • SwStr%: 14.3

7/20 – 9/30

  • PA: 281
  • HR: 11
  • PA/HR: 25.5 (+7.5)
  • AVG: .300 (+.086)
  • OBP: .434 (+.069)
  • SLG: .538 (+.070)
  • wRC+: 159 (+41)
  • ISO: .238 (-.016)
  • HR/FB%: 19.6 (-5.7); 2016-17: 19.2 (+0.4)
  • IFFB%: 3.6 (+0.3)
  • SwStr%: 11.4 (-2.9)

Freddie Freeman

3/29 – 7/15

  • PA: 420
  • HR: 16
  • PA/HR: 26.3
  • AVG: .315
  • OBP: .405
  • SLG: .533
  • wRC+: 148
  • ISO: .218
  • HR/FB%: 17.2
  • IFFB%: 1.1
  • SwStr%: 11.5

7/20 – 9/30

  • PA: 287
  • HR: 7
  • PA/HR: 41 (+14.7)
  • AVG: .301 (-.014)
  • OBP: .362 (-.043)
  • SLG: .465 (-.068)
  • wRC+: 120 (-28)
  • ISO: .164 (-.054)
  • HR/FB%: 11.5 (-5.7); 2016-17: 19.9 (-8.4)
  • IFFB%: 3.3 (+2.2)
  • SwStr%: 13.6 (+2.1)

Average Changes for HR Derby Participants (pre HR Derby –> post)

  • PA/HR: +3.9 (75% [6 out of 8] increased; only one decreased more than 0.5 PA/HR)
  • AVG: -.005 (-0.017 if Bryce Harper, the lone hitter whose batting average rose, is excluded; 87.5% [7 out of 8] decreased)
  • OBP: -.016 (71.4% [5 out of 7] decreased; 80% of those 5 hitters saw their on-base percentage decrease by more than 40 points)
  • SLG: -.034 (75% [6 out of 8] decreased; 66.7% of those 6 hitters saw their slugging percentage decrease by more than 50 points)
  • wRC+: -13 (75% [6 out of 8] decreased; 50% of those 6 hitters saw their weighted runs created plus decrease by more than 20)
  • ISO: -.028 (87.5% [7 out of 8] decreased; 57.1% of those 7 hitters saw their isolated slugging decrease by more than 30 points)
  • HR/FB%: -2.2 (75% [6 out of 8] decreased; 66.7% of those 6 hitters saw their home runs per fly ball percentage decrease by 3 percent or more)
    • HR/FB% from each individual player’s previous season(s) [up to two]: -0.8
  • IFFB%: +1.7 (62.5% [5 out of 8] increased)
  • SwStr%: +0.1 [50% [4 out of 8] increased)

Conclusion: 50% [4 out 8] regressed by quite a bit — Jesus Aguilar, Max Muncy, Kyle Schwarber, and Freddie Freeman — offensively. The majority of the batters (75%) hit for less power after the Home Run Derby.

Average League-Wide Changes (pre HR Derby –> post)

  • PA/HR: -1.0
  • AVG: +.002
  • OBP: 0
  • SLG: +.004
  • wRC+: +1
  • ISO: +.003
  • HR/FB%: +0.4
  • IFFB%: +0.1
  • SwStr%: +0.1

2017

Giancarlo Stanton

4/3 – 7/9

  • PA: 369
  • HR: 26
  • PA/HR: 14.2
  • AVG: .277
  • OBP: .360
  • SLG: .572
  • wRC+: 142
  • ISO: .295
  • HR/FB%: 28.9
  • IFFB%: 20.0
  • SwStr%: 12.8

7/14 – 10/1

  • PA: 323
  • HR: 33
  • PA/HR: 9.8 (-4.4)
  • AVG: .287 (+.010)
  • OBP: .393 (+.033)
  • SLG: .702 (+.130)
  • wRC+: 177 (+35)
  • ISO: .415 (+.120)
  • HR/FB%: 40.2 (+11.3); 2015-16: 28.5 (+11.7)
  • IFFB%: 13.4 (-6.6)
  • SwStr%: 12.5 (-0.3)

Gary Sanchez

4/2 – 7/9

  • PA: 242
  • HR: 13
  • PA/HR: 18.6
  • AVG: .276
  • OBP: .360
  • SLG: .491
  • wRC+: 127
  • ISO: .215
  • HR/FB%: 25.0
  • IFFB%: 15.4
  • SwStr%: 12.1

7/14 – 9/30

  • PA: 283
  • HR: 20
  • PA/HR: 14.2 (-4.4)
  • AVG: .280 (+.004)
  • OBP: .332 (+.028)
  • SLG: .564 (+.073)
  • wRC+: 132 (+5)
  • ISO: .284 (+.069)
  • HR/FB%: 25.6 (+0.6)
  • IFFB%: 7.7 (-7.7)
  • SwStr%: 13.0 (+0.9)

Mike Moustakas

4/3 – 7/8

  • PA: 329
  • HR: 25
  • PA/HR: 13.2
  • AVG: .270
  • OBP: .304
  • SLG: .559
  • wRC+: 121
  • ISO: .289
  • HR/FB%: 20.8
  • IFFB%: 15.8
  • SwStr%: 11.2

7/14 – 10/1

  • PA: 269
  • HR: 13
  • PA/HR: 20.7 (+7.5)
  • AVG: .275 (+.005)
  • OBP: .327 (+.023)
  • SLG: .471 (-.088)
  • wRC+: 104 (-17)
  • ISO: .197 (-.092)
  • HR/FB%: 14.0 (-6.8); 2015-16: 15.3 (-1.3)
  • IFFB%: 16.1 (+0.3)
  • SwStr%: 9.8 (-1.4)

Miguel Sano

4/3 – 7/9

  • PA: 345
  • HR: 21
  • PA/HR: 16.4
  • AVG: .276
  • OBP: .368
  • SLG: .538
  • wRC+: 136
  • ISO: .262
  • HR/FB%: 26.9
  • IFFB%: 3.8
  • SwStr%: 17.4

7/14 – 10/1

  • PA: 138
  • HR: 7
  • PA/HR: 19.7 (+3.3)
  • AVG: .236 (-.040)
  • OBP: .312 (-.056)
  • SLG: .431 (-.107)
  • wRC+: 95 (-41)
  • ISO: .195 (-.067)
  • HR/FB%: 29.2 (+2.3); 2015-16: 23.7 (+5.5)
  • IFFB%: 16.7 (+12.9)
  • SwStr%: 21.2 (+3.8)

Cody Bellinger

4/25 – 7/9

  • PA: 292
  • HR: 25
  • PA/HR: 11.7
  • AVG: .261
  • OBP: .342
  • SLG: .619
  • wRC+: 144
  • ISO: .358
  • HR/FB%: 30.1
  • IFFB%: 6.0
  • SwStr%: 14.3

7/14 – 10/1

  • PA: 256
  • HR: 14
  • PA/HR: 18.3 (+6.6)
  • AVG: .274 (+.013)
  • OBP: .363 (-.003)
  • SLG: .538 (-.081)
  • wRC+: 131 (-13)
  • ISO: .265 (-.093)
  • HR/FB%: 19.4 (-10.9)
  • IFFB%: 11.1 (+5.1)
  • SwStr%: 12.5 (-1.8)

Charlie Blackmon

4/3 – 7/9

  • PA: 406
  • HR: 20
  • PA/HR: 20.3
  • AVG: .316
  • OBP: .370
  • SLG: .580
  • wRC+: 128
  • ISO: .264
  • HR/FB%: 18.0
  • IFFB%: 4.5
  • SwStr%: 8.0

7/14 – 10/1

  • PA: 319
  • HR: 17
  • PA/HR: 18.8 (-1.5)
  • AVG: .350 (+.034)
  • OBP: .436 (+.066)
  • SLG: .628 (+.048)
  • wRC+: 158 (+30)
  • ISO: .278 (+.014)
  • HR/FB%: 21.8 (+3.8); 2015-16: 12.8 (+9.0)
  • IFFB%: 10.3 (+5.8)
  • SwStr%: 7.6 (-0.4)

Aaron Judge

4/2 – 7/9

  • PA: 366
  • HR: 30
  • PA/HR: 12.2
  • AVG: .329
  • OBP: .448
  • SLG: .691
  • wRC+: 197
  • ISO: .362
  • HR/FB%: 41.7
  • IFFB%: 2.8
  • SwStr%: 13.2

7/14 – 9/30

  • PA: 312
  • HR: 22
  • PA/HR: 14.2 (+2.0)
  • AVG: .228 (-.101)
  • OBP: .391 (-.057)
  • SLG: .548 (-.143)
  • wRC+: 143 (-54)
  • ISO: .320 (-.042)
  • HR/FB%: 29.7 (-12.0)
  • IFFB%: 9.5 (+6.7)
  • SwStr%: 13.5 (+0.3)

Justin Bour

4/3 – 7/9

  • PA: 305
  • HR: 20
  • PA/HR: 15.3
  • AVG: .289
  • OBP: .367
  • SLG: .556
  • wRC+: 140
  • ISO: .267
  • HR/FB%: 26.7
  • IFFB%: 13.3
  • SwStr%: 12.1

7/14 – 10/1

  • PA: 124
  • HR: 5
  • PA/HR: 24.8 (+9.5)
  • AVG: .290 (+.001)
  • OBP: .363 (-.004)
  • SLG: .486 (-.070)
  • wRC+: 123 (-17)
  • ISO: .196 (-.071)
  • HR/FB%: 23.8 (-2.9); 2015-16: 20.4 (+3.4)
  • IFFB%: 4.8 (-8.5)
  • SwStr%: 10.6 (-1.5)

Average Changes for HR Derby Participants (pre HR Derby –> post)

  • PA/HR: +1.4 (62.5% [5 out of 8] increased; 80% of those five hitters saw their PA/HR raise by more than 3.0)
  • AVG: -.009 (+.003 if Aaron Judge, the hitter whose batting average dropped the most, is excluded; 75% [6 out of 8] decreased)
  • OBP: -.003 (50% [4 out of 8] decreased)
  • SLG: -.030 (62.5% [5 out of 8] decreased; all 5 of those hitters saw their slugging percentage decrease by 70 points or more)
  • wRC+: -9 (62.5% [5 out of 8] decreased; 80% of those 5 hitters saw their weighted runs created plus decrease by at least 15)
  • ISO: -.020 (62.5% [5 out of 8] decreased; all 5 of those hitters saw their isolated slugging decrease by more than 40 points)
  • HR/FB%: 0 (50% [4 out of 8] decreased).
    • HR/FB% from each individual player’s previous season(s) [up to two]: +5.7
  • IFFB%: +1.0 (62.5% [5 out of 8] increased)
  • SwStr%: -0.1 [37.5% [3 out of 8] increased)

Conclusion: 62.5% [5 out 8] regressed by quite a bit — Mike Moustakas, Aaron Judge, Justin Bour, Cody Bellinger, and Miguel Sano — offensively. The majority of the batters (62.5%) hit for less power after the Home Run Derby.

Average League-Wide Changes (pre HR Derby –> post)

  • PA/HR: +0.2
  • AVG: 0
  • OBP: 0
  • SLG: 0
  • wRC+: 0
  • ISO: 0
  • HR/FB%: -0.1
  • IFFB%: +0.2
  • SwStr%: +0.1

2016

Mark Trumbo

4/4 – 7/10

  • PA: 375
  • HR: 28
  • PA/HR: 13.4
  • AVG: .288
  • OBP: .341
  • SLG: .582
  • wRC+: 145
  • ISO: .294
  • HR/FB%: 26.2
  • IFFB%: 15.0
  • SwStr%: 14.7

7/15 – 10/2

  • PA: 292
  • HR: 19
  • PA/HR: 15.4 (+2.0)
  • AVG: .214 (-.074)
  • OBP: .284 (-.057)
  • SLG: .436 (-.146)
  • wRC+: 101 (-44)
  • ISO: .191 (-.103)
  • HR/FB%: 22.6 (-3.6); 2014-15: 14.4 (+8.2)
  • IFFB%: 9.5 (-5.5)
  • SwStr%: 12.2 (-2.5)

Corey Seager

4/4 – 7/10

  • PA: 389
  • HR: 17
  • PA/HR: 22.9
  • AVG: .297
  • OBP: .357
  • SLG: .521
  • wRC+: 135
  • ISO: .224
  • HR/FB%: 20.7
  • IFFB%: 1.2
  • SwStr%: 10.7

7/15 – 10/2

  • PA: 298
  • HR: 9
  • PA/HR: 33.1 (+10.2)
  • AVG: .321 (+.024)
  • OBP: .376 (+.019)
  • SLG: .500 (-.021)
  • wRC+: 138 (+3)
  • ISO: .179 (-.045)
  • HR/FB%: 14.3 (-6.4)
  • IFFB%: 3.2 (+2.0)
  • SwStr%: 11.9 (+1.2)

Robinson Cano

4/4 – 7/10

  • PA: 397
  • HR: 21
  • PA/HR: 18.9
  • AVG: .313
  • OBP: .368
  • SLG: .555
  • wRC+: 152
  • ISO: .242
  • HR/FB%: 19.8
  • IFFB%: 8.5
  • SwStr%: 7.6

7/15 – 10/2

  • PA: 318
  • HR: 18
  • PA/HR: 17.7 (-1.2)
  • AVG: .278 (-.035)
  • OBP: .327 (-.041)
  • SLG: .505 (-.050)
  • wRC+: 122 (-30)
  • ISO: .227 (-.015)
  • HR/FB%: 18.8 (-1.0); 2014-15: 13.3 (+5.5)
  • IFFB%: 9.4 (+0.9)
  • SwStr%: 9.0 (+1.4)

Giancarlo Stanton

4/5 – 7/10

  • PA: 321
  • HR: 20
  • PA/HR: 16.1
  • AVG: .233
  • OBP: .328
  • SLG: .495
  • wRC+: 121
  • ISO: .262
  • HR/FB%: 26.3
  • IFFB%: 11.8
  • SwStr%: 16.0

7/15 – 10/2

  • PA: 149
  • HR: 7
  • PA/HR: 21.3 (+5.2)
  • AVG: .254 (+.021)
  • OBP: .322 (-.006)
  • SLG: .478 (-.017)
  • wRC+: 111 (-10)
  • ISO: .224 (-.038)
  • HR/FB%: 16.3 (-10.0); 28.8 (-12.5)
  • IFFB%: 11.6 (-0.2)
  • SwStr%: 13.5 (-2.5)

Adam Duvall

4/4 – 7/10

  • PA: 324
  • HR: 23
  • PA/HR: 14.1
  • AVG: .249
  • OBP: .288
  • SLG: .551
  • wRC+: 114
  • ISO: .302
  • HR/FB%: 24.0
  • IFFB%: 9.4
  • SwStr%: 13.5

7/15 – 10/2

  • PA: 284
  • HR: 10
  • PA/HR: 28.4 (+14.3)
  • AVG: .231 (-.018)
  • OBP: .306 (+.018)
  • SLG: .434 (-.117)
  • wRC+: 92 (-22)
  • ISO: .203 (-.099)
  • HR/FB%: 11.2 (-12.8)
  • IFFB%: 6.7 (-2.7)
  • SwStr%: 11.5 (-2.0)

Wil Myers

4/4 – 7/10

  • PA: 379
  • HR: 19
  • PA/HR: 19.9
  • AVG: .286
  • OBP: .351
  • SLG: .522
  • wRC+: 133
  • ISO: .236
  • HR/FB%: 20.2
  • IFFB%: 3.2
  • SwStr%: 8.0

7/15 – 10/2

  • PA: 297
  • HR: 9
  • PA/HR: 33 (+13.1)
  • AVG: .223 (-.063)
  • OBP: .316 (-.035)
  • SLG: .381 (-.141)
  • wRC+: 90 (-43)
  • ISO: .158 (-.078)
  • HR/FB%: 16.1 (-4.1); 2014-15: 10.3 (+5.8)
  • IFFB%: 10.7 (+7.5)
  • SwStr%: 8.1 (+0.1)

Todd Frazier

4/5 – 7/10

  • PA: 367
  • HR: 25
  • PA/HR: 14.7
  • AVG: .213
  • OBP: .305
  • SLG: .476
  • wRC+: 109
  • ISO: .263
  • HR/FB%: 22.3
  • IFFB%: 21.4
  • SwStr%: 11.8

7/15 – 10/2

  • PA: 299
  • HR: 15
  • PA/HR: 19.9 (+5.2)
  • AVG: .240 (+.027)
  • OBP: .299 (-.006)
  • SLG: .450 (-.026)
  • wRC+: 100 (-9)
  • ISO: .210 (-.053)
  • HR/FB%: 15.2 (-7.1); 2014-15: 16.1 (-0.9)
  • IFFB%: 15.2 (-6.2)
  • SwStr%: 13.3 (+1.5)

Carlos Gonzalez

4/4 – 7/10

  • PA: 362
  • HR: 19
  • PA/HR: 19.1
  • AVG: .318
  • OBP: .367
  • SLG: .557
  • wRC+: 128
  • ISO: .238
  • HR/FB%: 23.8
  • IFFB%: 10.0
  • SwStr%: 15.2

7/15 – 10/2

  • PA: 270
  • HR: 6
  • PA/HR: 45 (+25.9)
  • AVG: .270 (-.048)
  • OBP: .326 (-.041)
  • SLG: .435 (-.122)
  • wRC+: 86 (-42)
  • ISO: .165 (-.073)
  • HR/FB%: 8.8 (-15.0); 2014-15: 20.7 (-11.9)
  • IFFB%: 5.9 (-4.1)
  • SwStr%: 14.0 (-1.2)

Average Changes for HR Derby Participants (pre HR Derby –> post)

  • PA/HR: +9.3 (87.5% [7 out of 8] increased; 85.7% of those 7 hitters saw their PA/HR increase by more than 5.0)
  • AVG: -.021 (62.5% [5 out of 8] decreased; 80% of those 5 hitters saw their batting average decrease by at least 35 points)
  • OBP: -.019 (75% [6 out of 8] decreased; 66.7% of those 6 hitters saw their on-base percentage decrease by at least 35 points)
  • SLG: -.080 (100% [8 out of 8] decreased; 50% of those 8 hitters saw their slugging percentage decrease by 100 points or more)
  • wRC+: -25 (87.5% [7 out of 8] decreased; 71.4% of those 7 hitters saw their weighted runs created plus decrease by more than 20)
  • ISO: -.063 (87.5% [7 out of 8] decreased; 85.7% of those 7 hitters saw their isolated slugging decrease by more than 30 points)
  • HR/FB%: -7.5 (100% [8 out of 8] decreased; 75% of those 8 hitters saw their home runs per fly ball percentage decrease by 5 percent or more)
    • HR/FB% from each individual player’s previous season(s) [up to two]: -1.0
  • IFFB%: -1.0 (62.5% [5 out of 8] decreased)
  • SwStr%: -0.5 [50% [4 out of 8] increased/decreased)

Conclusion: 87.5% [7 out 8] regressed by quite a bit — Mark Trumbo, Robinson Cano, Giancarlo Stanton, Adam Duvall, Wil Myers, Carlos Gonzalez, and Todd Frazier — offensively. The majority of the batters (87.5%) hit for less power after the Home Run Derby.

Average League-Wide Changes (pre HR Derby –> post)

  • PA/HR: -0.1
  • AVG: -.003
  • OBP: -.003
  • SLG: -.005
  • wRC+: -2
  • ISO: -.002
  • HR/FB%: -0.2
  • IFFB%: +0.2
  • SwStr%: +0.2

2016-18

Average Changes for HR Derby Participants (pre HR Derby –> post)

  • PA/HR: +4.9 (75% [18 out of 24] increased)
  • AVG: -.012 (75% [18 out of 24] decreased)
  • OBP: -.012 (65.2% [15 out of 23] decreased)
  • SLG: -.048 (79.2% [19 out of 24] decreased)
  • wRC+: -16 (75% [18 out of 24] decreased)
  • ISO: -.037 (79.2% [19 out of 24] decreased)
  • HR/FB%: -3.2 (75% [18 out of 24] decreased)
    • HR/FB% compared to each individual player’s previous season(s) [up to two]: +1.0
  • IFFB%: +0.6 (54.2% [13 out of 24] increased)
  • SwStr%: -0.2 [45.8% [11 out of 24] increased)

Conclusion: 66.7% [16 out 24] regressed by quite a bit offensively. The majority of the batters (75%) hit for less power after the Home Run Derby.

Average League-Wide Changes (pre HR Derby –> post)

  • PA/HR: +0.1
  • AVG: 0
  • OBP: -.001
  • SLG: 0
  • wRC+: 0
  • ISO: 0
  • HR/FB%: 0
  • IFFB%: +0.2
  • SwStr%: +0.1

Two years ago, Devan Fink, now a writer for FanGraphs, wrote a related piece titled “Fact or Fiction: the Home Run Derby curse.” Here’s one excerpt I find pertinent…

To what extent does the Home Run Derby play into this drop in performance? I’m going to say little-to-none. More often than not, players selected to the Derby are those who are having extremely lucky first halves. That’s why they have been selected in the first place! I’d like to look at the average second-half HR/FB rate. Notice how it did not come crashing down; it “merely” dropped by three percentage points. This shows that the hitters who are selected for the Derby tend to continue to hit home runs at a good pace (going back to the point about renowned sluggers being selected), but they also tend to lose the first half luck that they had for the first 3+ months. If we saw a sharper decrease in the figure, we may be able to conclude that the Derby does have an impact; the fact that it remains safely above the league-average keys us into the fact that these players still do what they’re supposed to: hit homers.

In other words, although the majority of the players we looked at did indeed regress during the second half (post-HRD), it was because their first half performance was unsustainable. As Devan pointed out, the players picked to participate in the Home Run Derby “are those who are having extremely lucky first halves” in terms of what percentage of fly balls leave the park.

In 2016-18, the Home Run Derby participants’ HR/FB% during the second half was still on average greater (+1.0) than their HR/FB% in their previous season(s) for the seventeen players we looked at (rookies were ruled out of the equation due to limited sample size).

All things considered, I think it’s fair to say that Home Run Derby curse is pure fiction folks.

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