One of the knocks on the 2012 Yankees has been that they’re too reliant on the home run. It’s all they do. They can’t win without it, etc. If you read this site daily, you know I find this to be a bunch of garbage and there’s no such thing as hitting too many home runs. Still, something caught my eye recently and got me to thinking about the home runs on an individual level. It started with this comment by regular commenter T.O. Chris and then Steve S. and I started talking about something similar via email. It dawned on me that, going into yesterday, Curtis Granderson had just ten doubles, which seemed shockingly low for a guy with his power. Of course, he had 24 home runs so it’s not like Granderson is starving for power. Still, it seemed like an absurdly low number. So I decided to take a look at Granderson’s extra-base hits and what percentage went for doubles, triples, and homers respectively.
|2004-2009||439 XBH (223 2B, 13 3B, 203 HR)||50.8% doubles||2.96% triples||46.24% HR|
|2010-2012||163 XBH (53 2B; 20 3B; 90 HR)||32.52% doubles||12.27% triples||55.21% HR|
There’s nothing too surprising in here. Not many players who call Yankee Stadium home are going to hit for a lot of triples, even if they are as fast as Granderson is. And moving from Comerica to YS3 has certainly helped Curtis get some extra home runs. If we add up just his home games from 2010-2012, we get 84 extra-base hits. 26 of them have been doubles, seven of them have been triples, and 51 have been home runs. As percentages, they break down as 30.95%; 8.33%; and 60.71%. If we change it to road games during his Yankee tenure, Granderson has 79 extra-base hits (27 doubles; 13 triples; and 39 homers) and his percentages are 34.18; 33.3; and 49.37%. So overall, not just at home, Granderson has been hitting more homers as a Yankee than he did when he was with the Tigers.
Below is a map from Katron of Granderson’s last year in Comerica Park (2009) and some of his batted balls (orange: fly outs; light blue: doubles; medium blue: triples; dark blue: homers) projected onto Yankee Stadium III. On it, there are five fly outs, one double, and one triple that would’ve been homers in Yankee Stadium. In 2009 at Comerica, Granderson hit 10 homers. So using some fuzzy math based on the Katron picture, wed expect him to have hit five more home runs at home in the Bronx in 2010. At home in 2010, Granderson hit 14 homers, so just short of what we expected (don’t forget, though, that he did miss time with an injury in 2010).
To call Curtis Granderson a one-dimensional player isn’t exactly fair. while his steals have gone down, his walk rate has also climbed from 2010-2012, up 3.2% overall. However, we should note that his strikeout rate has climbed 3.8% in that time frame. The original tone of Chris’s post seemed to be one that pointed towards Granderson having a flawed approach and that said approach–not to mention age and defensive decline–should make the Yankees consider shying away from Curtis when his contract is up. The numbers presented here, I think, don’t necessarily help Chris’s point. While Granderson is certainly popping out a seemingly disproportionate amount of homers, his approach is certainly helped by Yankee Stadium and his extra-base hits are more evenly distributed when on the road. Obviously, there are cost considerations, but Granderson’s swing clearly fits YS3 to a T and that will have to be considered in contract negotiations.
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