Today I'm debuting something that I plan on making a daily feature over the season. Hopefully it'll work out that way.
Everyday at lunch, I will use my subscription to MLB.tv to go through the home runs from the day before and time how long each batter's home run trot is. The clock will begin the moment the bat touches the ball and will end once the player touches home plate. Any delays the player makes in the last second or two (blowing kisses to the sky, for example) will be counted.
This is strictly for fun. I don't expect anyone to be able to get much, if any, value out of this (in any "saber"-way, at least), but a) it's a fun excuse for me to go through the highlights of every game and b) it's something I'm sure some of you are at least a little curious about. And, at the end of the season, we'll be able to say which batter is slowest around the bases after a home run. Will it be the showboater that you love to hate? The star player whose flaws you refuse to acknowledge? Or will it be some up-and-comer that you never even considered? I know you want to know this.
Of course, this methodology is not perfect. The two biggest flaws I can think of are: the imperfect delay in starting and stopping the clock, and that the television cameras don't always have the batter's feet in the picture when he reaches home plate. The former shouldn't amount to much mismeasurement, but it's likely enough to keep the 2-decimal precision I list in doubt. The latter, though, isn't something I can control, and I'll do my best to say when it makes a difference.
Sound like fun? I hope so. Let me know if you have any thoughts on what you might like to see with the data. I don't think I have the means here to do anything as fancy as HitTracker, but I might be able to provide a little extra data or something.
Now, on to the week's home runs so far...
(Click "Read More" to continue reading.)
Home Run of the Day: Jorge Posada, NYY (Trot Time: 20.55 seconds)
Jorge's shot off the Pesky Pole is the home run of the day mostly because it's the first home run of the 2010 season. It was memorable, though, for it's lightning quick flight into the right field corner at Fenway Park. I've sat in that corner before... it's so close to home plate, it doesn't feel right that home runs in that area should even count.
Slowest Trot: Yadier Molina, STL - 27.73 seconds
By the end of the year, we'll have a pretty good idea about how slow this trot really is. Is it obscenely slow? Or about what you'd expect from a catcher? I will say one thing: Yadi was taking some tiny, tiny steps as he trotted around the bases. You know how when you try running a long distance when you're out of shape and you get to that point where your legs are moving so slow that you could probably walk faster than you're "running" but you don't want to quit? That's about what it looked like as Yadi went around the bases. (Oh! Is that only me? Sorry...)
Quickest Trot: Stephen Drew, ARI - 15.84 seconds
This was Drew's insider the parker after the ball caromed off that weird overhang in Chase Field. As you might expect from someone who doesn't know if he'll be able to score or not, we was running all out the whole way. Chances are there won't be too many (if any) trots faster than this all year.
Home Run of the Day: Evan Longoria, TAM (Trot Time: 23.29 seconds)
This was that absolute bomb that Longoria hit last night. It was the third longest home run hit in Tropicana Field, and landed in the upper deck. You almost wonder if Evan saw some dude wearing his hat up there and did his best to get it back.
Slowest Trot: Victor Martinez, BOS - 25.79 seconds
Victor didn't look all that slow rounding the bases, but he clocked in with the slowest trot of the day. Is it just because he's a slow guy in general? Is this more "slow catcher" bias? We'll have to wait and see how things play out over the season.
Quickest Trot: Rickie Weeks, MIL - 20 seconds (or Matt Wieters, BAL - 20.61 seconds)
The Fox Sports cameras in yesterday's game cut away when Rickie was about two steps away from home plate, so the 20 seconds number is a bit of an estimate. Of those that were fully timed, from ball contact to home plate touch, Wieters' trot was the fastest. Which, placed next to Victor Martinez and Yadier Molina, is a little interesting.