Home run happy
Home runs are one of the most exciting plays in baseball. The more the merrier.
That said, relying too heavily on homers to score runs is unsustainable long-term, and the San Diego Padres offense is proving that right now.
Of the 475 runs scored this season, 55.2% of those is thanks to the home run. That’s calculated with the following formula: (Runs scored off of balls not in play) / (Total runs scored).
Scoring runs via homers isn’t inherently bad — when you look at the top five teams in the league in runs scored, you get the following:
- Boston Red Sox: 640 total runs scored, 45% via home run
- New York Yankees: 619, 52.2%
- Minnesota Twins: 617 runs, 54.3%
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 603 runs, 52.7%
- Atlanta Braves: 589 runs, 49.7%
So, what’s the problem with home runs? Nothing. The problem lies in runs scored from balls in play. Clearly, the Padres offense is swinging for the fences, not for base hits. They rank 19th in the league with a .294 BAbip.
Simply put, the Padres are hitting dingers and dingers only. Their home run numbers are on par with the the top five scoring teams, but their number of runs from balls in play is severely lower:
- Boston Red Sox: 354 runs scored via balls in play
- New York Yankees: 296
- Minnesota Twins: 282
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 285
- Atlanta Braves: 296
- San Diego Padres: 213
Obviously, the Friars are going to have less runs scored than the top five teams considering they’re 50-58. The issue is that their ratio of runs scored via balls in play vs. not in play is much worse than better teams.
Ultimately, I believe this problem arises from the Padres inability to get people on base, whether via walks or runs. The Padres rank 24th in the league in OBP while the middle and bottom of the lineup is inconsistent and unreliable. A few players try to carry the team, and since others can’t drive them in if they get on base, they feel the need to hit dingers and score runs themselves.
Which brings us directly to our next point.