Stats & Info: Evan Gattis

2013 Home Run Tracker: Year in review

November, 1, 2013
11/01/13
4:08
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Howard Smith/USA TODAY SportsThis Evan Gattis swing produced the longest home run of the 2013 season.
With the 2013 season complete, we take a look back at the long, the short and the lucky among home-run hitters this season.

Longest HR of the Year: Evan Gattis

On Sept. 8, Evan Gattis drove a Cole Hamels fastball 486 feet to dead center field at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia for what would finish as the longest home run of 2013.

Gattis’ homer is the longest hit by an Atlanta Braves player in the past eight seasons and is tied for the ninth-longest in all of baseball over that same stretch.

That was the longest homer this season by 10 feet. The next-longest was a 476-foot shot by Hunter Pence of the Giants on Aug. 27 against the Rockies

Long Drive Champion: Mike Trout

Mike Trout led the major leagues in average home run distance this season (minimum 20 homers), averaging nearly 420 feet per homer.

Trout hit the longest home run of the season at two different ballparks -- Kauffman Stadium (463 feet) and Tropicana Field (458 feet).

Trout hit 13 homers that traveled at least 430 feet, the most such homers in the majors.

Pedro Alvarez (10) was the only other hitter in double digits.

Shortest Home Run of the Year: Brandon Snyder
On July 29 Red Sox infielder Brandon Snyder hit a ball off of Pesky’s Pole at Fenway Park that was calculated at only 312 feet, the shortest homer hit in 2013 (inside-the-park home runs not included).

Snyder’s homer is tied for the second-shortest out-of-the-park homer hit in the past eight seasons (trailing only a 311-foot shot by Jeff Keppinger in 2006). It is a familiar story for Fenway Park as the five shortest home runs in the majors since 2006 have all been hit in Boston.

Luckiest Home Run Hitter of the Year: Coco Crisp

Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp finished 2013 with a career-high 22 home runs. Crisp was able to take advantage of short fences down the lines, not hitting a single homer to left center, center or right center field.

Crisp’s average home run traveled 368.9 feet, the shortest average distance of any hitter in a single season with at least 20 home runs in the past eight seasons. The next-shortest was J.J. Hardy, who averaged 385 feet on his home runs.

Chris Davis Shows Power to All Fields

Chris Davis led MLB with an Orioles-record 53 home runs this season. He showed power to all fields, with 16 of his 53 home runs going to left or left center field, 14 to center field and 23 to right field. Davis’ average homer to center field this season traveled over 422 feet.


Unlikely Home Run of the Year

Miguel Cabrera finished second in MLB with 44 home runs. Yet, if it was not for the glove of Michael Bourn, he would only have 43.

On May 22, Cabrera hit a fly ball to the center-field wall at Progressive Field.

Bourn, a two-time Gold Glove winner, started to backpedal as he approached the fence. He then leaped with the intention of robbing Cabrera of extra-bases. Instead, the ball ricocheted off his glove for a home run.

Had Bourn not made contact, the ball would have traveled only 386 feet and would not have been a home run in any major league park. In fact, it would have been 38 feet shy of the fence in the same location at Comerica Park, Cabrera's home field.

Longest Postseason Home Run of the Year

Mike Napoli’s home run off Anibal Sanchez in Game 5 of the ALCS was calculated at 460 feet, the longest home run of the 2013 postseason. The 460-foot blast is also tied for the second-longest postseason home run since the beginning of ESPN HR Tracker in 2006, trailing only a 479-foot homer by Manny Ramirez in 2007.

Napoli’s 460-foot home run was his fourth home run of 2013 (regular and postseason) calculated at 460 feet or more, the most such home runs this year. No other player even had three such home runs.

Only Matt Holliday has had more home runs calculated at 460 feet or more in a season (five in 2006).

Speaking of Holliday, he had three of the 10 longest home runs in the 2013 postseason. His longest was a 430-foot home run off Ryan Dempster in Game 1 of the World Series.

For more information on home-run distances in 2013, go to http://www.hittrackeronline.com

Stats to know: Braves, Athletics are champs

September, 22, 2013
9/22/13
11:41
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The Atlanta Braves and Oakland Athletics each clinched division titles on Sunday, with the Braves winning the NL East for the first time since 2005 and the Athletics winning the AL West in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2002 and 2003.

Each clinched a division title when another team in their division lost and each has an 8 1/2 game lead in the standings. The two have almost identical records. But those aren't their only common bonds.

How they Won
The Braves won on the strength of a pitching staff that ranks first in the majors in ERA (3.19). As good as Atlanta’s bullpen was last season, it was even better this season, with a major-league best 2.46 ERA. The names of the pitchers who come in before closer Craig Kimbrel are different than in previous seasons, but Kimbrel has been his usual lights-out self. He can be the first pitcher to lead the NL in saves in three straight seasons since Hall-of-Famer Bruce Sutter (1979 to 1982).

Similarly, the Athletics got great pitching all year as well. Their 3.59 ERA ranks second best in the American League, trailing only the Kansas City Royals. Oakland's pitchers also rank in the top five in both WHIP and opponents' OPS.

Spotlight performer: Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson
The Braves got the breakthrough season they’d been hoping for from Freddie Freeman, who has been the team’s top run producer (after Justin Upton’s red-hot April).
Freddie Freeman
Freeman
With the retirement of Chipper Jones, the Braves were in need of a player who could be a slashline superstar. Freeman has been one, hitting .314 with a .392 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage, a combination of numbers that Jones reached six times during his career.

Freeman has been clutch all season. He’s hitting .435 and has an OPS of 1.231 with runners in scoring position, both of which ranked second-best in the majors’ (the former to Allen Craig, the latter to Miguel Cabrera).

The Athletics got a surprising breakthrough season from third baseman Josh Donaldson, whose slashline numbers are coincidentally almost identical to Freeman’s (.306/.388/.511). Donaldson currently ranks second in the major leagues in wins above replacement (8.1), trailing only Mike Trout.

As we noted recently, Donaldson’s strength is that he does everything well. He ranks third among American League third basemen with 12 Defensive Runs Saved.

Unsung Heroes
Brandon Moss
Moss
Evan Gattis has had an amazing run of big home runs for the Braves in his first year in the majors. He has seven home runs that have either tied the game or given his team the lead in the seventh inning or later, one shy of Paul Goldschmidt for the major-league lead.

Brandon Moss hasn’t been quite that good, but he’s had a penchant for notable home runs. He has four homers to tie or put the Athletics ahead in the seventh inning or later, the most on the team and two shy of the AL lead.

Circle These Games
The Braves established very early in the season that this would be a special year. They developed an identity for being a team that would win games late (as we noted with Gattis). The best of those was on April 6 when B.J. Upton hit a game-tying homer against Chicago Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol and Justin Upton hit a walk-off homer two batters later.

The best wins for the Athletics have been the games that took the longest. They rallied from 6-1 down to beat the Angels in 19 innings on April 29 on Moss’ walk-off home run and beat the Yankees on June 13 on Nate Freiman’s 18th-inning walk-off hit against Mariano Rivera.

Stats of the Day
The Braves have won 12 division titles in the Wild Card era. The only team with more is the Yankees (13). No other team has more than seven.

The Athletics have won 187 games since the start of last season. That is the most wins in the majors in that span.

Kernels: Red Sox, Tigers rockin' and rollin'

September, 8, 2013
9/08/13
10:52
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With apologies to Casey Kasem, Ryan Seacrest, Rick Dees, and all of the notable Top-40 DJs, let's count down a brief selection of our favorite numbers from the week.

34: Runs scored by the Red Sox between Thursday and Saturday. It was their first time scoring nine or more in three straight games against the Yankees in New York. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they also became the first visiting team to score 12 or more in two straight against the Yankees since 1907. The Yankees, meanwhile, scored at least eight in each game yet lost them all, joining the 1999 Rockies as the only teams in MLB history to do that at home.

26:Hits by the Tigers against the Royals on Friday, their most since May 27, 2004. Twenty of those were singles, the Tigers' most since 1946. James Shields allowed 14 hits and is the first starter in the live-ball era to give up that many in an outing of under four innings. No reliever had even done it since Dan Dugan of the White Sox in 1929.

19:Hits by the Royals on Thursday, including a walk-off homer for a 7-6 victory over the Mariners. It was the first time the Royals had at least 19 hits and scored seven runs or less since July 29, 1995, when they had 22 hits but stranded 17 runners in a 5-4 win over Detroit.

16:Innings played by the Cardinals and Reds on Wednesday, most in the 11 seasons of Great American Ball Park.

Matt Adams was the hero with two go-ahead homers-- one in the 14th and another in the 16th. He was the first player ever to homer twice after the 13th inning of a game, and he also hit the latest one for the Cardinals since Doug Clarey (also in the 16th) in San Francisco in April 1976.

Long-Distance Dedication: The Braves' Evan Gattis hit the season's longest home run on Sunday in Philadelphia. The ball descended into the "Ashburn Alley" concourse and hit an unsuspecting fan. According to ESPN Home Run Tracker, it would have gone 486 feet had it continued back to field level. It stole the top spot from Hunter Pence's 476-footer at Coors Field on August 27.

9: Consecutive hits by the Cardinals to start the seventh inning against the Pirates on Friday. First team to record nine hits before making an out, in any inning, since the Red Sox had a 12-run frame against the Indians on May 7, 2009.

7: Red Sox players who homered in Wednesday's 20-4 win over the Tigers, the first team with seven home-run hitters since 2007. The Red Sox hadn't done it in the live-ball era. David Ortiz had two for a team total of eight, marking just the second time a team has hit eight homers in Fenway Park.

Boston also did it against Toronto on July 4, 1977. The 20 runs were a season high in the majors and the first time the Sox had reached 20 since a 25-8 win over the Marlins in 2003.

4: Stolen bases by Billy Hamilton in his first four major-league games. Scored the only run in the Reds' 1-0 victory on Wednesday, the first player to do that in his debut since Don Lock went 1-for-4 with a solo homer for the Washington Senators on July 17, 1962. Elias tells us that Hamilton is the first player in history with a steal in each of his first four MLB games.

3: Home runs by Pablo Sandoval on Wednesday. Giants' first three-homer game out of the fifth spot in the lineup or lower since outfielder Dusty Rhodes did it batting sixth on August 26, 1953.

2: Games that ended with a 12-8 final score on Friday, the first day with two such scores since May 23, 1882.

[Drumroll...]

1: Hits allowed by Yusmeiro Petit on Friday; Arizona's Eric Chavez, the 27th batter of the game, singled just out of Hunter Pence's reach. The last Giants pitcher to lose a perfect game on the 27th batter was George "Hooks" Wiltse, who hit the Phillies' George McQuillan with a pitch, but did finish with a 10-inning no-hitter... on July 4, 1908

The Giants learned Saturday where B.J. Upton's hot zone is.

Five stats you’ll likely hear quite a bit more about on the matchup between the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN/WatchESPN):

1-- Braves pitchers have a 2.40 ERA at home this season, which ranks best in the National League and if maintained through the full season would be the team’s lowest since the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966.

Braves starter Julio Teheran has a 2.97 ERA at home, much better than his 4.12 ERA on the road. The biggest difference for him in his home/road splits is his home run rate (three homers allowed in 33 1/3 innings at home, 7 in 43 2/3 innings on the road).

2-- Giants starter Tim Lincecum turned 29 on Saturday.

Lincecum is part of a group of Giants starting pitchers having significant issues on the road. Lincecum has a 5.40 ERA away from AT&T Park this season. Giants starters have a 5.62 road ERA and are allowing opponents to hit .350 on the road with runners in scoring position.

Elias also noted that Lincecum has the second-most strikeouts of any Giants pitcher prior to turning 29 (1,395), trailing only Christy Mathewson’s 1,738.
Lincecum beat the Braves on Mother’s Day, and now tries to do it on Father’s Day. Only one starting pitcher over the last 50 years beat the same team on Mother's Day and Father's Day in the same year: the Braves’ John Burkett beat the Phillies on May 14 and June 18, 2000.

3-- Maybe Saturday will be what B.J. Upton needs to come out of his season-long slump. Upton hit a pair of home runs in the Braves’ win. Each homer came on a pitch in his sweet spot- knee-high on the inside corner.

The heat map above shows that to be Upton’s one “hot zone” this season. Dating back to the start of the 2011 season, he has a .439 batting average on pitches to that “square” within the strike zone. That’s about 140 points above the major-league average.

4--Hunter Pence is in the middle of a hot streak for the Giants. He’s 12-for-30 with two homers and eight RBI in his last seven games, pushing his season slashline to .298/.343/.517.

The early jump for Pence’s numbers this season is attributable to something that Pence had success with in 2011—hitting the outside pitch.

The chart on the right shows Pence’s numbers in at-bats that ended with a pitch on the outer-half of the plate or off the outside corner, with the key difference being an increase in extra-base hits.

5--
Should the Braves need a late-game weapon, they can hope for Evan Gattis to get a shot at getting a tying or winning hit. Gattis entered Saturday night tied for the major-league lead in home runs in the seventh inning or later with six. Each of the three players he was tied with has at least 20 more at-bats in those situations than Gattis does.

Mark Simon also contributed to this post

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