In 2009, Philadelphia’s Jayson Werth had what some might call a career year, slugging 36 home runs. However, in examining Werth's home runs over at Hit Tracker, Phillies fans should expect a little less pop from their rightfielder in 2010.
Hit Tracker puts each home run in to one of three categories:
“Just Enough” (JE): cleared the fence by 10 vertical feet or less.
“No Doubt” (ND): landed at least 50 feet past the fence.
“Plenty” (PL): every other home run.
Over the past four seasons, league-wide homers have broken down like this: 32 percent "just enough", 19 percent "no doubt", and 49 percent "plenty." In 2009, Werth hit 17 "just enough" homers, which was the most in baseball and accounted for 47 percent of his total.
Because they are closest to the fence, "just enough" homers are the most susceptible to year-to-year fluctuations. To see how Werth's total might look this season, let's look at how some other players fared the year after hitting a disproportionate number of "just enough" homers.
Barely A 30 Home Run Guy
Since 2006, 13 MLB hitters have amassed 30 or more home runs while having 40% or more JE homers. Here is the data, along with their home run totals the following year.
The overall picture here is not encouraging for Werth: 11 of these 13 seasons were followed by significant drops in power, with the players in question averaging 23 percent fewer home runs. Not only should that be concerning for Phillies fans, but also for Werth. He's headed into his walk year, and a drop in home runs would not do him any favors during contract negotiations.
Greg Rybarczyk is the creator of HitTracker