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SF Giants 2020 Statcast Review: Home Run Luck

September 25, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Mike Yastrzemski (right) hits a two-run home run against San Diego Padres catcher Austin Nola (left) during the fourth inning of game one of a double header at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
September 25, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Mike Yastrzemski (right) hits a two-run home run against San Diego Padres catcher Austin Nola (left) during the fourth inning of game one of a double header at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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SF Giants, Wilmer Flores, Rob Manfred
Wilmer Flores of the SF Giants bats against the Oakland Athletics in the top of the sixth inning at RingCentral Coliseum on September 19, 2020. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

SF Giants Possible Home Run Hits

Obviously, not all home runs are created equal. Baseball Savant superimposes every fly ball into all 30 MLB stadiums and estimates how many parks it would have been a home run in. From there, it classifies possible home runs into three categories: doubters, mostly gone, and no doubters. No doubters would be home runs in all 30 ballparks, mostly goners are out at between eight and 29 stadiums, and doubters would be home runs at between one and seven parks.

Here is a ranking of the Giants hitters by total hits that could have been a home run, per Statcast’s estimates. The total number is in parenthesis next to their name.

  1. Wilmer Flores (20)
  2. Brandon Belt (19)
  3. Mike Yastrzemski (18)
  4. Evan Longoria (15)
  5. Alex Dickerson (13)
  6. Brandon Crawford (11)
  7. Mauricio Dubon (10)
  8. Donovan Solano (8)
  9. Austin Slater (7)
  10. Joey Bart (6)
  11. Darin Ruf (6)
  12. Chadwick Tromp (4)
  13. Justin Smoak (4)
  14. Hunter Pence (3)
  15. Steven Duggar (1)
  16. Jaylin Davis (1)
  17. Tyler Heineman (1)

Be careful with these numbers. Almost all players end up with plenty more potential home run hits than actual ones. For some perspective, Corey Seager was one of the league leaders in home runs with 23 between the regular season and postseason and produced 34 potential home run balls.

These numbers suggest that Flores’ “good luck” might be a bit more sustainable with the Giants. Oracle Park has consistently favored right-handed power hitters far better than lefties. Flores hit ten balls classified as “mostly gone,” most of which would have been home runs at Oracle Park. He may be playing in a ballpark that enables him to outperform expectations.

It’s also good news for Brandon Belt, who had a career-year despite only 9 of his 19 potential home run balls leaving the yard. Crawford however, continues to see his name come up with warning signs. Only 11 of his balls in play all season could have been a home run at any ballpark. Eight of them ended up as home runs. The odds of him duplicating that level of success in 2020 is hard to envision.

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