The Month in Review: May

Reds Nix celebrates with his team after hitting a walk off home run against the Mets in Cincinnati

Two months into the season, four more to go. It’s been an interesting year, eh?

As I did at the end of April, I wanted to take a little time here to see how things are working out so far in the world of home run trots. As I said then:”

I started this series because I thought it’d be a fun way to watch the season. It hasn’t disappointed yet. Watching every home run, and seeing how every player runs out their home runs, has given me a new way to enjoy the game. Is he running hard out of the box? Does he throttle it down halfway between first and second when he sees the ball clear the fence? Or does he put his head down and run hard for all 360 feet?

That still holds true. Noticing the differences in 1,500+ home runs gives you a different take on the game. Nothing major, of course, but a little different.

I can’t talk about the month in review without mentioning the buzz the site has gotten. The David Ortiz 30-second trot was a huge deal, of course, with seemingly everyone talking about it for a few days. The fact that players in the clubhouse were asked directly about it, and then that folks on ESPN talked about it on-air, was pretty sweet. But not all the buzz was because of that. The USA Today appearance, for example, came well before Papi took his stroll. It’s been fun. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has to offer.

Let’s get to the data. All stats below are as of home runs hit on June 4 (this is a few days late, after all). If a home run trot was deemed unmeasurable (like David Ortiz‘s reviewed home run or Marco Scutaro‘s pause at second base while the umpires decide if the ball was over the fence or not), it was not included in any of the calculations. I think there’s some interesting stuff in there.

This spreadsheet provides full player and team stats.

(Click “Read More” to continue reading.)

General Stats

There have been over 1,500 measurable home runs since the start of the season by 348 different players (that’s nearly 900 home runs hit by 290 players since May 1). The four fastest home runs are still inside-the-park home runs, while Oakland’s Adam Rosales holds the three fastest non-inside-the-park trot times. Cincinnati’ Chris Heisey holds the next two fastest non-IPHR times, meaning the top 5 spots belong to only two people.

The big news, of course, was David Ortiz breaking the 30-second barrier on May 24. That made a whole lot of noise around the league (newspaper mentios, sports radio mentions, Sports Illustrated and “Around the Horn” appearance…), but it’s not all that egregious – especially when you consider that he currently holds 7 of the 8 slowest trots of the year (only Alex Gonzalez‘s “I missed first base and have to run back” home run interrupts the clean sweep).

In the chart below, you can find data about the home runs hit since the start of the season, broken into various categories (because this post is a few days late, it includes home runs hit through June 4). As was the case through April, solo shots tend to have quicker trot times, with the more runners on base leading to more trot time. Grand slams are still the slowest, but is that a function of the runners on base or a function of the guys who tend to hit grand slams? I’ve also given data for walkoff and “late inning, go-ahead” home runs (defined as home runs in the seventh inning or later that give the batting team the lead). These categories, in theory, would be prime “showboating” opportunities.

# HRs Average
Trot Time
Fastest
Trot Time
Slowest
Trot Time
Standard
Deviation
All Home Runs 1528 21.96 14.48 30.59 2.09
Solo Home Runs 873 21.71 14.48 30.59 2.02
2-Run Home Runs 442 22.24 14.75 29.28 2.19
3-Run Home Runs 172 22.32 16.48 29.07 2.03
Grand Slams 41 22.92 18.98 27.73
Walkoff Home Runs 30 22.88 19.67 28.9
Late-Inning, Go-Ahead 103 22.27 17.64 28.9

The Fastest Trotters

To determine the fastest and slowest trotters in baseball, I took all players with three or more measurable home runs and averaged their trot times. There are many more players with that total now than there were in April, but I don’t want to lower the threshold. I want this to be a list of the fastest trotters, not just the fastest trotters who also have 10 home runs. I’m stoked that Adam Rosales has hit two more this month because it shows that his trot times aren’t flukes. The only reason he even has a 17-second trot is because there were two people on base already.

Scott Rolen remaining in third place despite 13 home runs is remarkable. You have to figure that, with every additional home run, a runner has that much more opportunity to slow down. Rolen is among the home run leaders in the game and still has the third quickest trot in baseball. That’s no fluke. Marlon Byrd is the next quickest prolific slugger, with seven home runs and an 18.77 second average trot.

Jason Heyward has fallen out of the top 10, but is still at a very respectable 13th, with 10 home runs and a 19.27 second average.

Player # Hrs Average
Trot Time
Fastest
Trot Time
Slowest
Trot Time
1. Adam Rosales, OAK 4 16.49 sec. 15.86 17.74
2. Angel Pagan, NYM 4 17.88 sec. 14.48 19.45
3. Scott Rolen, CIN 13 18.26 sec. 17.59 18.86
4. Eric Patterson, OAK 4 18.29 sec. 17.57 18.78
5. Curtis Granderson, NYY 3 18.42 sec. 17.75 18.98

The Slowest Trotters

Like I said above, this list finds the average trot time of players with three or more measurable home runs. David Ortiz is no surprise, of course, though his lead of nearly 2-seconds slower than the next slowest runner may surprise a few. Juan Rivera was the second slowest in April, and continues to be so. I wonder if Angels fans would have been able to guess that.

Vlad Guerrero and Miguel Cabrera are just off the list at 6th and 7th, but definitely deserve a mention. With 12 and 16 home runs apiece, they’ve earned that slow title a lot more than Ronny Paulino.

Player # Hrs Average
Trot Time
Fastest
Trot Time
Slowest
Trot Time
1. David Ortiz, BOS 11 27.69 sec. 24.0* 30.59
2. Juan Rivera, LAA 8 25.93 sec. 23.84 27.17
3. Carlos Lee, HOU 7 25.91 sec. 25.15 26.36
4. Manny Ramirez, LAD 4 25.75 sec. 24.54 27.57
5. Ronny Paulino, FLA 3 25.69 sec. 24.79 26.52

The Quickest Teams

For the quickest teams, I averaged the trot times of all home runs hit by a team’s players. Chris Heisey‘ two trots, then, are counted in Cincinnati’s average. If you’ve been reading the daily postings, it should come as little surprise to see the Reds at the top of the list. With Rolen, Votto, and everybody else, that team is admirably quick. The A’s and Braves are also no brainers, considering how Rosales, Patterson, Heyward and everyone else they have. The Reds and A’s switched places from April.

The Mets are a bit surprising, even considering Angel Pagan‘s inside-the-park-influenced average time. But when your slowest trotter is Rod Barajas (unsurprising) and his average trot time is only 23.88 seconds, that’s doing pretty well.

Team # Hrs Average
Trot Time
Fastest
w/3+ HRs
Slowest
w/3+ HRs
1. Cincinnati Reds 70 20.36 sec. Single Trot: 17.11 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Scott Rolen (18.26)

Single Trot: 28.9 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Orlando Cabrera (25.26)
2. Oakland Athletics 39 20.72 sec. Single Trot: 15.86 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Adam Rosales (16.49)

Single Trot: 25.86 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Kevin Kouzmanoff (22.04)
3. Atlanta Braves 44 21.28 sec. Single Trot: 17.18 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Jason Heyward (19.27)

Single Trot: 24.33 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Nate McLouth (23.11)
4. New York Mets 43 21.43 sec. Single Trot: 14.48 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Angel Pagan (17.88)

Single Trot: 26.4 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Rod Barajas (23.88)
5. Tampa Bay Rays 48 21.50 sec. Single Trot: 17.96 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Ben Zobrist (19.54)

Single Trot: 26.28 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Willy Aybar (23.22)

* Fastest/Slowest individual trot times for players with 3 or more home runs

The Slowest Teams

And here we have the slowest teams. The Angels are the only team or player to remain in the same position as they were at the end of April. There just aren’t any quick trotters over there, and it’s not like they have Vlad Guerrero slowing them down. The Royals and Tigers were also on the list in April, but at 2nd and 4th, respectively. The Astros actually dropped from the quickest list to the slowest list, but that is easily explained by their jump from 9 home runs in April to 31 through June 4. The Red Sox, maybe surprisingly, sneak only into fifth place. With Papi hitting so many bomb last month, you might expect them to be higher.

Team # Hrs Average
Trot Time
Fastest Slowest
1. Los Angeles
Angels
61 23.26 sec. Single Trot: 19.04 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Howie Kendricks (19.98)

Single Trot: 27.17 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Juan Rivera (25.93)
2. Detroit Tigers 47 22.81 sec. Single Trot: 19.2 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Johnny Damon (20.49)

Single Trot: 27.89 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Miguel Cabrera (25.52)
3. Kansas City
Royals
43 22.81 sec. Single Trot: 15.71 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
David DeJesus (19.53)

Single Trot: 28.36 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Jose Guillen (25.29)
4. Houston Astros 31 22.56 sec. Single Trot: 18.86 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Hunter Pence (20.26)

Single Trot: 27.28 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Carlos Lee (25.91)
5. Boston Red Sox 75 22.55 sec. Single Trot: 19.25 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
Darnell McDonald (20.06)

Single Trot: 30.59 sec.
Player* (Avg Trot):
David Ortiz (27.69)

* Fastest/Slowest individual trot times for players with 3 or more home runs

Larry Granillo

About Larry Granillo

Larry Granillo has been writing Wezen Ball since 2008 and has dealt with such touchy topics as Charlie Brown's baseball stats and Ferris Bueller's day off. In 2010, he got the bright idea to time every home run trot in baseball; he has been missing ever since.

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