• The Two Sides Of Damon’s 200th Homer

    Posted by on July 29th, 2009 · Comments (5)

    I just noticed this on Pete Abe’s blog today, about Johnny Damon:

    With his 200th career homer on Monday, Johnny Damon is now one of 14 players all-time with at least 200 homers, 300 steals and 2,000 hits. The only other active player is Bobby Abreu. The list also includes Hall of Famers Rickey Henderson, Willie Mays, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan and Ryne Sandberg.

    It’s funny, just yesterday, Lee Sinins told me that Johnny Damon is the only player in history to hit 200+ HR and be more than 50 HR worse than the league average:

    Johnny Damon	-54	200	254
    Roberto Alomar	-48	210	258
    Paul Molitor	-44	234	278
    Derek Jeter	-38	217	255
    Craig Biggio	-23	291	314
    Marquis Grissom	-19	227	246
    Robin Yount	-12	251	263
    Buddy Bell	-7	201	208
    Rick. Henderson	-5	297	302
    Brooks Robinson	-2	268	270

    Sorta like being a fly on the wall during an arbitration hearing, huh?

    Comments on The Two Sides Of Damon’s 200th Homer

    1. Evan3457
      July 29th, 2009 | 4:26 pm

      What does “50 home runs worse than average” mean?

    2. Corey
      July 29th, 2009 | 4:28 pm

      during Damon’s playing carreer, the league average for homer totals was 254. Damon hit 200. He is therefore 54 “home runs worse than average”

    3. July 29th, 2009 | 4:37 pm

      Actually, it means an average player, playing as much as Damon, hit 254 while he hit 200.

    4. Corey
      July 29th, 2009 | 4:47 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      thats what I had intended to mean haha

    5. Evan3457
      July 29th, 2009 | 5:57 pm

      Hmmm, O.K.

      Well, in my opinion, that measure is of dubious evaluative value. (But perhaps it’s not meant to be evaluative…) Let me explain why.

      First of all, for a player to “play as much as Damon has”, he already has to be at least a “good” player. If you look at that list, you’ll see that EVERY player on it, with the arguable exception of Marquis Grissom, was an All-Star caliber championship-level starting player. (Grissom made the All-Star team twice, and was in the top 10 in MVP voting twice, but when looked as a whole, his career indicates that he was an average starter, at best, with a couple of decent peak years.) Those players on the list who were not outstanding hitters were good hitters with Gold Glove fielding capability (like Bell and Brooks Robinson).

      If Damon has “below average power” for a player at his position, or his time, then for him to play as much as he has means he has to be outstanding at other aspects of the game, and he is. I need not review them here, most already know him well.

      Now, if this is not meant to be evaluative of anything other then some nebulous form of “relative power”, then it’s a nice “boutique” stat, but doesn’t mean much.

      Here’s another form of relative power: isolated power relative to the league average:

      The AL isolated power (Slugging percentage minus batting average) for the time Damon has been in the AL, prorated for his plate appearances in each season, is .160. That is, the AL, in Damon’s time, has a collective slugging percentage that is .160 above its collective batting average. Damon’s isolated power for his career is .150. Damon has had slightly less than average power in his career, and is NOT the lowest of any player whose career is as long as his. (Jeter’s ISO power in his time is .142, for example, and his career is almost exactly the same years as Damon. Damon was up for longer in 1995.)

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