Frank Thomas has become something of an anti-PED crusader since being elected into baseball's Hall of Fame, which, good for him. And now he thinks something else is wrong with baseball — home runs are flying out of the yard this season at too fast a rate, he says, and something is up.
He made his case Wednesday on Twitter:
Lets make sure this is Real!!! The Baseballs don't fly like this in April!! Trust Me the Balls are Doctored!! Enough Said!!— Frank Thomas (@TheBigHurt_35) April 9, 2014
Trust Me I have Pounded many Baseballs in April they don't carry into the seats like this!!! Nice Try!!!— Frank Thomas (@TheBigHurt_35) April 9, 2014
There's just one problem — Thomas is totally wrong. Maybe he was riding high off Tuesday night's Chicago White Sox game, where the team hit six homers en route to a 15-3 rout of the Colorado Rockies. Otherwise? Data proves homers aren't happening at a crazy rate in 2014.
This season, MLB hitters hit 195 homers in their first 7,823 at-bats (through Tuesday's games). In 2013, however, the first 7,810 at-bats gave us 250 homers. Sorry, Frank, you should have checked the Internet.
I took this a step farther and compared the past five seasons, trying to look at a similar number of games. The data is totaled day-by-day (thanks, BaseballMusings.com), so I couldn't get the at-bats to match exactly, but they're in the neighborhood. I also figured the at-bat-per-homer rate.
What have we learned? Homers are actually down at the start of the 2014 season, at the lowest rate in five years. Sorry, Frank Thomas.
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