I started writing this post about a week after the start of free agency. It ended up on the back burner as the Mets off season took on a life and a news cycle of its own. This morning, I came across an excellent blog post by Mike Silva of NYBD on this very subject which inspired me to go through all of my unfinished drafts.
What originally motivated me to research and write a piece like this was the Mets’ futility in the longball department, coupled with the incessant chants in defense of the Mets, that you don’t need homeruns to score runs and win ballgames. A concept that I could never quite understand or agree with.
The following chart will show a decade’s worth of data that I compiled on team homeruns. It illustrates each years best and worst homerun totals by team and compares them to their rank in runs scored.
As you can see, the team with the lowest homerun total each season consistently ranks among the bottom five teams in runs scored and ranked last 40% of the time. None of the teams listed made the post season. Although I have yet to finish compiling the data for each year, early indications are that the power outage seems to directly correlate with their rank in home park attendance as well.
When you take a look at the annual homerun “leaders” by team, the results are staggering. Every team on our list ranked in the top ten in runs scored and 70% of those teams ranked in the top five. Three of these teams went onto the post season.
The teams with the lowest homerun totals finished in last place or second to last place in 9 of the 10 seasons. The teams with the most homeruns, never had a last place finish and finished first in their division three times with the Brewers finishing in second in 2007.
The Mets 95 homeruns had the second lowest homerun total of the decade, edged out by the Giants who hit 94 in 2008. A big MMO shout-out to Daniel Murphy and Jeff Francoeur for both hitting two-run homers in the last series of the season against the Houston Astros to keep the Mets from owning that dubious honor.
So what does all of this data prove? I don’t really have an answer to that question, but it certainly deflates the argument that you don’t need homeruns to win ballgames and go to the post season.