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Home run or bust

Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bombs


There exists a growing mythos in baseball that says that there are too many home runs. The actual number is not concrete, never quantified nor established as a baseline, but the game today features too many. Studio analysts and talk radio jockeys, Twitter accounts with far too many numbers in their handles, and the more reactionary writers all decry the loss of the .350 hitter and the continually expanding 30 home run club. It’s remarkable the speed and effectiveness with which this belief has taken root, and challenged all attempts to disprove it.

The lack of real push-back against this growing mythos has in fact moved baseball’s own Overton window such that fans casually accept it. Rather than having a real debate about the merits of the home run, people simply accept there are too many, and the burden of proof shifts. Instead of having to prove that there are too many home runs, the defending side must now prove there aren’t.

We’re here to do just that. We believe that there aren’t too many home runs in baseball, that arguing a team is too reliant on dingers is as nonsensical as saying the Golden State Warriors are too reliant on the three-point shot. We believe that the Yankees hitting home runs is good, and should continue, and should increase. We’ll go from the highest level data down to the granular, game-to-game experiences. When we’re done, hopefully we can push that Overton window back to neutral. The rest — how much the mythos changes — will be up to you.

Three individual stories make up the series. They cover a trio of related, but distinct, topics. On Monday afternoon, we will examine how well home run reliance correlates with good offense. The question of home run hitting in the playoffs gets addressed on Wednesday morning. The project wraps up on Friday with a close look at the power profile of Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres.

We included a full tracker of the posts here for easy access. As each story publishes, the link will go live.

No, the Yankees don’t hit too many home runs (Monday, November 19)
The Yankees’ home run strategy is perfect for the playoffs (Wednesday, November 21)
Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres aren’t selling out for power (Friday, November 23)

The idea for this series came together in the days following the Yankees’ departure from the ALDS. What followed was nearly a month of intense research, writing, rewriting, debating, and some more rewriting.

As the authors of the pieces, we enjoy a byline for our efforts. The series would not be possible, however, without the hard work of several individuals behind the scenes. Our many thanks go out to Tanya Bondurant, former Pinstripe Alley head honcho and current SB Nation MLB League Manager, for supporting this project from day one. John Ness, Director of Team Brands, and the SB Nation support desk played critical roles in providing the special format for these posts.

Caitlin Rogers meticulously combed through each story, improving clarity and sparing us from a number of embarrassing errors. Last, but not least, Dan Brink created the accompanying art work and advertisements for the series. You may not see his name around here much, but you definitely know his designs.

This series represents an ambitious leap for Pinstripe Alley. It’s one of the most sweeping projects we’ve ever tackled. Like the Yankees batters, we hope to succeed by aiming high and swinging for the fences.

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