Los Angeles Dodgers fans at this point must have PTSD from their players competing in the home run derby. Joc Pederson last year, Yasiel Puig in 2o14, and Matt Kemp in 2012 and 2011 have all participated in the home run derby to varying levels of success. Corey Seager can now add his name to that list and that doesn’t sit well with some fans out there.
In his debut Seager hit 15 home runs before falling to Mark Trumbo in the first-round 16-15. Seager is the 9th rookie to participate in the HR Derby.
Corey Seager's 15 HR already ranks as 2nd-best #Dodgers performance ever in HR Derby. (Joc Pederson hit 36. Yasiel Puig hit 0.)
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) July 12, 2016
There is long held belief that participating in the home run derby will ruin the players swing and mess with their head and get them out of whatever grove they were in beforehand. On surface level, I believe it’s inherently ridiculous to think that going out and trying to hit as many home runs as possible when hitting home runs is a primary facet of your employment is ridiculous. To assume that the only reason a player could cool off in the second half of a season is because of a silly exhibition that is purely for fun just doesn’t make sense to me.
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There are too many factors that come into play in the second act of the MLB season.
What about the fact that there are more games before the All-Star break than after? What about the fact that as the season drags on, players are less and less likely to be fully healthy? What about the fact that some of the games intensity is magnified due to playoff implications?
What about September call-ups and all the extra players getting some run and taking away potential at-bats?
There are so many other reasons for a player to have worse stats in the second half of the season than the first, I really can’t wrap my head around blaming the home run derby. But, many people disagree with that train of thought. Bill Plaschke of the LA Times is amongst those who were very wary of allowing the young superstar to participate in the derby.
Bill Plaschke does not support Corey Seager's decision to take part in the Home Run Derby. https://t.co/ZJDFl5P4JY
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) July 8, 2016
In the article, Plaschke points to Pederson‘s second half collapse last year as well as the dip the Puig took after his no home run performance in 2014. But, he fails to mention either of Matt Kemp’s appearances in the derby and how he performed after the fact. So let’s take a quick look at Matt Kemp’s power stats before and after his two showings in the home run derby.
- Pre-derby: 22 HR’s, 67 RBI’s, .584 Slugging, 92 games played
- Post-derby: 17 HR’s, 59 RBI’s, .590 Slugging, 69 games played
- Pre-derby: 12 HR’s, 28 RBI’s, .719 Slugging, 36 games played
- Post-derby: 11 HR’s, 41 RBI’s, .461 Slugging, 70 games played
In 2011, the argument can be made that Kemp performed even better after the All-Star break, putting up more or less the same stats despite playing in 23 fewer games. In 2012 its a little more murky and his stats don’t exactly jump off the page, but it’s not as though his production fell off a cliff. Only time will tell how Seager responds to his four and a half minutes in this years derby.
So it’s not entirely unfair for Dodgers fans to be worried about Seager, even though if you watched any game of his so far this season you already know there’s no need for panic. But I believe this concern that has been shown by fans is more a symptom of a couple Dodgers players having issues after participating than a widespread trend.
[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”newwindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-news-2016-star-break-review-video/2016/07/14/”]Dodgers News: Jansen and Seager Talk About First All-Star Game Appearances | VIDEO[/button]
However, what about the rest of the players that have been in the derby as well? If every player did as poorly in the second half of the season as Dodgers fans have seen their players do, there would more than likely be outrage around the league calling for the abolition of the derby.
But there is no such outrage because it is just as likely that a player will put up similar or better stats then worse after the home run derby. Out of the 50 players who were in the derby from 2010-2015, 22 did better or more or the less the same, 22 did worse and there were 6 special cases.
[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”newwindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/comparing-two-great-time-dodgers-teams/2016/07/06/”]Comparing Two Great All-Time Dodgers Teams, Who’s Side Are You On?[/button]
All of these numbers go towards one main point:
Seager is going to be fine.
There is no reason to believe from what we have seen from the young superstar so far in his career that he will be fazed by something like this. Despite only being 22, he already has the composure and look of a seasoned veteran. Based on the past 6 derby results, there is about a 50% chance that he will finish the season in the same way that he has started it or even better.
So, if you want, feel free to worry and keep the doomsday predictions coming just because Pederson and Puig were in the group of the players that weren’t able to replicate their success. If for some reason Seager’s production does dip, feel free to blame me for jinxing him and for submarining the Dodgers season *furiously knocks on wood that this doesn’t happen*.
I’ll take the more optimistic approach and venture to guess that worst case scenario Seager will put up basically the same numbers that he did in the first half and everyones worries and fears can be quelled. If and when this does happen, all the pitchforks and torches can be put away and we can all look forward to next years derby, where hopefully he’ll be the one doing the eliminating and we can watch him for more than one round.
Dodgers Nation TV: Dodgers History Save No. 162
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