JD Martinez, Home Run Hitting Weirdo

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

JD Martinez has hit a lot of home runs this year. He’s hit 24 to be exact, but I was afraid to type the “24” out of fear that it would be outdated by the time you read this. He’s hitting lots of home runs! Impressive home runs. People have started calling him “Just Dingers” Martinez. It’s cool.

But I started to notice something last week, and confirmed it today with a little digging. JD Martinez hits weird home runs. Allow me to explain. JD hits opposite field home runs more often than most right handed hitters. If you divide the field into three even slices, pull/center/opposite field using Baseball Savant’s batted ball angle tool, you find that among RHH this year, JD Martinez leads the pack with 9 opposite field dingers. Manny Machado is second with 6.

Now this is a bit misleading because JD has hit 24 home runs and hitting a lot of home runs will generally help you lead a lot of these lists. So let’s have a little more fun. What if we carved the field up into six slices (i.e. divide each of the three fields in half). If we do that, and look at the most-opposite-field-sixth of the field, JD Martinez leads the pack with 7 (Machado, 5).

Let’s do something even crazier. Let’s divide up those sixths three times each. Are you imagining 18 equal slices of a baseball field? Now look to the farthest right one, and JD has hit 4 HR there (Machado/Abreu, 3). He’s hit four of his homers basically inside the opposite field foul pole! That’s nuts. There have been 47 of these HR hit by RHH this year and he’s hit 9% of them.

Let’s break them down:

April 13
You remember this big one in Pittsburgh. It’s high and away and he just kind of flips it out.

May 12

Low and over the plate, but also a clear MLBAM database confusion moment. The ball is hit to RF, but the stringer must have tagged it based on where it bounced to rather than it’s landing spot. Oh well, it’s still on the first two lists!

June 21

Okay, back in business. Low and over the plate. And then hooking inside the Yankee Stadium foul pole like he’s a lefty in a contract year.

July 5

Finally, check this out from Sunday. Middle-middle, and then basically as close as you can come to not hitting it out at Comerica.

The lessons? 1) Sometimes MLBAM gets confused 2) JD Martinez hits unusual home runs and 3) Get him to the HR Derby in Cincinnati.


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