In a press conference after the 2012 season ended, Ned Yost suggested that he wanted to see more power from the Royals in 2013. With Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and company, there seemed to be enough talent to hit some balls out of the ballpark.
So far this year, though, they haven’t found the stands very often, hitting 15 homers, tied with the Minnesota Twins for last in the American League. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas have struggled, particularly with extra base hits, Butler has hit three homers, but only hit his third double on Wednesday night so he’s not quite on track power-wise either.
Blame the cold. Blame the off days. Blame nothing. They hit 15 homers.
HitTrackerOnline.com keeps track of velocity off the bat, distance, and height of every home run in the league. It also compares those hits to every stadium and determines if a homer would be a no doubter or a lucky one, and gives a total of how many stadiums would hold the ball in the yard. It’s an interesting site to lose some time on.
Longest Royals homer in April: Alex Gordon’s grand slam off Darin Downs in Detroit. This is 443 feet of goodness.
If you’re curious, that ball was measured at 108.8 mph off the bat.
The most lucky home run, though, was actually Billy Butler’s grand slam off Cole Hamels went 364 feet and left the only stadium it could have (considering the location compared to other stadiums according to HitTrackerOnline).
While lucky (after it was ruled a homer and not a double), that turned a 4-2 deficit into a 6-4 lead and the Royals would go on to win the game. It was the most valuable homer (in regards to Win Probability Added) of the month for the Royals with .377 WPA. Next closest? The first homer off the bat of Mike Moustakas that gave the Royals a 3-2 lead on Tuesday night (.363 WPA).
Overall, right-handed batters hit nine homers (six off righties, three off lefties) while left-handed batters hit the other six (four off righties, two off lefties).
The most unlikely homer? I give that a tie.
He still hit it 399 feet, though, which is impressive considering he hasn’t really been close to that in the regular season since joining the Royals. The hit itself, though, was a no-doubt homer once it left the bat.
I’d nominate George Kottaras‘s homer in Boston as the least likely. Consider the circumstances. It was his first start of the year, and while he’s shown power before, he’d only had one plate appearance since spring training concluded. Then, when he did make contact, it was only in the air for a couple of seconds before falling over the short fence in right field. The ball reached an apex of 58 feet (the lowest homer of the month).
The Royals have a home run from every position player on the team so far except for Eric Hosmer, Miguel Tejada and Jarrod Dyson (Elliot Johnson homered Wednesday night). They’ve gotten a homer from every spot in the order except the cleanup spot. Go figure.
If the weather is, indeed, going to factor into the Royals ability to hit homers, they should be able to exceed 15 in may and beyond, but the effects of Kauffman Stadium (which suppresses homers) and some struggling hitters may keep Ned Yost from realizing dream of having a lineup loaded with 20-homer guys.