TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 2: Mike Moustakas #8 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his seventh inning grand slam with teammate Billy Butler #16 during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays July 2, 2012 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)
Robinson Cano announced his team for the 2012 All-Star Home Run Derby presented by Corporate Sponsor yesterday. It was instantly noticed by the Royal faithful that there was not a representative of the home team. There was a lot of hope that Billy Butler was going to be one of the mashers taking pot-shots at the fountains, but alas the evil Yankee infielder chose the following:
Robinson Cano (clearly a selfish pick)
Prince Fielder (a possible nod to the Royals due to first name?)
Jose Bautista (probably only chosen since he was a former Royal)
Mark Trumbo (insert something witty here)
more after the jump....
There really was a big dose of disappointment in Kansas City. Last night on the broadcast, Ryan Levebre slyly suggested that the Royals fans would boo Cano at the Home Rund derby in retaliation. The common refrain was "But Billy Butler!!" Honestly, I would like to see Butler in the Derby, but he is not the best choice, Mike Moustakas is.
I've never been anti-Home Run Derby, and even wrote last year that it's kind of a silly position to have anyway. But this year I am significantly more interested, not because I care who hits the most out of the park, but rather where those balls will land. In this and most of the Derbies, I'm looking for distance. Will somone clear the Hall-of-Fame, how many will land in the fountains and how far can a ball be hit at Kauffman stadium.
With that thought in mind, I would like to see the teams chosen to be based on who has a chance to do something special with a single swing. Thanks to the great Home Run Tracker by Greg Rybarczyk we can run some numbers to help us make that determination.
There have been 1,218 home runs hit In the American League this season. However the vast majority of these are garden variety round trippers. In order to narrow it down to find out who has truly been hitting the long bombs, I only looked at home runs which went at least 425 ft.
That provides us with a list of 181 home runs or 15% of the total. Then, just to make sure it's not a fluke I reduced the players to those who had hit at least three at that distance, which provides us with 20 potential candidates:
These players obviously have the ability to drive the ball a long way with some regularity. They might all make good candidates for the Derby team, but we don't want to see a bunch of kind of long home runs, we want a couple spectacular shots. So lets sor this list by the average distane of their 425'+ bombs and also see how many 450'+ and 460'+ bombs they have this season:
You'll instantly notice there are two Royals, one at the top of the list and one at the bottom. Also, Cano didn't do a terrible job of choosing his team based on this criteria. But what's of note to the Royal fan is not that Billy Butler deserved a berth, but rather Mike Moustakas does.
Moustakas has the longest average long-ball distance* and is the only player in Major League Baseball with multiple 460'+ bombs. The longest of which was hit last night. The other is below:
*edit: To be clear this is average distance only for those home runs hit longer than 425'
Remember that long home run by Yoenis Cespedes which we all went gaga for? Well both of Moustakas' longest hits were longer than that. The kid can hit for some legit distance and he, not Billy Butler should be the Royal representing the team in the Home Run Derby.
Edit: There has been som requests to see these long home runs. Sop here is a list of all of the 460'+ home runs this season and links to video.