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Visualizing Home Run Pitch Locations

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An interactive visualization looking at where home runs were pitched in the strike zone by hitter, pitch type, distance, speed, and damage.

Leon Halip

The following visualization is brought to you by ESPN Home Run Tracker, Baseball-Reference, and Baseball Savant. I combined data from each of these websites to show the pitch locations of home runs hit in 2012. You can look at specific hitters, pitch types, home run damage (Read about that here if you are behind the times), distance, speed off bat, and RBI.

Hovering over a point gives you more information about it like the play information, date, leverage index, and win probability added. The values at the top of each graph update to show what percentage of home runs hit by each hand fall into that category. If two home runs were hit by the same player on the same day, both of them are missing from this data.

I included RBI on this visualization to compare solo, two-run, three-run and grand slam home runs. This is how they break down in percentage hit:

Home Run LHH RHH
Solo 57.6% 57.1%
2-Run 29.8% 30.3%
3-Run 10.0% 10.9%
Grand Slam 2.7% 1.7%

When checking switch-hitters, I noticed that Mark Teixeira's home runs were hit on pitches on the outside part of the plate. He still pulls most of his home runs, though.

The most damaging home runs (HRD greater than 4) by left-handed hitters were all on the inside part of the strike zone, but for right-handed hitters, they are spread around much more.

Play around with this and see what you find and bring it up in the comments.

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Chris St. John is a writer for Beyond the Box Score and Steal of Home.

You can follow him on twitter @stealofhome.

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