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Study shows participating in Home Run Derby doesn't lead to poor second half

Jul 9, 2010, 10:47 AM EDT

There’s a perception that participating in the Home Run Derby makes a player more likely to have a poor second half, with the people who put forth that argument focusing on a handful of prominent cases for support.
However, as Derek Carty of The Hardball Times showed in a study last year, reality doesn’t match perception:

Despite conventional wisdom, it doesn’t look like derby participants play any worse in the second half of the season (on the whole). If you’re looking for the results in terms of percentages, 57 percent of derby participants outperform their projections in the second half.

He also found that even when participants advance to the later rounds of the Home Run Derby or hit an exceptional number of homers during the contest “we still don’t see any signs of a second-half decline” from the whole sample size being studied.
I’m just fine with players turning down Home Run Derby invites for whatever reasons–because, really, who cares?–but to blame the contest any time a participant has a poor second half is off base.

  1. Jonny5 - Jul 9, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    How does it kill a players second half? It’s just a glorified batting practice, players do it every day before a game, hit ball outta the park. That’s a lame myth.

  2. scatterbrian - Jul 9, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    I never realized this was such a heated controversy. While Carty’s study shows it to be a myth, I have a hard time trusting it when it’s using projections as a foundation. I also don’t think the point is absolutely about first half vs. second half. Participating in the derby might screw up a player’s swing for one series, or for two weeks. Regardless of whether or not it’s true or rational, if a player for my team believes that, I’d prefer he sit it out.

    And Jonny5, this really isn’t the same as what players do before a game. BP is for loosening up, working out kinks, and getting your timing. HR derby is essentially about hitting the ball as far as you can, and dudes overexert themselves. Some of these guys are sweating buckets halfway through. I’ve never see guys toweling off during BP.

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