(CBS) This is either a highly intriguing nugget unearthed by cutting-edge technology in baseball or simply the most pointless fact you could come up with in a game in which the difference between greatness and your ticket to the real world can be one-eighth of an inch. It depends on your view.
Either way, White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has been tabbed the “champion of the cheap home run” by the Wall-Street Journal because 13 of his MLB-leading 30 homers have “barely gotten over the wall,” according to Hit Tracker, which documents home run data.
Such homers are classified by Hit Tracker as “just enough homers,” which means the ball cleared the fence by less than 10 vertical feet or it landed less than one fence height past the fence. The most “just enough” homers in a season since the website started tracking round trippers in 2006 came from the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, who in 2007 had 19 of his 54 homers that barely cleared the fence.
Four of Abreu’s homers this season have also been tabbed as “lucky,” meaning they wouldn’t have been gone on a 70-degree day with calm winds, the WS-J reported.
This season, two of Abreu’s homers have been considered “no doubters” — which means the ball cleared the fence by at least 20 vertical feet and landed at least 50 feet past the fence.
Does any of this matter? We suspect White Sox fans will resoundingly say no, and with good reason. On the flip side, sabermetricians will likely contend that Abreu’s home run pace will fall off.
Whatever the case, Abreu’s six-year, $68-million contract was worthwhile, whether the homers came easily or not.