Robinson Cano and the Home Run Derby Curse
You can can breathe a little easier if you are worried about Robinson Cano tanking in the second half after winning the Home Run Derby.
There is no evidence that will happen.
The myth of the Home Run Derby curse has been profligated for years. It came to attention most starkly after Bobby Abreu’s record-setting performance in 2005. And yes, Abreu did tank that year after the Derby. In the first half of the season Abreu was hitting it out of the park once every 17.9 at-bats. After, it was just one HR per 53.7 AB. (For the record, his career average is 28.4 AB per HR.)
But beyond Abreu there is almost no evidence to support the theory of the Derby Curse. The table of every winner and leading total home run hitter is below so you can see the numbers yourself, but the only other person to suffer in any statistically significant way was Alex Rios. And he’s Alex Rios. Anyone who has owned Rios in a fantasy league knows he is one of the most inconsistent players in baseball. His career AB per HR ratio is 37, so the 20.6 AB/HR clip he was on in the first half of 2007 was the real aberration.
In total three of the eight winners/highest total actually improved their home run percentage in the second half – Ryan Howard (2006), Vlad Guerrero (2007) and Prince Fielder (2009). And of the other five, only the two mentioned previously (Abreu, Rios) had clear differences. For the most part the numbers are within just a few at-bats.
So will Cano hit just as many home runs in the second half? I have no idea. But I can assure you whether he does or doesn’t has nothing to do with his performance in Monday night’s Home Run Derby.
2005 – Bobby Abreu – winner and most HR (41 HR in Derby)
Before break: 18 HR (17.9 AB/HR)
After break: 6 HR (53.7 AB/HR)
2006 – Ryan Howard – winner and most HR (23 HR in Derby)
Before break: 28 HR (11.3 AB/HR)
After break: 30 HR (8.8 AB/HR)
(won MVP Award)
2007 – Vlad Guerrero – winner (17 HR in Derby); Alex Rios – most HR (19 HR in Derby)
Before break: 14 HR (22.2 AB/HR)
After break: 13 HR (20.2 AB/HR)
Before break: 17 HR (20.6 AB/HR)
After break: 7 HR (41.9 AB/HR)
2008 – Justin Morneau – winner (22 HR in Derby); Josh Hamilton – most HR (35 HR in Derby)
Before break: 14 HR (26.1 AB/HR)
After break: 9 HR (28.7 AB/HR)
Before break: 21 HR (18 AB/HR)
After break: 11 HR (22.5 AB/HR)
2009 – Prince Fielder – winner and most HR (23 HR in Derby)
Before break: 22 HR (14 AB/HR)
After break: 24 HR (11.8 AB/HR)
2010 – David Ortiz – winner and most HR (32 HR in Derby)
Before break: 18 HR (13.9 AB/HR)
After break: 14 HR (19.1 AB/HR)