The argument has been made that September statistics are fundamentally different than statistics from the rest of the year. There's an obvious logic to this: as rosters expand and teams are eliminated, more, worse players begin to both pitch and hit as team's evaluate young players, give starts to AAA veterans and everyone generally becomes bored. It was in the spirit of considering statistics against weakened competition that I started to dig through the homerun logs for both Travis Hafner and Andy Marte. Will the signs of hope that we saw out of both players down the stretch translate into further success come April? Well, I don't know. But I did decide to see what kind of pitchers these two woebegone sluggers feasted on this season.
Andy Marte hit six homeruns for the Cleveland Indians in 2009:
|1||2009-08-25||CLE||@||KCR||Zack Greinke||behind 0-4||t 6||0||2,(1-0) BX||1||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF)|
|2||2009-08-27||CLE||@||BAL||Jim Johnson||behind 3-4||t 9||2||6,(3-2) BBBCF>X||2||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF); LaPorta Scores|
|3||2009-08-29||CLE||@||BAL||Chris Ray||behind 1-2||t 6||1||7,(3-2) CBFFBBX||3||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF Line); Valbuena Scores; LaPorta Scores|
|4||2009-09-01||CLE||@||DET||Zach Miner||behind 4-8||t 6||0||9,(3-2) .BFCBFFFBX||1||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF Line)|
|5||2009-09-05||CLE||MIN||Scott Baker||tied 0-0||b 3||0||5,(2-2) CBFBX||1||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF-CF)|
|6||2009-09-26||CLE||BAL||Jason Berken||ahead 1-0||b 4||1||1,(0-0) X||2||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF); Hafner Scores|
Looking at Marte's homeruns, the first thing I notice is that there's no argument as to where his power is: it's dead pull to left. More to our point, though, there doesn't look to be much counterfeit about Andy's power in 2009 outside of the obvious small sample caveat. The average AL pitcher in 2009 gave up 1.1 homeruns for every 9 innings pitched. Andy's victims gave up:
I don't see a story here. Marte took out a couple of really mediocre guys, a couple of decent relievers, a good pitcher with homerun issues and the best pitcher in the world. Most notable to me is the fact that all season, including in Columbus, Marte exhibited a pretty severe reverse-split, obvious here in the fact that, despite being a RHB, Marte got all six of his homeruns against righthanders.
Here's the same table for Hafner:
|1||2009-04-09||CLE||@||TEX||Eddie Guardado||behind 7-12||t 9||0||2,(1-0) .BX||1||Home Run (Line Drive to Deep RF Line)|
|2||2009-04-10||CLE||TOR||Scott Richmond||ahead 2-0||b 3||2||3,(1-1) CBX||1||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep RF Line)|
|3||2009-04-12||CLE||TOR||Brandon League||ahead 5-4||b 8||1||5,(2-2) BBFFX||2||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF); Martinez Scores|
|4||2009-04-18||CLE||@||NYY||Jose Veras||ahead 20-4||t 8||1||6,(3-2) FBBFBX||1||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF Line)|
|5||2009-06-05||CLE||@||CHW||John Danks||ahead 3-0||t 6||2||1,(0-0) X||1||Home Run (Line Drive to Deep RF)|
|6||2009-06-15||CLE||MIL||Mark DiFelice||ahead 9-7||b 6||1||4,(1-2) BSSX||3||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF); Martinez Scores; Choo Scores|
|7||2009-06-16||CLE||MIL||Carlos Villanueva||behind 3-7||b 9||1||3,(1-1) BCX||2||Home Run (Line Drive to Deep RF Line); Choo Scores|
|8||2009-06-30||CLE||CHW||Clayton Richard||behind 0-4||b 2||2||4,(2-1) BCBX||1||Home Run (Line Drive to Deep RF)|
|9||2009-07-03||CLE||OAK||Trevor Cahill||behind 0-2||b 2||1||3,(1-1) BCX||1||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF)|
|10||2009-07-24||CLE||@||SEA||Ryan Rowland-Smith||ahead 1-0||t 7||0||1,(0-0) X||2||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF); Peralta Scores|
|11||2009-07-26||CLE||@||SEA||Miguel Batista||ahead 8-2||t 6||2||3,(2-0) BBX||2||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF); Choo Scores|
|12||2009-08-22||CLE||SEA||Doug Fister||behind 1-3||b 4||1||3,(1-1) SBX||1||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF)|
|13||2009-08-24||CLE||@||KCR||Gil Meche||tied 0-0||t 4||1||4,(3-0) BBBX||3||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF); Cabrera Scores; Choo Scores|
|14||2009-09-02||CLE||@||DET||Rick Porcello||behind 1-4||t 8||0||2,(0-1) ..CX||1||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep RF)|
|15||2009-09-08 (1)||CLE||TEX||Neftali Feliz||behind 5-8||b 7||2||2,(0-1) CX||1||Home Run (Line Drive to Deep CF-RF)|
|16||2009-09-30 (1)||CLE||CHW||Carlos Torres||ahead 4-1||b 6||0||1,(0-0) X||1||Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF)|
Not a lot going on here either. The pitchers Hafner took out were giving up an average of 1.243 HR/9 and they ranged from the horrendous (Jose Veras, member 2009 Indians bullpen) to the unhittable (Neftali Feliz). It does stand out to me that Hafner still has power to all parts of the park. Hafner's splits are about where we'd expect, with 75% of his HRs (12/16) coming against righties. That's eerily in line with his career splits (123/163 HRs against RHP).
So, have we learned anything? It's hard to say. I think we can reject the idea that Marte and Hafner piled up homeruns against AAAA pitchers; at the same time, this is such a miniscule sample that we can hardly claim anything definitive in a positive direction. I'm saying Hafner's good for one about every 16 ABs and Marte will take somebody out about every 19 ABs. What do you think?