Visualization: Tracking Home Run Flight Paths

After the doubleheader against Boston on Saturday, the A's have hit a total of 91 home runs. What do they all look like?

Hrplots500

Click to enlarge. (Another bonus chart inside after the jump!)

What can we do with all of this? Honestly, not a whole lot, at least not in a player analytical sense. But it sure is fun to play around with. Some notes:
  • The longest home run hit in an Oakland uniform in 2011 came off the bat of Josh Willingham, on July 15th. It was a 446 foot shot into the second deck of the Coliseum off of Dan Haren, above the BBQ Terrace.
  • But that shot certainly wasn't as impressive as the A's home run that reached the highest altitude: Brandon Allen's now-famous moonshot into the third deck of Yankee Stadium last week against Bartolo Colon. The short RF porch in New York made it look bigger than it actually was (a "mere" 428 feet), but the ball's flight topped out at 139 feet above the ground.
  • On the opposite side of things, the dinkiest home run by an Oakland Athletic belongs to Eric Sogard, in the same game as Allen's third decker. It only traveled 331 feet, at a pop fly-like 40.4 degrees above horizontal, and Hit Tracker Online calculates that the 331 foot estimate includes 20 feet of help by atmospherics. At sea level, indoors, in 70 degree weather? It would have only traveled 311 feet. The right field foul pole at the Coliseum sits at 330.
  • What else is there, besides distance and altitude? Launch speed. The 2011 Oakland record, unsurprisingly, belongs to Josh Willingham, on the same home run that holds the distance record. It came off of the bat at 113.7 mph. But second place? Scott Sizemore, off of Felix Hernandez in Seattle, on August 2nd. That home run was hit at an 18.2 degree angle above horizontal, at 113.0 mph. An absolute laser that left the park in a hurry, causing Felix to turn around and say to himself, "wow".

And yes, I did promise one more chart. This one was made by averaging each player's home runs (both distance and apex altitude) and plotting them all together. Quick, without looking at the legend, guess which one's Sogard!

Again, click to enlarge.

Hravgplots500

The A's send Trevor Cahill to the mound tonight to face Jeanmar Gomez of the Indians in Game 2 of the four game series. First pitch is at 4:05 PM PDT.

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