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Visualizing Home Run Champions Over the Years

A couple weeks ago, I created a visualization that overlaid the strikeout rate of every Hall of Fame pitcher on top of the average strikeout rate of the era. There were requests for a batter's version, so here it is. Click to enlarge.


Because of the wide variety of skillsets for batters, I decided to change the focus from Hall of Famers to each season's home run king, plotted over the average home run rate of the season. The graph starts in 1910. As usual, methodology notes and other observations are below the jump.

  • For the previous strikeout chart, finding the league average K/9 rate was easy. This one was considerably harder, as it was difficult to find the average home run total over a whole season. What I ended up using as a proxy was the average HR/9 rate allowed by pitchers of the season in question, multiplied by 162 games and divided by 9 lineup slots per team. It's not perfect, but it's pretty close.
  • The average home run total for a player in 2010 was 17.3. Note that this is massively above the median, since the distribution of talent in baseball is such that while there are tons of players with no power and very few with lots of it, the ones with power generally get far more playing time than those without.
  • That said...the A's had no players with above average power last season. Shouldn't exactly be surprising. The closest was Kevin Kouzmanoff with 16.