Mythbusters: Yankees Home Run Edition

The idea that the Yankees hit too many home runs has returned

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Jun 25, 2012  |  Updated 3:59 PM EDT
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Mythbusters: Yankees Home Run Edition

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The only problem with homers is the risk of pulling a muscle while circling the bases.

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The argument against the offseason decision to alter the fences at Citi Field to bring more home runs was provided in living color over the last three days.

The argument against the move was that home runs are about the team playing the games, not the stadium they call home. Citi Field is in the middle of the pack in terms of home runs, but the Mets rank 26th in all of baseball. 

That should be enough evidence, but the Yankees hitting seven home runs in the three games this weekend really drives the point home. Teams that have good power hitters hit home runs regardless of where they play and teams that don't could play in a studio apartment without putting up impressive homer numbers.

So much for Terry Collins' warnings of certain doom for the Yankees at Citi Field. When you hit the ball as far as Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez did this weekend, ballparks don't matter.

Perceptions do matter, though, and that's why we're hearing a repeat of last season's complaints that the Yankees hit too many home runs. You may roll your eyes and maybe even sigh a little bit, but people are still devoted to the notion that there's somehow something better about four singles in a row than a walk, a single and a three-run homer.

Part of that is undoubtedly because of the Yankees' poor numbers with runners in scoring position this season. Bad as those numbers are, though, the Yankees rank fifth in baseball in runs scored and lead the most competitive division in all the game.

What's more, the Yankees also have a more complete offense than their opposition. They get on base more often, hit for more power and have a higher batting average than their opposition.

The Yankees score a ridiculous percentage of their runs via the long ball -- 52.5 percent, which would be the second-highest mark in history -- but, outside of preconceived notions about styles of play, there's no sign there's anything negative about that approach.

A-Rod, Cano, Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira are all veterans who have built their games around power and patience at the plate. That means a lot of walks, a lot of homers and not a lot of the rallies that seem to be the platonic baseball ideal for some Yankee watchers.

Of course, it's a pretty safe bet that the same complainers today would be up in arms if the Yankees were near the bottom of the league in home runs, even if they were scoring the same amount of runs and winning the same amount of games. With the Yankees, it can be hard to determine what's a legit concern and what's just the result of being spoiled by years of winning.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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