Today we’ll continue on yesterday’s theme about the Mets’ need to add more home run power to their offense.

Whenever you say something like the Mets don’t hit enough homers, inevitably someone will say something like – I want the team to be able to score in a variety of ways. Thanks Captain Obvious! That was really helpful. Of course, a team should be able to score in a variety of ways. You could be the best home-run-hitting team ever, blowing away the 2019 Twins mark of 307 HR, and if you only scored when you hit a home run, you’d have a losing record, one closer to 100 losses than 82.

Now that we know a team cannot live on HR alone, what we need is context. What percentage of runs scored via the HR ball is average? Let’s use 2022 totals to date. So far, there have been 12,582 runs scored in MLB. How many have come via the HR? There have been 3, 114 HR breaks down as follows:

Solo – 1,759 (56%)
1 on – 925 (30%)
2 on – 356 (11%)
3 on – 74 (2%)

So, that’s 4,973 runs this year that have come from homers. That works out to 39.5 or 40% of runs come on homers on a league-wide rate. The Yankees have hit the most HR in baseball so far, with 165 HR, with 271 runs scoring on homers. They’ve scored 520 runs – also the most in the majors – so 52% of their runs have scored via the HR. So, in 2022, average is to score 40% of your runs on homers and the best-hitting HR team in the league scores 52% on homers. There’s your context.

The 2022 Mets have scored 447 runs, hit 93 HR and have 158 of their runs coming via the homer. That’s 35% of their runs coming via the home run, which is below average and significantly below the Yankees.

Average compared to all 30 MLB teams is one thing. But how do they compare to the teams they’re competing for in the playoff race? Here are the numbers for all eight teams with a winning record in the NL:

Team Empty 1 on 2 on 3 on Total HR HR Runs Total Runs Non-HR Runs
Braves 93 42 14 2 151 227 462 235
Brewers 67 46 14 3 130 213 442 229
Cardinals 50 39 14 1 104 174 445 271
Dodgers 79 31 12 1 123 181 487 306
Giants 61 34 14 5 114 191 450 259
Mets 50 24 16 3 93 158 447 289
Padres 41 25 13 1 80 134 419 285
Phillies 76 29 16 2 123 190 438 248
  517 270 113 18 918 1468 3590 2122

In somewhat of a surprise, the percentage of runs scored via the HR is essentially the same among the best teams as it is overall, with the best teams having 41% of their runs on homers. Of course, two of the poorer teams in this metric are the Mets and the Padres and they both have winning records. Are they the exceptions that prove the rule or are they proof that you can survive without a HR-heavy offense? I don’t know. But let’s look at all eight of these teams in this way:

Braves – 49%
Cardinals – 39%
Dodgers – 37%
Giants – 42%
Mets – 35%
Padres – 32%
Phillies – 43%

Since the Dodgers are below average in percentage of runs scored via home run, you might conclude that this doesn’t matter. But the Dodgers have been a touch unlucky, with 64% of their homers being solo shots, compared to 56% in MLB. It’s not that the Dodgers are a poor HR-hitting team, as they’ve hit the 5th-most dingers in the majors. They’ve just hit more than their fair share of solo shots.

And the Mets are nearly a mirror image. They’ve hit just the 19th-most homers in the majors and have fewer than league-average solo homers, with a 53% rate.

Let’s do one last chart, with this one showing how the Mets have fared this year versus the good teams in how runs are scored:

Team HR Runs Other Total Runs Record
Braves 9 15 24 4-3
Brewers 3 8 11 2-1
Cardinals 9 28 37 5-2
Dodgers 8 7 15 2-2
Giants 11 44 4-3
Padres 4 19 23 2-4
Phillies 20 46 66 9-3
  64 156 220

The MLB average this year is for 40% of your runs to score via the HR ball. The Mets’ average against all of MLB is 35%. But against the best teams, it falls to 29%. This puts pressure on the team not only to come thru with a high BABIP but also to string hits together against the better pitchers in the league. We saw what happened in the first two games of the Padres series when they were facing top pitchers and the HR ball was absent. And we saw what happened when Pete Alonso belted a 3-run homer in the third game, the only one they won. Anecdotally, the entire team seemed to loosen up once Alonso delivered the big blow.

The top five teams in homers in the NL are: Braves, Brewers. Dodgers, Phillies and Giants. All of those teams are competing for playoff spots.

The Mets are 46-16 in games in which they hit a HR and 13-21 when they don’t leave the park. Finally, on the flip side, the Mets’ pitching has been really good this year. But in 28 of their 37 losses, they’ve allowed a home run. At the end of the day, the way to beat good pitching is to hit homers. And that’s only going to get more important once the playoffs arrive and they no longer get to face the Braxton Garrett’s and Martin Perez’ of the world. Instead, you’ll be facing the top pitchers. Among those pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the leaderboards, 16 of the top 20 in fWAR have a BABIP below .300, meaning it’s tougher to string hits together against them in order to get runs without a homer. And 15 of those 20 are on teams with a record of .500 or greater.

10 comments on “How many runs does a good team score via the HR?

  • ChrisF

    Hold it, are you saying that if the Mets hit more HR, say even to the average of the listed cohort (115 HR) that they will score more runs and win more games?

    No, no, thank you Captain Obvious!

    The Mets invested in Escobar, Canha, and Marte to give that power, so its not like they didnt *try* to hit more HR. If you split that 22 HR (to get to average) between those three players, so 7 more each, which hardly seems unreasonable to have predicted, the team would be right in the thick of the HR count.

    • Brian Joura

      Indeed, what they tried didn’t work. So, they can hope for some type of regression with the 3 free agent signees (along with Nimmo, to some extent) or they can try to import more home runs. Watching the ABs it seems like regression is wishful thinking.

    • TexasGusCC

      LOL, brutal Chris!

      Brian, this was great work and eye opening for me. I didn’t realize that scoring meter and now I see why the Mets needed Vogelbach and probably one more. To Chris’ point, Escobar has half his homeruns for the right and half from the left: very balanced! Except that 69% of his plate appearances have been from the left side. His HR% this year: one per 43 at bats from the left, and one 19 at bats from the right. His career numbers: one every 33 at bats from the left, and one every 27 from the right. So, he is better and worse. But, I really love that 0.0 bWAR.

      On Cahna and Marte, they are producing so I can’t qualm with how they produce. But, having DH’s that won’t hit and catchers that are an embarrassment are more of the problem than Escobar. He just isn’t having a good year yet.

      • Brian Joura

        Thanks for the kind words, Gus!

        One of the biggest issues is when people listen – or in this case, read – not to understand, but to reply. It always makes me very happy when someone proves the opposite.

  • Metsense

    The Mets at the start of season, according to career numbers, penciled in Alonso their 45+ homerun hitter; Lindor as their 28+ homerun hitter; Escobar and Canha their 20+ homerun hitters; Marte, Nimmo, McNeil, Davis, Smith and McCann their 15+ homerun hitters. Nobody is putting up their expected career numbers. Vogelbach will replace Smith. Drury would replace Davis and also reduce Escobar playing time. Contreras would replace McCann.
    Bell, Mancini, Cruz or Martinez would provide more homerun power than Davis but they are not versatile, especially when they have Vogelbach. The article supports the Mets obtaining another homerun hitter. Drury and/or Contreras would be the most Metsense.

    • TexasGusCC

      Please no Drury, please. Metsense, check his splits, he sucks anywhere except the Queen City.

      • Metsense

        I checked:
        11 HR in 188 AB, 17.09 HR/AB , 147 sOPS+ at Home
        8 HR in 158 AB, 19.75 HR/AB, 120 sOPS+ Away
        So, if Drury plays no games in the Great American Smallpark he still would the third best OPS+ (120) on the Mets behind Alsono and Marte. He would have 17 HR instead of 19 HR behind only Alsono.
        Gus, Drury doesn’t suck, he would he an asset!

  • Mike W

    Brian, I love your insight. It would be interesting to see what the analysis would look like, if you subtracted Alonso’s home runs.

    I am rooting for the Mets to get Contreras and Robertson.

    • TexasGusCC

      So are the Cubs! They loved Pete Armstrong! Now they probably are coming for second helpings!

    • Brian Joura

      Alonso’s HR breakdown:

      Solo – 10
      1 on – 7
      2 on – 6
      3 on – 2

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