At 35 years young, Johnny Damon is hitting for more power than he ever has before. While Damon has always been a player with a little pop, his game has long been about hitting for average and making things happen with his legs. His career isolated power is .151, this season he’s up to a robust .237. I think it’s safe to say that there is at least one Yankee that really enjoys his new digs.
It should come as no great surprise that 17 of Damon’s 24 homers have come at the New Yankee Stadium, which in it’s inaugural season has proven to be quite the hitter’s park. With the help of the ever-resourceful site HitTracker, we can further examine Damon’s ‘power spike’.
Talk about a dead pull hitter. The average true distance of a major league homer is 399 feet and the calculated speed of the ball as it left the bat is 103.6 MPH. Damon’s average distance is 380 feet per homer and his speed off the bat is 101.7 MPH. Does that mean a lot of cheapies for Damon? Hit Tracker actually helps us classify homers further, putting all big flies in four self-explanatory different bins: “Just Enoughs”, “Plentys”, “No Doubts” and “Luckys”.
Using those classifications, Damon has had one lucky homer at the New Yankee Stadium, four homers that had just enough on them to leave the yard, eight homers that were out by plenty and four no-doubters. The average distance on the no-doubter and ‘plenty’ homers was 378 feet; not tape measure shots by any stretch, but they had plenty enough on them to give some Yankee fan sitting in some overpriced right field seats a souvenir.
The Yankees currently have nine players with double-digit homeruns, and it’s conceivable that they could have eight players with 20 homers or more this season, making them the first team do ever accomplish such a feat. While the Yankee lineup very, very good, when you look up down the lineup, it doesn’t quite strike you as Murderer’s Row. We’ve talked about the “Coors Effect” in years gone by. I don’t think the New Yankee Stadium is quite that extreme, but it’ll be interesting to see if the park continues to play this way over the next few seasons.