I’ll put an end to my quartet of splits-related postings by looking at one more area I find tremendously interesting – power to all fields. There are some guys in baseball who can only drive the ball when they turn on it, but they’ve figured out how to do that enough to make it work. Other guys, though, can launch a pitch to any part of the field. These guys have power to all fields. It doesn’t matter where you pitch them – if they hit it, it’s going a long way.
I browsed through the split data for guys with reputations for serious power. Here are the breakdowns of career ISO by field for three classic, big-time sluggers:
To Left: .272
To Center: .294
To Right: .518
To Left: .449
To Center: .395
To Right: .267
To Left: .377
To Center: .376
To Right: .456
Dunn and Reynolds both hit for power in any direction, but they have pretty significant gaps between their pull field and their opposite field. They are pull power guys who also are strong enough to hit one out the other way when they make contact, but they’re not your traditional “power to all fields” type of hitter. Branyan is much more like that, and is among the best examples of this description. When he makes contact, he’s going to hit the crap out of the ball more often than not.
I can’t end without giving a nod to Ryan Howard, however. The big Phillies slugger is known for his opposite field moonshots, and the numbers bear this out. Here’s Howard’s breakdown.
To Left: .701 (!!!)
To Center: .480
To Right: .327
Ryan Howard’s slugging percentage on fly balls to left field is a staggering 1.138. That’s not his OPS – that’s his SLG. 71% of all of his balls in play to left field are fly balls, and 27 percent of those leave the yard. You may remember from yesterday that the league average HR/FB for a lefty to left field was 3%. Howard’s HR/FB to left is nine times the league average.
We don’t have the historical evidence to prove it, of course, but I’d wager that Ryan Howard may just be the greatest opposite field power hitter in the history of the game.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.