Target Field: “Homer friendly” for 2014 MLB Home Run Derby?

132 home runs at Target Field so far in 2012

116 home runs at Target Field in 2010 season

45% increase in home runs/game at TF from 2010 to 2012 (so far)

3rd fewest – Target Field yielded the 3rd fewest AL home run/game average in 2010

12th highest – Target Field has yielded the 12th most home runs/game of 30 teams so far in 2012

85 – Average home runs in preliminary round of MLB All Star Home Run Derby since 2000

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Image credit: Paul Huttner-MPR news

Target Field climbing the MLB home run ladder:

Since Target Field opened in 2012 it has gained a reputation as a “pitcher’s ballpark.”

That may be changing in 2012.

Home run stats from ESPN’s Home Run Tracker show a 45% increase in home runs per game at Target Field in 2012 vs. 2010.

16 more home runs have already sailed out of Target Filed this season than in the entire 2010 season.

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Home runs at Target Field in 2012.

Source: ESPN Home Run Tracker

With a 2.08 HR/game average this season, Target Field is now the 12th highest yielding home run ballpark of Major League Baseball’s 30 stadiums. In 2012 Target Filed yielded the 4th fewest home runs in the majors with an average of just 1.43 HR/game.

Why are home run numbers increasing at Target Field?

I’m pretty sure they didn’t move the fences in at TF this year. So the obvious question is why are home run numbers increasing?

Let’s look at 3 possible reasons home run numbers are soaring at TF this season.

1) Warmer weather: This has been the hottest summer so far in the Twin Cities since TF opened in 2012. Warmer air is less dense than cold air, and baseballs will travel farther in warmer air then in cooler air.

ESPN’s Home Run Tracker shows the average distance for al home runs at TF this season is 392.9 feet. That compares to 390.3 feet in 2012, and increase of 2.6 feet.

All things being equal we might be tempted to say that warmer weather is making it easier for balls to sail out fo TF in 2012. But we know all things are rarely equal in life… and baseball.

2) Sub-par pitching? Any baseball aficionado will tell you pitching is everything. Sub-standard pitching = more home runs in the majors. If the ball is up, the ball goes far.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that batters have feasted off Twins Pitching this season. With a team ERA of 4.84, the Twins rank 29th of 30 MLB teams according to ESPN.

The Twins have given up the most home runs in the majors with 165 so far this season.

101 pitch.PNG

Source: ESPN

‘Nuff said.

3) Better hitting?

With 108 home runs so far in 2012 the Twins rank 25th of 30 MLB teams.

Josh Willingham is 7th in MLB home run numbers with 31 so far in 2012.

Of the132 home runs at Target Field this year the twin have hit only 56, and yielded 76 to opponents.

That supports the notion that the biggest reason for the increase in home runs at TF this season is probably the lack of quality pitching from the home team. With all 5 Twins starters from Opening Day 2012 now gone, it stands to reason that the Twins have struggled to find consistency on the mound in 2012. Higher home run numbers are the likely result.

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Image credit: Paul Huttner-MPR News

How will Target Field fare in the 2014 MLB All Star Home Run Derby?

If you look at home run numbers from the preliminary round of the MLB All Star Home Run Derby since 2000, a few things pop out.

-AL batters are far better at hitting home runs than NL batters

-An average of 85 home runs (84.77) has been hit in the preliminary rounds since 2000.

-The numbers are highly variable from year to year, with a range of 62 to 105 home runs.

With so many different players over the years, it’s difficult if not impossible to pinpoint any credible trends for ballparks when it comes to yielding home runs for the derby.

The number to watch at Target Filed in 2014 may be 85. Is there an over/under on the number of home runs in the preliminary round?


  • Disco

    Very interesting article, thanks. My money’s on the Twins’ horrendous pitching.

    76 HRs given up by the Twins at Target Field in 65 games (1.17/gm).

    89 given up on the road in 66 games (1.35/gm).

    58% of the HRs at Target were hit by the opposing team.

    Unfortunately baseball-reference won’t compare splits among teams.