The Case of the Vanishing Dinger

Where have all the Home Runs gone? Swallowed by the vastness of Citi Field? Hiding in the clubhouse humidor? Crashing to earth as dead balls? It can't be our heroic hitters can it?

I like to look at how many plate appearances (PAs) it takes for a player to hit a home run. So I've taken a look at that metric and compared it to players performance before 2021 to see if there's a consistent dropoff that might suggest that whatever witches brew of variables is at work affects all players roughly evenly.

That doesn't appear to be the case.

Two Mets are hitting HR's more frequently than they had career to date. A hint on who they are -€” their names rhyme. They've gone from 1 HR every 40 and 42 PA's to 1 every 25 PA's this season -€” pretty big improvement.


Three Mets have seen a slight decline in HR frequency. McCann went from one every 34 to one every 37 PA's, Pete's decline is not relevant given his sheer volume and Lindor going from one very 25 to one every 33 is a pretty big jump. Perhaps there's solace in that his horrid start was improving and so might this metric?

JD, McNeil, Dom & Conforto have seen troubling declines in their PAs per HR rates but by far -€” the largest and most distressing loss of power comes from Brandon Nimmo. Pre-2021 he hit a HR every 33 PA's -€” this year? One HR every 86 PA's. If that's the new norm, it's going to be hard to pair him with a CFer without a Springer-like power profile. Starling Marte has some pop but he's aging and has hit one HR every 38 PAs over his career.

By comparison, Javier Baez 2021 rate of 1 HR per 16.6 PA's would rank lead the Mets had he spent the entire year in Queens and put up the same numbers. I'm not saying Baez is an answer for the Mets -€” they've got big problems -€” but his HR rate would make a dent in one of them.

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