Do Pitchers Who Attack Hitters Early in the Count Give up More Solo Home Runs?

I have heard this many times and finally decided to look at it. Baseball commentators will say “Justin Masterson really attacks hitters early in the count so he tends to give up more solo home runs.” First of all, Masterson doesn’t get a lot of first strikes and he doesn’t give up a high relative amount of solo HRs. But moving on…

I looked at all pitchers years 2009-2011 who gave up at least 10 total home runs and compared their solo HRs with HRs with runners on base. I then compared this to each pitcher’s Zone% and First Strike%. The Zone% should capture how aggressive a pitcher is overall, while the First Strike% should capture how aggressive the pitcher is early in the count.

And in case you were wondering, for players with greater than 20 total home runs allowed (since a lot of the 10-20 players are relief pitchers and I don’t find them that interesting):

There is no correlation between either of these variables and either the percentage or total amount of solo home runs. If anything, there’s a slight relationship between a pitcher having a high first strike % and giving up fewer total solo home runs. Another commentator truism debunked.

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