All-Star Game

Reds All-Time Home Run Derby

It is Monday of All Star week which means it is Home Run Derby Day. In commemoration of the day, Redleg Nation decided to stage its own mythical Reds All Time Home Run Derby. Welcome to Crosley Riverfront Ball Park. The action is about to begin.

First, a few words about our rules. Home Runs were awarded to the contestants based on their rank in Reds history in  three categories, Total Home Runs (THR),  Home Run Frequency (HRF), and Home Run Percent (HRP). THR is self explanatory. HRF reflects Official At Bats per home run, with lower values being better. HRP is the percent of a player’s hits which were home runs; since this is strictly a home run derby, the higher the better.

Our contest features a dozen of the top home run hitters in Reds history. Since this is a Reds home run derby, only their production in a Reds uniform was taken into consideration in making the selections and judging the outcome of this contest.



Preliminary Round

The 12 contestants competed in a preliminary qualifying round earlier today which determined the eight bracket spots and pairings  for the main competition. The four players leaving the competition after the qualifying round comprise a who’s who of Reds first basemen.

Ted Kluszewski (1947-1957) hit 251 home runs as a Red, good enough for #5 on the club’s THR list; but, today Big Klu couldn’t keep up with leaders in HRF. Go have a look at Klu’s numbers some time. With a career OPS+ rank of 128 as a Red, if there is ever a Reds OPS+ Derby, he isn’t likely to be among those going home early.

Lee May (1965-71) and Tony Perez (1964-76; 84-86) aka known as the Big Bopper (May) and the Big Dog  will always be linked in Reds lore and history because May was the main departing piece in the trade which brought Joe Morgan to the Reds and opened the way for Perez to quit masquerading as a third baseman and move to his natural first base spot. The Big Bopper (151 THR #18 Reds all time) earned his invitation to this competition based on his strong HRF and HRP rankings . He leaves at this point simply because he wasn’t a Red long enough to register a high enough THR count. Conversely the Big Dog (287 THR #3 Reds all time) was invited because of his THR count; he didn’t hit home runs often enough to advance today.

Also bowing out is that brash guy who may have figured out more about hitting than anyone else since Ted Williams, Joey Votto (2007- ). Joey is currently at #6 on the Reds all time HR list at 245 246, and counting. If Joey remains a Red thru the end of his contract, he figures to go deeper into a future derby despite his aversion to them.

Quarter Finals

Adam Dunn (2001-2008) Vs. Johnny Bench (1967-1983)  In a classic battle, Bench who tops the Reds all time THR list at 389, repeatedly  signaled his pitcher, Davey Concepcion, to throw pitches as quickly as possible. Still, Johnny couldn’t get enough extra swings in ahead of the buzzer to offset Dunn’s combination of THR and HRF (270 THR #4 Reds all time; 13.8 HRF #1). Dunn Advances.

Frank Robinson (1956-65) Vs. Jay Bruce (2008-16)  This matchup pits two Reds outfield sluggers against each other. Reds GM Bill DeWitt Sr. infamously termed Robby an “old 30” when he traded him to Baltimore for Milt Pappas after the 1965 season. For those not familiar with the story, the “old” Robinson won the AL MVP his first season away from the Reds and finished in the top 5 of the AL MVP voting in 3 of his first 5 years in Baltimore. Robinson (324 THR #2 Reds all time) bested Bruce (233 THR #8(T) Reds all time) across the board in today’s derby. Robinson Advances.

Wally Post (1949-57) Vs. Ken Griffey Jr, (2000-2008)  Outfielder Wally Post was a surprise invitee for the derby  at #14 on the Reds THR list with 172 dingers to his credit. His strong HRF (17.6, #5) and HRP (21.4, #4) pushed him by some currently more recognizable names such  as Barry Larkin (198 THR #12 Reds all time)  and Brandon Phillips (191 THR #13 Reds all time) into this derby. The Kid, Griffey Jr,  (210 THR #9 all time) however is not caught off  guard by Post and easily advances past him to the semi finals based on  THR, stronger HRF and HRP. Griffey Jr advances.

George Foster (1971-81) vs. Eric Davis (1984-91, 96)  aka The Battle of the Splendid Splinter Outfielders- Foster’s edge in THR (244 #7 all time) gets him off to an early lead; but Davis (203 THR #10 all time) counters with a   superior HRF (16.12, #3)and HRP (22.91, #3) to edge Foster, (#6 in both HRF and HRP) in the tightest match up of the quarter finals. Davis advances.

Semi Finals

Dunn vs. Griffey Jr.  The two old buddies needle each other good naturedly from the start. Between bantering, they stage  a semi final battle  worthy of being a finals match up. Dunn’s edge in total THR (270/210) and HRF (13.8/16) carry the day. Dunn advances.

Robinson vs. Davis  The two native Californians put on good show; but the “old” Frank Robinson is the winner over Eric Davis as Robinson’s THR (324, #2)  is enough outweigh ED’s better HRF and HRP. Robinson advances.

Finals

Dunn vs. Robinson  This is another hard fought close match. Robinson looks to be well positioned over Dunn with his 324-270 lead in career home runs as a Red (#2 over #4). However Dunn leads everyone in both HRF (13.8) and  HRP (29.4). Thats enough to push him past Robinson. In the year of the donkey, the man aka The Big Donkey wins it all !

Dunn Wins! Dunn Wins! Dunn Wins!

Rank Player  “Home Runs” All Rounds
1 Adam Dunn 37
2T Frank Robinson 29
2T Ken Griffey, JR 29
4 Eric Davis 24
5 George Foster 19
6T Jay Bruce 16
6T Wally Post 16
8 Johnny Bench 14
9 Lee May 11
10 Ted Kluszewski 9
11T Tony Perez 8
11T Joey Votto 8

Closing Thoughts and Comments

Where is the winner of real 2015 Home Run Derby, Todd Frazier? Just barely on the outside looking in. Here’s how he stacked up against the group who competed in our mythical derby. Frazier hit 108 home runs as a Red, #24 on the all time list. His Home Run Frequency was 21.2, good for #12 in our rankings. Frazier’s Home Run % of Hits was 18.43 which ranks 11th. If Todd had remained a Red long enough to climb up the total home run ranking list a bit more, he would have been at least on the margins of qualifying for a derby based on our criteria.

And how about the up and comers like Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler? Duvall’s current Home Run Frequency rating of 16.1 ties for 3rd in our frequency rankings with Eric Davis. His Home Run % of 24.5 is 2nd only to the winner of this derby, the other AD, Adam Dunn. If Duvall remains a Red long enough and continues to hit home runs at his current rate, he will surely loom large in a future event of this type.

Scott Schebler’s  Frequency rating of 17.55 edges out Frank Robinson for 4th our frequency rankings. His Home Run % rating of  21.8 ranks 4th in our Home Run %  ranking just ahead of Wally Post and  Bruce. Schebler too looks destined to be in a future derby if he remains a Red long enough to build his total home run count.

So, there you have it from Crosley Riverfront Ball Park and the Redleg Nation Reds All Time Home Run Derby. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Let the debates begin!


Statistics and Data courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball Reference

6 thoughts on “Reds All-Time Home Run Derby

  1. You absolutely whiffed on that one! The VERY FIrST HRD was won in 1985 by a Cincinnati Red who is not even listed here… cocaine dulled or not… let me present … Dave Parker !!!!

    • This mythical derby was based strictly on production while a Red. Actually I was surprised when Parker did not come up better in the criteria used to judge it,

      He is 25th on the Reds All Time HR list. In the two rate metrics I used, he came up 18th on frequency and 20th on percent.

  2. In other related All Star business, Votto and Cozart were just on Intentional Talk. Good stuff.

  3. Donkey hit more homeruns and he only struck out 9 times during batting practice. Congrats Dunner!

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