The Bill James Handbook 2023 is now available for purchase at ACTA Sports. We’ll be sharing excerpts from it throughout the winter. Our first is about home run robberies and the 2022 season. Enjoy!
Fortunately for batters (and somewhat unfortunately for us fans), home run robberies were down this year, with 49 marking the lowest total since the 2016 season. However, we still have plenty of things to explore here.
Let’s start with Mr. Home Run Robbery himself, Kyle Tucker, who twice took advantage of the short right field wall at Minute Maid Park and nabbed another over the even shorter one at Fenway.
While right field in Houston and Boston have been popular places for robberies over the past few years, left field at Detroit’s Comerica Park topped MLB this season with five, including three from Tigers defenders. Interestingly, all three were by different players, as Akil Baddoo, Austin Meadows, and Victor Reyes each snagged one during their time in left.
Speaking of the Tigers, their September series with the White Sox was an up-and-down affair for Chicago’s Andrew Vaughn. Vaughn started the series by bringing one back off the bat of Javier Báez. Then, two days later, Detroit’s Riley Greene returned the favor, robbing what would have been a two-run shot for Vaughn.
Not to be topped by that, the Braves and Marlins recorded robberies in back-to-back innings in their October 5 meeting, with Peyton Burdick and Robbie Grossman trading thefts in the 4th and 5th.
As for which one was best, I’m going with Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo’s against Justin Turner of the Dodgers. Nimmo’s robbery in their August 31st meeting was the only one all season that preserved a lead in the 7th inning or later. That lead was especially important to the Mets, as their once double-digit lead in the NL East had been shrinking by the day.
There’s no denying that play meant something. And even though the Mets didn’t pull things out in the East (or the playoffs), you could tell that catch served as a spark for a team that desperately needed one.
Most Home Run Robberies – 2022 Season
|Adam Engel||White Sox||2|