Early Wednesday, Hall of Fame inductee and former White Sox legend Frank Thomas tweeted the following:
Lets make sure this is Real!!! The Baseballs don't fly like this in April!! Trust Me the Balls are Doctored!! Enough Said!!
— Frank Thomas (@TheBigHurt_35) April 9, 2014
It's a particularly interesting tweet, considering the outburst of home runs from Tuesday's game. But is it accurate?
Looking at the data from 1990 (when Thomas debuted) to today, it appears that's not the case at all. Now, I didn't measure exactly what Thomas was talking about. I looked at home runs over the full season, not just in April. I suppose there's a chance that as the home run rate climbs in the summer months, Thomas could wind up being correct by the end of the season. Color me skeptical, though.
What the above chart shows is that we're on a pace to see the lowest home run rate since 1992. Power is more scarce now than it was throughout the 2000s, which means it's also harder to come by in Fantasy leagues. This is perhaps somewhat obvious, as most of the big home run hitters are selected early, but the decreasing trend of power could actually boost the value of guys like Mark Trumbo or Chris Carter, who were likely drafted in the mid-to-late rounds of drafts. Even, gulp, Adam Dunn could have slightly increased value.
That's not to say you should go out an deal for those guys immediately, and power isn't the only way to win a Fantasy league. It is the preferred way to go, of course, as home runs contribute to multiple offensive categories. It's just a signal that we're probably not going to see as many 30+ home run hitters as we've seen in the past. Hopefully, you hoarded power in your draft, because it's becoming much harder to replace.