May 17, 2021

Keston Hiura Versus the Regression Monster (FanGraphs)


Keston Hiura hit 38 home runs last year. There are qualifications to that statement, sure — 19 of those home runs came in the homer-happy PCL, and the majors weren’t much better when it came to mass dingerization. But still — Keston Hiura, who hit 13 home runs in 535 plate appearances in 2018, hit 38 home runs in 2019. What did he do to become such a great power hitter, and should we expect to see it again in 2020?

The first place you’d generally look, when considering an outlandish result like this, is for something wildly unsustainable. Maybe he turned half of his fly balls into home runs, and we can just point at that and move on. Indeed, Hiura’s HR/FB% was a juicy 24.1% in the majors last season, and an even more preposterous 36.5% in Triple-A.

Let’s throw out the Triple-A numbers for now. The combination of a new stadium in San Antonio and a wildly changed offensive environment makes putting those home runs into context difficult, so we’ll simply focus on the major league numbers. Non-pitchers hit home runs on 15.4% of their fly balls in 2019. Lower Hiura’s 24.1% to average, and he would have lost out on seven home runs. Easy peasy, let’s get…

Read “Keston Hiura Versus the Regression Monster” at FanGraphs