Derby Doesn’t Mean a Guaranteed Slump

While it’s always nice to see your team represented in the Home Run Derby, it seems like every year there are media members who are worried about Player X messing up his swing by trying to change it for the contest. There are plenty of studies that have been done about the effects (or lack thereof) of the derby, but if you were curious how the Brewers’ hitters have fared after taking part in the contest, here you go.

(And yes, I did do something similar last year with home run totals, but expanded it this year to triple slash lines and total extra-base hits.)

Corey Hart
1st Half (81 games): .288/.349/.569, 42 XBH in 306 AB
2nd Half (64 games)*: .278/.330/.472, 27 XBH in 252 AB
*Suffered a wrist injury in July that sapped him of his power in August

Prince Fielder
1st Half (88 games): .315/.442/.614, 46 XBH in 308 AB
2nd Half (74 games): .283/.377/.590, 38 XBH in 283 AB

Ryan Braun
1st Half (92 games): .286/.324/.549, 50 XBH in 377 AB
2nd Half (59 games)*: .282/.351/.560, 33 XBH in 234 AB
*Strained his intercostal muscles in August and struggled to hit for power the rest of the year

Prince Fielder
1st Half (87 games): .284/.376/.620, 51 XBH in 324 AB
2nd Half (71 games): .293/.419/.614, 36 XBH in 249 AB

Carlos Lee
1st Half (88 games): .268/.336/.528, 44 XBH in 339 AB
2nd Half (74 games): .262/.309/.437, 29 XBH in 279 AB

Richie Sexson
1st Half (93 games): .263/.376/.513, 37 XBH in 353 AB
2nd Half (69 games): .285/.383/.597, 38 XBH in 253 AB

Richie Sexson
1st Half (88 games): .282/.353/.529, 40 XBH in 323 AB
2nd Half (69 games): .275/.377/.470, 28 XBH in 247 AB

Jeromy Burnitz
1st Half (86 games): .281/.389/.609, 51 XBH in 317 AB
2nd Half (44 games)*: .247/.426/.460, 17 XBH in 150 AB
* Missed a month with a broken hand

Greg Vaughn
1st Half (83 games): .285/.388/.564, 37 XBH in 305 AB
2nd Half (62 games)*: .223/.331/.502, 24 XBH in 211 AB
*Traded to San Diego at the deadline, where he struggled for the entirety of his stint

There are a few large drop-offs after participating in the Derby, but in some cases injuries played a role. In others, there was just no way the player was going to continue playing at the same level — does anyone really think Burnitz would slug .600 over the course of a full season if he didn’t get hurt, regardless of if he was in the Derby?

Is it possible that the swings can get into a player’s head for a short period of time? Sure. If Rickie Weeks struggles for a couple weeks following the All-Star break, though, the fact that he’s a streaky player will have just as much to do with it as the Derby. Don’t forget that before the Cincinnati series to close the first half, Weeks was hitting .186/.269/.254 over the course of 15 games, or that he was 0-for the Mets series in early June.