New York Yankees sweet-swinging second baseman Robinson Cano has agreed to participate in the 2011 Home Run Derby. Cano will join team captain David Ortiz, Toronto's Jose Bautista and Boston Adrian Gonzalez for the American League.
In this year's format, each league will be represented by four players who will compete as teams against each other. The National League team will be captained by Milwaukee's Prince Fielder.
So, Yankees fans, how do you feel about this? Do you believe in the Home Run Derby hangover effect, and wish that Cano, who had a career-high 29 home runs a year ago and has 14 this season, would skip the event? Do you believe, as Hardball Times does, that there is no such thing as the HR Derby hangover effect?
What we see is that the Home Run Derby participants and our control group have identical first-half home run rates and nearly identical second-half home run rates. They differed significantly in 2008 (Lance Berkman, Dan Uggla, Chase Utley, and Grady Sizemore all had steep declines), but that's the only real outlier here. On the whole, we again find that the Home Run Derby has no effect on a player's second half. And with more than 20,000 at-bats in each bucket, our sample size is pretty large.
Over the years some hitters who have participated have slumped after the All-Star break. Others have surged. I'm just going to enjoy the show and see what kind of display Cano can put on.