Mains: The return of the dinger in 2016

From SABR member Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus on July 7, 2016:

As of the morning of July 4th, every team had played at least 81 games. So we’re officially halfway through the season. It’s easy to make extrapolations based on that—I can multiply by two in my head!—but a lot of them are silly. Any stretch of games is going to be a mix of hot and cold, healthy and hurt, lucky and unlucky. And some players have had more of one than the other so far. So yes, it’s possible that Mark Trumbo, who had 24 home runs through the Orioles’ first 81 games, will hit 48 this year. And Edwin Encarnacion could finish the year with 140 RBI, and Jeurys Familia might have 56 saves, and Max Scherzer has a shot at 296 whiffs. All of those figures are double the player’s total at the 81-game mark. For that matter, Jake Lamb could finish with a .592 slugging percentage, and David Ortiz with a 1.110 OPS, just as Andrew McCutchen might bat .239, and both Matt Harvey and Chris Archer could lose 20 games. But you don’t count on that, right? A player who’s been unusually good or bad for the part of the season probably regresses in the second half. Probably.

The same is true of teams. We’ve already seen that with the Cubs, who’ve fallen off the 116-win pace they had earlier in the season. The Rangers are a fine club, but do they really seem likely to win 104, double their 81-game win total of 52? For that matter, does it seem likely that the Twins and the Braves and the Reds will all lose 100-plus? Again, probably not.

But league-wide trends…they could hold.

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Originally published: July 7, 2016. Last Updated: July 7, 2016.