How Many Would Bonds Have Hit?
I thought it’d be fun to crunch some numbers to find out how many more homeruns our all-time and single-season homerun king could have hit if he hadn’t played so many years in a home ballpark that was pitcher-friendly, and if he hadn’t been walked so much.
To make it fair for walks, I took the top-five in walks in the National League each year that Bonds was among the leaders, and I got the average. Instead of using some of Bonds’ abnormally high walk totals, I used the league-average so that he would hypothetically be getting the usual amount of at-bats. For instance, in 2004, Bonds had only 373 at-bats despite playing in 147 games. That was because he was walked an astronomically high 232 times, 120 of them intentional.First, I got the park factor of Bonds’ home stadium each season (from Wikipedia).
The above equation uses runs. I simply replaced them with homeruns.
Bonds played in Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium from 1986 to ’92, in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park from ’93 to ’99, and AT&T Park from 2000 to present.
When I found the park factor, I simply divided each season’s homerun total by its respective park factor. Here are the findings:
Bonds has 914 adjusted homeruns.
Then I found the top-five non-Bonds NL leaders in walks each year, which you can find here. You can switch years by editing the last four numbers in the URL. The link I provided gives you the 1989 NL leaders in walks.
I averaged the top-five non-Bonds walks leaders, and used that as Bonds “new” walks total.
Next, I calculated his at-bats per homerun using his actual totals in at-bats and homeruns for each year.
I found his “adjusted at-bats” by taking the season’s at-bats total, and adding to it the “adjusted walks,” which is Bonds’ actual walks total subtracted by his “new” walks total (the average of the top-five).
Bonds now has 980 adjusted homeruns.
Finally, I accounted for all of his intentional walks — at-bats in which he had a 0% chance to hit a homerun. I took his “adjusted AB” and added his intentional walks total to it, then divided by his HR/AB rate.
Bonds now has 1,056 adjusted homeruns — 300 more than Hank Aaron.
For reference, I did not adjust Bonds’ first three seasons, his injury-shortened 2005 season, or for 2007. The reason why is that his walks were pretty much average in his first three seasons, it would be pure 100% speculation to come up with a 2005 homerun total, and although there is nothing wrong with it, I did not want to fudge numbers of a season in progress.
You can download my spreadsheet by clicking here. There are two sheets: the first one has the math you have seen in the above screenshots; the second has the top-five leaders in walks every year from 1989 to 2006.
Please let me know if I fudged my math, either by leaving a comment, instant messaging me (UltraMegaOK1988), or by E-Mailing me (crashburnalley [at] gmail [dot] com).