4-Home Run Games: Odds and Props for Scooter and the Gang

Last night, Scooter Gennett, the Cincinnati Reds’ light-hitting second baseman, hit his fourth home run of the season. And his fifth. And his sixth. And his seventh.

Gennett, a Cincinnati native, became just the 17th player in MLB history (and first Red) to accomplish the feat as his Reds beat up on the Cardinals, 13-1. To put his historic night in perspective, there have been fewer four-home run games than perfect games (23). Gennett became the first player to mash four homers in a game since Josh Hamilton in 2012 and only the second in the last 15 years.

Who’s going to be the next player to hit four dingers in one game? When is it going to happen? Let’s look at some numbers.

Four-Home Run Game Odds

Odds on which player will have the next four-home run game

  • Nolan Arenado (Rockies): 199/1
  • Mike Trout (Angels): 199/1
  • Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins): 199/1
  • Bryce Harper (Nationals): 225/1
  • Aaron Judge (Yankees): 225/1
  • Joey Gallo (Rangers): 250/1
  • Kris Bryant (Cubs): 250/1
  • Khris Davis (Athletics): 275/1
  • Jake Lamb (Diamondbacks): 300/1
  • Cody Bellinger (Dodgers): 300/1
  • FIELD: 1/25

You might think Gennett’s name would stand out on the short list of players with four-homer games. You might think the list is otherwise littered with names like Ruth, Bonds, McGwire, Aaron, Mantle. You might … be wrong.

Yes, there are all-time greats on there, including Willie Mays, Lou Gehrig, and Mike Schmidt. But, for the most part, the list leaves you asking one Arrested Development-inspired question, “Him?” Mike Cameron (278 career home runs), Mark Whiten (105), Ed Delahanty (101), Pat Seerey (86): all went yard four times in one game.

The end result is that you can’t just pencil in Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera for the next four-home run game. It’s equally likely that a mediocre, unassuming role player does it; there are way more of them, after all. Plus, you have to think of the dynamics of the game. If Trout homers twice in his first two at bats, do you think he’s going to get another pitch in the strike zone in his next two? Only if there’s nowhere to put him.

Realistically, no single player has a better than about a 0.5-percent chance of hitting four homers in a game at any point in his career. Still, if we’re keying individual players, the top of the pile is going to be filled with broad-shouldered beasts, especially the younger ones (like Trout, Harper, and Arenado) since they have a lot more years left than vets like Cabrera (34 years old) and Albert Pujols (37).

jenniferlinneaphotography (flickr) [http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-sa/2.0]

Odds Scooter Gennett has another four-home run game in his career: 2,000/1

If history holds true, about one out of every thousand major leaguers will ever hit four home runs in a game. No player has ever done it twice. Will Gennett become the first? No, he will not. Sorry for the spoiler. The fact that he’s done it once doesn’t, on its own, make it any more/less likely that he’ll do it again, the same way that having a coin come up heads doesn’t impact the odds of getting heads again on the next flip. What does make Gennett’s odds longer than our rough 1,000/1 baseline? A few things: he’s already played four seasons, he’s only hit 42 career home runs in over 1,600 at-bats, and he weighs 185. Enjoy your 15 minutes while it lasts, Scoot.

Keith Allison (flickr) [http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-sa/2.0]

Over/Under on date of the next four-home run game: August 2020

That’s a much smaller gap than the five years between Hamilton and Gennett. But with launch angle being all the rage and everyone swinging for the fences on seemingly every pitch, we’re likely to see the gap decrease. Plus, the ball might be juiced!

 

AlexanderP

Alexander is the MTS editor-in-chief. Frank, Alex, and Geoff brought him in when they realized that their betting expertise far surpassed their grammatical abilities. He loves overanalyzing college basketball trends. Talking to him during the first weekend of March Madness is like talking to a wall. A very focused wall, but a wall nonetheless.