Barry BondsBy Takashi Miutsya

Everybody is waiting to see the historical achievement. As of June 17th, Barry Bonds has 748 home runs, and he only has 8 more to beat the record set by Hank Aaron (July 20, 1976), and the obvious question is, when is it going to be? A few weeks ago, our best prediction was that Bonds would match Aaron’s record on July 24th, given that he won’t be injured. According to the latest statistical analysis, although there is a slight change, our prediction was still very close.

Based on his statistics of this season, after the game on June 17th (vs the Red Sox), he has 167 at-bats and 67 walks, 14 homers, and no hit-by-pitch. Assuming that he doesn’t hit any sacrifice flies, these numbers translate that his likelihood of a homer is roughly 6% at each plate appearance.

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This means, 116.67 plate appearances (PA) are needed to match Aaron’s record.
7 (more homers to go) / 0.06 (his odds) = 116.66 (PA needed) . . .

Let’s say, for each game, the average number of plate appearance is 4. This means, 116.66 / 4 (PA per game) = 29 more games to break even with the record. Counting from the game on June 18, the 29th game is the one on July 23, against the Atlanta Braves. Our previous prediction was really close to the current prediction!

Now the question is, when is he going to break the record??
Using the same numbers, he needs 4 more games after the Braves.
8 homers / 0.06 = 133.33 (PA needed). 133.33 / 4 (PA per game) = 33.33. therefore 33-29= 4. This makes the historical day to be July 27, against the Florida Marlins.

Now, so far, these predictions are based on the numbers you can find on the web.
I did a few more in-depth statistical analysis, thinking, maybe some other factors would make the record breaking day sooner or later.

Who he plays against
According to this season’s statistics, who he played against doesn’t make much of a difference. This simply means he is good! No matter who the opposing team is, he seems to hit homers pretty consistently. Therefore, this doesn’t change our prediction.

Home vs Away?
It is true that out of the 14 homers he has had during this season, 9 were at home and 5 were away. It seems that he is better at home games, BUT, according to statistical analysis, this difference was not considered a real difference. This means he is good no matter where he plays. Again, this doesn’t change our prediction either.

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So, Friday, July 27, it is. Let’s witness the greatest achievement of baseball history on that day.

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