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The other side of the PETCO coin

March 17th, 2010 by Melvin

Because of the other-worldly effects PETCO Park has on baseballs, anyone who considers themselves a student of the Padres must also consider themselves a student of park effects.

For this reason (also because they’re simply fabulous) I read developments in park effects with great interest. MGL recently shared thoughts on a better way to measure the park effects of teams on the road.

..the unbalanced schedule means that, for example, the Dodgers, Giants, and the Padres play a lot of games in ARI and COL, the two most hitter friendly parks in the NL.  And pitchers, especially starters, because they don’t pitch every day, may play an inordinate number of games in one park or parks or another.  This can make a big difference in terms of their raw, unadjusted (by their road parks) stats.

As they stand right now, park effects simply average all NL ballparks except PETCO when computing the Padres’ park effects on the road. This isn’t the best way since the team plays more games in Arizona and Colorado, for example, than they do in parks from the NL Central and NL East. Moreover, not all Padres pitchers pitch in the same road parks. Since hitters play every day and are less likely to play in one road park more than another, this detail is extra important for pitchers.

MGL continues: (A larger number means the park favors hitters)

Here are some Padre pitchers and the average park run factor of all the road parks they played in prorated by the number of TBF in each of those road parks:

Peavy 1.00 So he did in fact play in average road parks (actually not the 1.01 that you would expect)

Mujica 1.03 So if his road ERA were 5.00, that would actually be 4.85 after park adjusting it, which would make a difference of .05 runs in ERA overall (as compared to if you used the generic 1.01 for his road parks)!

Chris Young 1.04 Besides sucking due to a large decrease in velocity, he also played in heavy hitters’ parks on the road, costing himself .075 in overall park adjusted ERA.

Hopefully we’ll see more of this, and gain a stronger understanding of players’ true abilities..

Hat tip to Rob Neyer’s Wednesday Wangdoodles.

Posted in petco park | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “The other side of the PETCO coin”

  1. [...] Subsidized stadium benefits: “It’s a case of the seen and unseen” – The Sacrifice Bunt The other side of the PETCO coin – The Sacrifice Bunt It’s Spring Training, That’s [...]

  2. Larry Faria says:

    I personally prefer to use possibly worthless anecdotal evidence I’ve seen with my own eyes and analyzed with average intelligence.

    Last year, Adrian Gonzalez hit two opposite field homers to straightaway left. Both went 6-7 rows back, about 20 feet past the fence. In June, he hit two nearly identical balls, and they were caught on the warning track, 10 feet in front of the fence.

    In early April, the temperature at game time was mid 50’s. In June, it was upper 60’s. Warm air holds more moisture and creates more drag. The “Adrian Effect”: about 30 feet on a ball hit 380 feet +/-.

    The average homer travels 393 feet. At Petco, straightaway left is 367 feet, so 393 feet minus 30 feet (in the upper 60’s) is 363 feet – an out in front of the fence. The effect is probably more in July and August. Only a September Santa Ana will change things.

    My solution: bring the fences in, 10 feet in left and 30 feet in right (the wind blowing out to right is imaginary) and leave center field alone. Also, paint the hitter’s background flat black and add some texture. The lights wash out the dark blue and make it look lighter than it is, possibly part of the problem.

    • Melvin says:

      That’s some well documented anecdotal evidence!

      Most of what I’ve read about PETCO written by people I respect says that the atmosphere suppresses offense and the outfield isn’t all that big. That doesn’t mean moving in the fences won’t help even things out, though.

      Interesting theory about the batter’s eye. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it from the batter’s perspective at night.

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