Padres bloggin' since 2007

BABIP at PETCO

November 30th, 2010 by Ray

Following yesterday’s signing by the Dodgers of Juan Uribe, a conversation broke out on twitter on Uribe’s predecessor, Ryan Theriot, and how he might fit in with the Padres. Comparisons were made to Eckstein, and I suggested that Theriot is a player who benefits greatly from a high BABIP* and wondered out loud if PETCO might take this advantage away from him. Already a below-average hitter (career wRC+: 90), Theriot’s a player who needs every advantage he can get. With his likely joblessness, he seems a potential fit for the Padres. My question is: does PETCO Park hurt a player’s BABIP?

*Here’s how Baseball Prospectus defines BABIP: Batting Average on balls put into play. A pitcher’s average on batted balls ending a plate appearance, excluding home runs. Based on the research of Voros McCracken and others, BABIP is mostly a function of a pitcher’s defense and luck, rather than persistent skill. Thus, pitchers with abnormally high or low BABIPs are good bets to see their performances regress to the mean. A typical BABIP is about .300.

Since 2004, when PETCO opened, the stadium has seen an overall BABIP (both offensively and defensively for the Padres) of .282. Away from home, the overall BABIP has been an average .303. Both samples exceed 29,000 at-bats (home: 29,459, away: 30,733).

This comes as little surprise. PETCO has always been a park that punishes hitters. Despite the siren song of its mammoth gaps, the ball just doesn’t land here in San Diego and this is reflected in the stadium’s BABIP. For a player like Theriot, who’s skill set isn’t going to breakthrough PETCO’s problems, maybe this isn’t the place for him.

I anticipate seeing him in a Padres uniform next season.

Posted in Padres 101, statistics | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “BABIP at PETCO”

  1. Larry Faria says:

    Since Jed is a numbers guy, I’d expect him to know what you pointed out. So can I assume your expectation of seeing Theriot in a Padres uniform is more a function of the lack of available middle infielders at a modest price than a commentary on the front office?

    • Ray says:

      We’re going to need to go discount somewhere on the field, especially if Hoyer is serious about keeping Ludwick around.

  2. Larry Faria says:

    I think you need a shirt specifically for Cubs fans. The go home shirt works best for those loud outta town fans vacationing here, and there aren’t many transplants here who cling to their old ballclub.

    I was a Red Sox fan until the Navy sent me to San Diego in 1970, and was a Padres fan by 1971. Almost everybody I know from somewhere else (the majority of San Diegans) came to embrace the Padres as their home town team.

    The Cubs fans, though, are a special case. I know several ex-Chicagoans, and they cheer the Padres, EXCEPT when their old Cubbies are in town. Their Cubs jerseys and hats then come out of the closet, and they cheer them instead of the Padres. There’s no such thing as an ex-Cubs fan, it’s an incurable disease, like herpes.

    They’re nice people normally, but when they don that insufferable paraphernalia, many of them become downright obnoxious. They live here, and a special shirt is needed to confront them, as a kind of intervention – the first step toward a possible cure. I hope you can come up with a shirt that might save a few San Diegans from wasted lives.

    • Melvin says:

      Haha, nice post.

      We all have our own experiences regarding fandom. I know an assortment of people who have moved here and adopted the Padres as their team, and others who hold their ground with previous favorites. Maybe it’s a matter of how long people live in San Diego before they make the switch.

      Either way, there are always lots of visiting fans in PETCO from teams other than the Cubs. It’s time Padres fans let them know that when they root for other teams, they’re guests in San Diego, regardless of where they live now.

  3. maestro876 says:

    Well, seeing as Theriot was traded to the Cardinals, I suppose you won’t have to worry about seeing him in a Padres uniform. I look forward to him hitting clutch home runs against the Padres in the playoffs.

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