I’ve found the ultimate Petco player. That’s right, the Holy Grail.
Since Petco opened in 2004, we’ve all dreamed about finding players who are resistant to the brutal effects Petco has on hitters. You’ll remember that Barry Bonds, aka the best hitter of the past fifty years, called the park “baseball proof” and mortals have spent the past eight seasons proving him right. Josh Byrnes thinks Yonder Alonso and Carlos Quentin might have what it takes but I’m not so certain.
To find the perfect Petco player, I started by looking at what offense Petco does allow. According to this study done by Beyond the Box Score, Petco only favors walks (1.05) and triples (1.02) when it comes to offense. It also is fairly neutral on singles (0.98) and stolen bases (0.97), which leaves us with our criteria. You’ll notice that Quentin’s homers and Alonso’s doubles didn’t make the cut.
Making our search a little easier is the fact that triples, singles, and stolen bases all tend to be products of the same skill. Looking over the three-year numbers for speedsters from across the league, names like Dexter Fowler and Jose Reyes pop up, though they’re not quite as perfect as our guy.
Over the past three years, our guy has 39 triples, which leads the league, has hit 302 singles with only a .294 BABIP, drawn 168 walks and has stolen 78 bags with an 82% success rate. All of this with a career 4.1 UZR/150 in center. Sounds great, right? Wish he were a Padre?
You might want to sit down.
I’m not saying that the Padres should’ve hung onto Shane Victorino back in 2003 because things are never that simple. Who knows if a 22-year-old Victorino puts it together in San Diego the way the 25-year-old version did in Philadelphia. I’m just I wish they would’ve.
(Of course, Victorino has a career 65 OPS+ at Petco in 81 PA. Maybe the park really is simply baseball proof.)