The Coors Field Effect: Part 3 of A 3 Article Series
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024
Both myself (and Lead Baseball Columnist and Founder) Jonathan Hacohen think alike on some points as writers will often do when working for the same website. Jonathan wrote a brilliant piece on the ballooned numbers that a player in Colorado receives as a byproduct of playing at Coors Field. My head started spinning and swirling and I knew it to be true from my memory bank. My Part 2 column, dissected the Coors Field Effect on some previous players, plus what has transpired in the last decade since the Humidor Room has been implemented. You must read the 1st 2 parts of this series to fully understand what I am going to tell you here.
For Part 2 of the Article Series: The Humidor Effect at Coors Field-One Decade in click here
The numbers don’t lie in either of the first two parts to this series- with the Rockies having led the league in 19 out of the 20 Years for Home Batting Average overall in the MLB and every year in the NL since they have existed. This includes heavy hitting AL clubs, with hitter friendly parks such as: Yankee Stadium (Old or New), Citizens Bank Ball Park or Fenway Park. What people also fail to realize is that the Pitchers also account for about 140-150 AB at home per year. So really there is no way a Colorado team should have a higher BA than a team from the AL if that is the case? Wrong. The Batting averages for positional players from 1993-2002 in Colorado ranged from an average of .325-.345 every year. May I point out they also led the Major Leagues in overall batting average every year for this span in the Pre-Humidor days too!
A Todd Helton Walk-off Shot at Coors:
The numbers have dropped about 10% since the Humidor Room has been used. The averages for positional players now averages around .308-.320 for the last decade. To put it bluntly, this is a serious advantage! Jonathan and I have received our fair share of Rockies fans wrath for even suggesting that this is the case. Whether it is talking about Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Helton, or previous players like Larry Walker, Ellis Burks, Vinny Castilla, Andres Galarraga and Jeff Cirillo, we have defended our stance with numbers. The barrage attack in retribution always centers around these guys have all had to play in cavernous hitting parks like Petco, AT &T Park and Dodger Stadium. Parks that are very hard on hitters. This is true to an extent, however the weighted AB does not compare to the 81 home dates the players rake at Coors Field. It is a 75% to 25 % AB breakdown.
So lets use a study of a players with 4 AB in any game. This year, the Colorado Rockies positional players are batting .308 at home on average. If he has 324 AB for the year (81 X 4 AB) that would be roughly 100 Hits per guy. For the Dodgers Stadium, Petco Park and AT &T Park the Rockies play 27 Road Game (27 X 4 AB) =108 AB out of the year. The Team averages about .250 on the road for Positional players-so that would be 27 hits. IF you add these two AT-BATS columns together, you get a player that rakes 127 Hits in 432 AB and that is still a .294 AVG-Which as a team-would still put them ahead of the best team in the MLB besides the Rockies at Home Average in Texas! Most of the players that we illustrated in the 1st two parts were .330-.380 hitters at home. Why Larry Walker hit .382 for his lifetime AVG at Coors Field and only .283 for the rest of the parks he played in. Carlos Gonzales is hitting .371 at home this year. So lets give him that Average at home and .371 Avg for (98-264) and add his road AB in LAD (2-15 .133 Avg), SD (12-38 .316 Avg) and SF (3-21 .143 Avg) all combined to equal a 17-74 hitter (.229 in those 3 CA parks). Lets use what he has done at the other those 3 Parks this year with his home average in a combined 115-338 (.340 Avg.) As you see these AB at the 3 parks only represent 74 of 511 Season AB (about 14.4%)
I think we can all agree the rest of the parks(other than SD/LAD/SF) Carlos plays in are fairly balanced with some hitter friendly parks, and some pitcher friendly parks. The best hitting division for parks in the AL East, however with the heavy pitching brought forth annually by the Rays and Yankees, this affects the rest of the divisional play. Pitchers can still have success at Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, or heck Skydome for that matter, their chances are a little more remote at Coors. Like I mentioned in Part 2 of this series, the altitude in Colorado changes the trajectory of all pitches thrown by pitchers, thus affecting the spin and control of all opposing and home pitchers. The Rockies pitchers have an advantage in that they play in the park way more and have a better comfort zone. If Yankee Stadium was such a hitters park compared to Coors, how come the club can’t even come close to the Rockies for Home Average with all of that front end talent? Not even in the dynasty years could the Bronx Bombers compete with the thin air in Denver! Other teams also will take a few days to acclimatize to the altitude when visiting-while the Rockies are used to playing in it. This is another reason why the home club hits better than the opposition.
Here is a rundown of all of the positions of the club and what they have hit this year at home and Away. I left Troy Tulowitzki out of this discussion because he has been hurt a great portion of the year. He has the closest Home and Away averages that I have ever seen for home and away at Coors Field with any past or present player. The Rockies were smart to have signed him long-term because he can hit anywhere. He even hits well at Petco Park, Dodger Stadium and At &T Park. Even with that only representing about 16% of his career AB and Coors is closer to 50 %, it doesn’t effect his numbers all that drastically-just like the rest of the clubs. If Tulo hit like Gonzalez at Coors, he would be the best player in the MLB today!
2012 Home and Away Numbers. Right after that is their OBP and OPS. I have given the 3 CA parks as a barometer test for the players involved. While all but a couple had lower numbers after adding the California parks, the averages are not weighted enough to bring down their season averages. There is no other team that has a hitter advantage like Colorado. It always has to be taken into consideration when looking at a player.
Carlos Gonzalez CF: Home: 16 HRs 58 RBI .371 Avg (98-264) / .440 OBP / 1.053 OPS % Away: .239 Avg (59-247) / OBP .307 / OPS .720 SD/LAD/SF Parks Combined Avg .229 AVG (17-74 1 HR 9 RBI) -74 AB/511 AB year (14.48 %). Combined Home of Coors Field and 3 other CA teams Parks 115-338 (.340 Avg) Season Stats: .307 22 HRs 85 RBI/ OBP .376 / OPS% .893
Tyler Colvin LF: Home: 11 HRs 44 RBI .335 Avg ( 61-200) / .383 OBP/ OPS % 1.058 Away: 7 HRs 21 RBI .242 Avg (45-186)/ OBP .276/ OPS % .689 SD/LAD/SF 3 Parks Combined Avg .238 (14-59 AB 1 HR 4 RBI). 3 CA Parks plus Coors Field Avg. 75-259 (.290) Season Stats .288 18 HRs 65 RBI .329 OBP/ OPS% .873
Dexter Fowler RF: Home: 10 HRs 39 RBI .338 Avg (79-234) OBP .439/ OPS% 1.007 Away: 3 HRs 14 RBI .263 Avg (55-209)/ OBP .332/ OPS% .715. VS. SF/LAD/SF 3 Parks Combined Avg .197 ( 13-66 AB o HRs and 3 RBI.) 66 AB/443 AB this year is (14.9%). Coors and 3 combined CA Parks .307 (92-300). Season Stats: .302 Avg 13 HRs 53 RBI/ OBP .390/ OPS% .891
Marco Scutaro 2B: Coors Field both as a Rockies Player and Giant: 3 HRs 27 RBI Avg. 320 (70-219)/ OBP .379 OPS .812 . Now all other parks .288 AVG (103/368) 3 HRs 35 RBI SD/LAD/SF 3 Combined Parks Avg .300 (54-180.) Now keep in mind he was at home for SF games since July.31. 3 Parks in California and Coors Combined Avg .311 ( 124-399) Scutaro Season Avg. 300/ OBP .339/ OPS % .728
Michael Cuddyer OF/3B/1B: Home: 9 HRs 35 RBI Avg. 268 (52-194) OBP .343/ OPS % .858 Away: 7 HRs 23 RBI .250 Avg (41-164) SD/LAD/SF Parks .300 AVG (12-40 1 HR 5 RBI) 40 AB/358 AB for year (11. 1%.) Coors and 3 California Parks combined avg .274 (64-234.) Season Stats: .260 Avg 16 HRs 58 RBI/ .317 OBP/ OPS % .816
Wilin Rosario C: Home: 16 HRs 40 RBI .263 Avg (47-179) /.313 OBP .883 OPS Away: 9 HRs 26 RBI .248 Avg/.280 OBP /.747 OPS. SF/LAD/SD Parks 10-43 (.233 2 HRs 7 RBI ) 43 AB/362 AB for year (11.88%) California 3 and Coors Combined Park stats .246 (57-232) Season Stats: .256 Avg 25 HRs 66 RBI/ OBP .297/ OPS % .818
Josh Rutledge SS: Home: 5 HRs 18 RBI .296 Avg (34-115) OBP .322/OPS % .853 Away: 3 HRs 15 RBI Avg .292 (28-99)/ OBP .313/ OPS% .834. Vs SD/LAD/SF Parks Avg .302 (16-53 1 HR 8 RBI) AB 53/214 for year (24.7 %) Total Coors Field and 3 California Parks combined Avg .298 (50-168) Season Stats: .294 Avg/ 8 HRs 33 RBI/ OBP .318/ OPS% .844
Jordan Pacheco 3B: Home: 3 HRs 32 RBI .337 Avg (70-208) OBP .379/ OPS .865 Away: 1 HR 13 RBI Avg.270 (57-211) OBP .296/ OPS% .637 Vs SD/LAD/SF Parks Combined Avg .237 (18-76 o HRs 9 RBI) Coors Field and 3 California teams combined avg .310 (88-284) Season Stats: .303 Avg 4 HRs 45 RBI/ OBP .338/ OPS % .751
Chris Nelson 3B/2B: Home: 4 HRs 28 RBI .338 Avg (50-148)/ OBP .400/ OPS% .914 Away: 5 HRs 19 RBI .248 Avg. (36-145) .290 OBP/ OPS% .714 SD/LAD/SF Parks .327 (16-47 1 HR 7 RBI) 47 AB/293 AB is (16.0%). Coors Field and California 3 combined Avg.338 (66-195) Season Stats: .294 Avg 9 HRs 47 RBI/ OBP .347/ OPS% .811
Todd Helton 1B/PH: Home: 4 HRs 28 RBI .257 Avg (37-144)/ OBP .353 / OPS % .783 Away: 3 HRs 9 RBI .208 Avg (20-96) / OBP.327/ OPS% .682. SD/LAD/SF Parks .150 AVG (3-20 0 HRs 0 RBI) 20 AB/240 AB for year (8.3%.) Coors and California 3 Parks Combined avg .244 (40-164.) Season Stats: .238 7 HRs 37 RBI / OBP .343/ OPS% .743
I love Todd Helton as one of the most prolific hitters of this generation. He is a .290 Career Hitter on the road, along with hitting .340 at Coors. He used to be able to hit anywhere. I really hope he retires after this year. The current Active ALL-Time Doubles leader struggles to hit away from Coors Field as his .208 Avg indicates. Much like Walker and Galarraga, Helton will be penalized by the BBHOF when it comes to Cooperstown because of his home numbers. While I have to agree with this based on the numbers I have researched, I am not sure Helton is not a Hall Of Famer. He was one of the most dominant players for over a decade and had a smooth glove out at first base. Him hitting 100 XBH in 2001 and 2002 should not be taken lightly. Bonds, Sosa and he are the only ones to do this in a long time in the NL.
For Part 2 of the Article Series: The Humidor Effect at Coors Field-One Decade in click here
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Posted on September 19, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged andres galarraga, at and t park, ballpark in arlington, carlos gonzalez, chris nelson, Chuck Booth, Chuck Booth. fastest 30 ballgames, Citizens Bank Park, colorado rockies, Coors Field, Dexter Fowler, ellis burks, fenway park, jeff cirillo, jonathan hacohen, jordan pacheco, josh rutledge, Larry Walker, los angeles dodgers, michael cuddyer, mlb, mlbreports, new york yankees, NL West division, petco park, san diego padres, skydome, texas rangers, The Humidor Room, todd helton, troy tulowitzki, vinny castilla, wilin rosario. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.