The Humidor Effect On Baseballs At Coors Field: 11 Years In
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By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
In the first 10 years of Coors Field, or the Rockies existence for that matter, the baseballs were being belted out of the park at a historically record rate.
Some of this was due to the steroid era. Most of it was arrived at by the dry air of Colorado.
The reason is simple, in dry air the ball travels further than in thin air, thus causing more frequent home runs.
The implementation of the Humidor was done so the baseballs will not carry as far when hit with impact.
Elevation would still play a role in the baseball games. Baseballs carry farther in the thinner air and especially when they are rising in trajectory.
Remember that in Denver, you are nearly a mile above sea level already. In fact, there are purple bleacher tickets that you can buy at Coors Field that indicate where that mile marker is.
The cause and effect are harder on pitchers, whose curveballs curve less with the thin air than at sea level-leading to fewer strikeouts and the result is less pitches to use in their arsenal.
So has the Humidor worked since being implemented before the start of the 2002 season?
The answer is yes. The amount of HRs hit now sits with the rest of the MLB Parks that are amongst the top 10 over the last decade.
The averages have dropped only around 10% of what they were, however Colorado is routinely in the top 4 or 5 parks for average on a yearly basis in the MLB and dominate the NL in home average.
In 2012, the hotter temperatures(and dry air) helped the team to lead every offensive category in the Major Leagues once again.
Now, there is still a decisive advantage to playing at Coors for hitters when it comes to playing an 81 game schedule there.
I am going to look at the careers of some previous players to show you the weighted advantage of having this park as a home venue.
It is easier to use the hitters as a barometer when deciphering this study because not many pitchers ever prosper again in any city after playing for the Colorado Rockies.
Career Avg: .313, HRs – 383, RBI – 1311, OBP .400 ,SLG .565, OPS .965
Coors Field Numbers: Avg. 381, OBP .462, SLG .710 OPS 1.172
Larry Walker was still a good professional hitter at .282 for his career away from Coors. These stats are going to be very troublesome for the Canadian to ever try to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame.
When the teams batting average hovered around .333 with a .550 Slugging Percentage for the years he played in Denver, it was tough for anyone to slump.
I believe Larry Walker will have to be content with making it into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Career Avg: .318, HRs – 361, RBI – 1381, OBP .416, SLG .540, OPS .964
Coors Field: Avg .346, HRs – 221, RBI – 838, OBP .443, SLG. 607, OPS 1.050
Road Numbers Career: Avg .289, HRs – 140, RBI – 543, OBP .388, SLG .471, OPS .860
Todd Helton is a .289 hitter away from Coors Field for his career . He has 140 Road Homers compared to 221 at home. His RBI totals have him with 543 on the road compared to 838 at home.
The ‘ToddFather’ has hit 26 6doubles on the road and 313 at home. His 4 full seasons without the Humidor even being in effect will hurt his chances at the Hall.
Like Walker, the voters will penalize him for these stats. As a first baseman who will finish around 2500 hits, he may fall short of the criteria to enter Cooperstown.
Lifetime Career Average: .285, OBP .350, SLG .449, OPS .799
Coors Field Numbers: Avg .327, OBP .385, SLG .507, OPS .892
Road Numbers Career: Avg .252, OBP .322, SLG .406, OPS .728
Garrett Atkins only lasted 44 games as a Baltimore Oriole.
As you can see from the graphs, Garrett Atkins and Vinny Castilla were the biggest all – time benefactors from the disparity.
Team Averages ( Pre-Humidor) Overall MLB Rank/NL Rank
Rockies were an expansion team in 1993
1993-.306 1/1 1998-.325 1/1
1994-.300 2/1 1999-.325 1/1
1995-.316 1/1 2000-.334 1/1
1996-.343 1/1 2001-.331 1/1
The Rockies led the Major Leagues in batting at home 8 out of their 1st 9 years and every year in the National League. From 1996-2001 the team hit .331. The Humidor was installed prior to the 2002 season and the averages have dipped about 10%.
Team Averages (Post Humidor) Overall MLB Rank/NL Rank
2002 – 2013
2002 -.313 1/1 2007 -.298 3/1
2003 -.294 2/1 2008 -.278 9/4
2004 -.303 2/1 2009 -.287 3/1
2005 -.300 1/1 2010 -.298 1/1
2006 -.294 3/1 2011 -.275 7/2
2012 – .306 1/1
2013 – .277 5/2
The Rockies have led the National League for home batting average in 9 out of the last 11 years, while finishing 1st overall in the MLB 3 different times.
That is great considering the pitchers hitting slot out of the 9th hole.
Last year, the club leads all offensive categories in the MLB at home again. If you take out the pitchers at bats from the lineup the averages raise about another .15 to .20 average points. The positional players all hit for an average of about .315.
This year the club is struggling to find itself offensively, yet are still just barely behind the St. Louis Cardinals by 3 PTS in Home Average this season.
St. Louis has a 14 Game Lead on Colorado for the #1 Wild Card Spot.
The Rockies positional players have led the MLB for all 20 years of the Rockies existence.
This is just a further illustration of the Coors Field effect on a players numbers and to always take this into consideration.
The Humidor has taken away the gawdy numbers that the pre-2002 Rockies displayed, yet that doesn’t change the fact it is still the #1 home ball park to hit in currently.
If you play 81 games there a year, your numbers will be heavily weighted.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners.***
Chuck Booth - Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames: To learn more about my “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here .
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Posted on August 6, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged andres galarraga, baltimore, brad hawpe, carlos gonzalez, Chuck Booth. fastest 30 ballgames, colorado rockies, Coors Field, dante bichette, ellis burks, humidor, jason jennings, jeff cirillo, jeff francis, Larry Walker, matt holliday, mike hampton, montreal expos, st louis cardinals, team batting average, todd helton, troy tulowitzki, twitter @chuckbooth3024, ubaldo jimenez, vinny castilla. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.