twitter-follow screen_name=’mlbreports’ show_screen_name=’no’]
Like us on Facebook here
Friday, December.21, 2012
Note from Chuck Booth: I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of my archived articles section here.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
The Rays have only been around for 15 years, however they have seen their share of talent grace the club. In their inaugural year, the club signed Free Agents Fred McGriff and Wade Boggs. A few years later when Boggs retired, they added Vinny Castilla, Jose Canseco and Greg Vaughn all to the club. This movement did not work out. It was the drafted talent of the club that started to surface in the early 2000′s. Aubrey Huff and Carl Crawford emerged as AL offensive threats. Other picks like Rocco Baldelli, Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes started out on fire, yet quickly flamed out. The club saw other guys come and go before the 2007 started to show what the team was really capable of. Carlos Pena gave them a bonafide HR guy. Soon Evan Longoria was called up to the Major Leagues and the club featured one of the best attacks in all of Major League Baseball.
The offense has suffered a bit of a drop-off in the last few years, but newly acquired Wil Myers is one of the best offensive prospects in the game of baseball. Longoria is signed through 2023 and Ben Zobrist is a great all-around offensive talent signed for the next 3 seasons. While the team will still be predominantly based with great pitching, the club should see some well-rounded offensive players.
Tropicana Field is one of the harder places to put up great numbers, so we will see what the future holds. We must look at the past. In these Series I have been doing for the teams, a lot of criteria had to be met to be included in the Franchises best hitters or pitchers. Obviously with a 15 Year Old team, the stakes are not raised as high. I still looked for significant contributions to the team. Of course if anyone ever leads the American League in any category, that is usually grounds for inclusion.
Franchise Series Article Links:
2013 Team Payroll Part 4: Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012
Tropicana Field Expert: An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith
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:
Saturday, July. 14/2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- 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. Baseballs being stored in drier air become harder and therefore explode off of a bat when contacted. After nearly a decade with inflated numbers at Coors Field for offense, a decision was made by baseball and the Colorado Rockies to start holding/storing the game baseballs in a room-sized Humidor-that was installed at the Park in order to keep them moist. This 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 is 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) have 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. We are going to look at the careers of Larry Walker, Todd Helton, Carlos Gonzalez and Garrett Atkins. 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. See: (Jeff Francis, Ubaldo Jimenez, Mike Hampton and Jason Jennings once they left Coors Field or before they arrived at Denver after playing somewhere else first.)
For Part 3 of the Article Series: The Coors Field Effect: Part 3 of A 3 Article Series click here.