Monday, February 27, 2012

Bill James Citi Field Park Indices

As I make my way through the magical journey that is the Bill James 2012 Baseball Handbook I like to report out when I read interesting things about the Mets. The book offers stats on various ballparks and the difficulty or ease of offense in them. For any event the baseline of a park is 100, if the event in harder at said park it is below 100 and above if it is easier. For example Citi Field has a rating of 120 for triples, which means in 2011 it was 20% easier to hit a triple in Citi Field than in other NL parks. All comparisons are NL only. Make sense? Let's look at the numbers:

The moral of the story here is that it is really hard to hit homeruns at Citi Field, which we already knew but it's interesting to see it quantified. Citi Field's park rating for homeruns was a 73 (27% harder than other ballparks), making it the second hardest NL park to homer in behind only AT&T park. It is even tougher for lefties where the number was 68 (32% harder than other ballparks), the only park harder to hit a lefty homerun was Citizens Bank Park. For righties the rating was a little better at 80, putting us near the top as the 13th toughest park. For doubles we are close to the baseline with a 96 and our only positive category was triples at 120, which was certainly shown by Reyes, he of many triples.

What does all this mean? For one, maybe I am a little too hard on the Mets. I routinely argue that the Mets lack power everywhere they play and therefore Citi Field's dimensions aren't a big hurdle. If anything these numbers force us to accept that the deep fences of Citi Field have presented a hurdle for the Mets and is a factor in their lower power production. It is going to be great to compare these to the indices for next year and see just how much of a difference the short fence makes.

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