Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Eastern League Black Hole for Power: Dodd Stadium

As I tried to show in my post about Ishikawa, Connecticut's home park, Dodd Stadium, really kills HR hitting, enough that to properly assess any of the Giants prospects playing in Connecticut, you need to ignore their home performance in terms of HR and power, and concentrate solely on their road performance. A truer picture would be to take his home stats, reduce it to the same influence as any of the road teams (for example, one could scale down the home stats so that it equals one-eleventh of the AB or PA of his road stats and add that and examine that). However, that would be a pain to have to go and convert all the stats for the players in the league in that fashion. Besides, I'm only interested in the Giants prospects.

In this post, I'm just going to examine league-wide stats, team vs. team comparison against the league average. I think this will further make my case that Dodd Stadium kills power and distorts our Giant prospects hitting performance greatly.

SLG is Down Greatly

As one can see in this table, the SLG for Connecticut batters is much lower at home and yet is basically league average on the road:



As you can see, by scrolling down, despite being about league average on the road at 98%, their home SLG is the worse by far, at only 83% of the league average. The next lowest team is at 95% and 10 of the 12 teams range from 95% to 106%.

HR Power is Down Drastically

As I showed in my previous post, homers were down but this table will show how that worked team by team:



As I noted, homers drastically down, at 56% of the league average at home for the Connecticut Defenders. The next lowest was at 79% and 6 of 11 ranged from 86% to 102%. Again, on the road, the Defenders were slightly below average at 97%.

ISO Down Drastically Too

Same old story for ISO (which is SLG minus BA):




At home, Connecticut's power as measured by ISO was 69% of the league average. The next lowest was at 93%. The range for 8 of 11 was 95% to 106%, at home. They were actually above average on the road, at 104%.

XBH% is Below Too

Same story, just not as extreme:



At home, the percentage of extrabase hits for the Defenders was 85% of the league average. The next lowest was at 92%. 8 of 11 of the teams ranged from 94% to 104%.

Dodd is a Power Black Hole

So if there are still any non-believers after my Ishikawa post, hopefully after this post, they will see that Dodd Stadium horribly skews Giants hitting prospects stats and you cannot base any evaluation of their power hitting skills on their home stats. Basically, you need to go stat by stat, player by player, to see what makes sense to consider, their total stats or just their road stats.

That is why the Giants should just bite the bullet and pay to fix up the stadium (they might have been better off telling ESPN to blow off and go ahead and resod the field into the new configuration, instead of letting ESPN film whatever they were filming there. The lawsuit might have been cheaper to resolve with a settlement than paying to resod the field today). One, it makes it harder to evaluate not only your hitters but also your pitchers, who don't have to worry as much about getting hit upon at home. Two, this skewing might get our position players into bad habits, both hitting and pitching, as they deal with how this park hurts or helps them, statistically. Three, most importantly, it could negatively affect the confidence of the players, particularly the hitters, but even the pitchers, as they might be overconfident about their skills and then go and get killed when they go to AAA.

Dodd Stadium, as it is currently configured, must die!!!

2 comments:

  1. Martin, thanks for all your work on this subject. I tried to post this on your previous column about Dodd, but was unable to do so. Don't you think that that our A-AA-AAA progression is just horribly out of whack? As you said, Dodd must go. Somehow, I'm more comfortable with AAA being hitter-friendly than with AA being pitcher-friendly. I think both hitters and pitchers might develop bad habits in our AA environment. In AAA, maybe the adversity might help the pitchers. What do you think, overall?

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're welcome.

    I think that as long as the players are aware that they are in an environment that leans one way or another, they adjust their view to match the environment (though may complain, like Jeff Kent). Thus in a hitters environment like AAA in the PCL, pitchers understand that stats will be inflated and same for hitters. Same with AA and Eastern League, A+ and California League (known as hitters league), A- and South Atlantic League, etc.

    However, when one park is skewed greatly relatively to the other parks, then that's where it plays on players minds, in my opinion. Or rather, when it is skewed and this is not acknowledged anywhere. I've neither seen or read about Dodd being so skewed, a pitchers park like Dodger Stadium or AT&T Mays Field (which was early in its life but not recently) or Tigers Stadium. Nothing.

    Not that I've read all the Norwich newspapers, but I read about AA as much as AAA or A+ and while I've seen reference to both of those being hitter's leagues (thus inflated stats), I've seen nothing about AA. Poor Mike Cervanek has been struggling there for years, I wonder what it did to his career, I wish we had splits for his years there to see how he was affected.

    So if the players are not aware that the park is screwing up their stats, they will just think that they are in some slump or something and some may decide to change their swing or approach - when it might have been OK or good - to improve things, throwing them out of sync when they get back out on the road again. It is hard to build confidence in your abilities if you are hot and cold, hitting well then hitting poorly, and not making the connection that it is your home park doing it to you and not just your own abilities.

    That the Giants acknowledge that the home park needs a new configuration gives me hope that the players are at least aware that their is a home park negative on their stats. But as I showed with the numbers, it is about as extreme as can be in terms of power, particularly HR power. It is one thing to be aware that there is a problem, it is another thing to be aware of exactly how badly they are affected, which I don't think they know of, else there would have been articles on this in the Norwich papers and been discussed somewhere on some Giants website.

    ReplyDelete

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