Saturday, July 30, 2011

Top MLB HR hitters if the ball parks were all the same dimensions

I always found that all of the MLB ball parks are different sizes and dimensions was a little strange. I understand that this introduces some unpredictability in the game which gives it character. But to me sport should be played in a defined area that is the same for all players in that league. Sports like the NFL, NBA, NHL are all played on the same size field all over the United States. Why should baseball be different? I would love it if a reader could tell me the answer of the history of how this came to be. If you have read this blog you may realize that I am very interested (some would say obsessed) in sports and sports statistics. A baseball stat that gets a lot of attention is the HR leader table. Often considered as one of the most prestigious of titles the HR leader is considered synonymous with power and hitting ability.  The question I have is though how can you look at the HR leader board and say that the guy at the top is truly the HR king?  Maybe he played in a ball park where it was easier to hit HRs? 
To illustrate my point lets look at 2 ball parks :  Comerica Park in Detroit and the new Yankee Stadium in New York.

                                        HRs in 2011     avg HRs per game
Comerica Park                        88                           1.66
Yankee Stadium                     130                          2.32

Here we can clearly see that a lot more HRs are hit at Yankee Stadium then Comerica.  Therefore you would expect that Tigers players would hit less HRs since they play half of their games there.

I fantastic website that I refer to often is the Hit Tracker website founded by Greg Rybarczyk (  The information on this site is amazing and if you are at all interested in stats check it out.  What they have done is calculate the true distance of HRs, that is the distance of the hit based on where it landed, the speed off the bat etc if there were no physical structure within the ball park to stop it.  This true distance calculation is basically a true indication of how far the ball would have been hit if all ball parks were built the same.

After studying this website I found that this information could be used to calculate who the true HR champ would be if everyone played in the same sized ball park.  If you go to the HR tacker website you can see that the true HR distance ranges from 323-486 ft.  But a 323 ft HR by Sam Fuld (Rays) at Fenway down the right field line near Pesky Pole would not be a HR down the same right field line at Comerica Park (which would be about 340). Firstly lets look at the current HR (non-adjusted leader list):

Bautista, Jose (Blue Jays) 31
Granderson, Curtis (Yankees) 28
Teixeira, Mark (Yankees) 28
Konerko, Paul (White Sox) 24
Cabrera, Miguel (Tigers) 22
Cruz, Nelson (Rangers) 22
Reynolds, Mark (Orioles) 21
Beltre, Adrian (Rangers) 20
Ortiz, David (Red Sox) 20
Quentin, Carlos (White Sox) 20

Next let's look at the list if it is adjusted to the the number of HRs that are over the true HR distance of 400 ft (according to my calculations based in the data from the HR tracker website, BTW I know this is a huge hit but started with this as an exercise).

HR HR>400ft adj
Cruz, Nelson (Rangers) 22 17
Reynolds, Mark (Orioles) 21 16
Bautista, Jose (Blue Jays) 31 14
Lind, Adam (Blue Jays) 19 13
Beltre, Adrian (Rangers) 20 13
Quentin, Carlos (White Sox) 20 10
Ortiz, David (Red Sox) 20 10
Granderson, Curtis (Yankees) 28 10
Ellsbury, Jacoby (Red Sox) 17 10

Quite a surprising result right?  Here we can clearly see that Yankees players (Teixeira, Granderson) are benefiting from playing in Yankee Stadium more often.

Any questions and comments are welcome!

No comments:

Post a Comment