From the bottom of a recent Krasovic article:
“I did come across a theory recently, I can’t remember where, that if you could put together a great pitching staff, you might be better off building the best hitter’s ballpark,” Garagiola said. “The theory is that if you put great pitchers in a great hitter’s park, they still will do what they do because they are great pitchers, and they are then beneficiaries, because their hitters aren’t facing them. It’s kind of counterintuitive, but it makes sense.”
At first I was like, “huh?” But maybe this does make some sense. If you have a hitter’s park, it’s generally going to benefit hitters who put the ball in play. If you have a pitching staff full of high k pitchers, they theoretically won’t be hurt by the park as much as the average pitcher, which is what you’ll be facing throughout the year. Does that make sense?
I’m not sure if that’s right or if the theory holds true at all, but it’s interesting to think about. So what if you build a park that favors fly ball hitters. Load your team with high % fly ball hitters and ground ball pitchers, right? I guess the point is to build a quirky park because it’s easier to take advantage of, beyond the normal advantage that comes with playing at home. So the question comes back to, how do the Padres do that with Petco?
The Padres have a .549 w% at home and .517% on the road (since moving into Petco in 04). If I’m reading this correctly, I believe that’s well below historical trends. So despite having a quirky park, or at least an extreme one, they’ve performed worse at home than you’d expect.
I suppose one way to gain an edge would be to have a bunch of ground ball hitters. The challenge with that is that they have to be good enough hitters to score runs and win games (especially on the road when the park will be more normal). I mean if I played I may only put 10 balls in play all year. I may not be hurt as much by Petco as the next guy, but a team of me would probably score about .2 runs per game.
Have any ideas on how to “beat” Petco or how to use it more to our advantage? Or any thoughts on other parks or park effects in general? Let me hear ‘em.