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“Joe Talkin’ To Me?!” NL Takeover: What Happens in Coors, Stays in Coors; Park Factors

Everybody has beer muscles at Coors.

Everybody has beer muscles at Coors.

After covering the AL and NL West all season and not getting to write a word about the Marvelous Mets Threesome of The Dark Knight, The DeGrominator, and Thor, I was going to write a self-serving article talking about the Super Friends (yes, I am a Mets fan). But after this week’s edition of Major League Fantasy Sports Radio Show #52, while we were discussing the tysonimpact on Troy Tulowitski’s stats from his trade to the Blue Jays, it hit me like a Mike Tyson hook…these guys do not quite understand the impact Coors Field has on a hitter’s numbers.  And it has an impact on a hitter’s numbers.  Any hitter’s numbers!  My colleagues swear the difference between Coors and the Rogers Centre is not that great and the difference will be offset by the tremendous Blue Jays lineup.

Sorry to call you out like this fellas, but this is information any fantasy owner needs to know.  Information that has won me leagues.

It is no secret that Coors Field is an excellent hitter’s park.  As a matter of fact, ask the casual fan what the best hitter’s park in MLB is and you will likely get Coors Field as your answer.  But just how profound is this building on batter statistics?

Coors Field History

From the planning of Coors, which opened in 1995, there was worry that the stadium would give up too many home runs due to the thin, mile-high air.  Designers tried to combat this by creating one of the largest outfields in the game today, measuring 347 down the left-field line and 350 down the right-field line.  This cavernous outfield failed miserably at holding baseballs (until the humidor, more on this later).

coors

In the first year of Coors’ life, the stadium fell 7 HR short of the all-time record of 248 HR hit in Wrigley Field, home of the Angels in 1961 (yes, Wrigley, it was the only year this bandbox was used for MLB).  The stadium fell 7 HR short with a three-year old expansion team, losing nine home games that year due to the 1994 strike.  But don’t fret.  In 1996, the first full year of Coors, the HR record fell as 271 HR left the ballpark.  In 1999, 303 HR left Coors which still stands as a likely unbeatable record (unbeatable because of the humidor, more later).

Not only did Coors lead all stadiums in home runs every season from 1995-2002, but often placed first in doubles and triples as well.  This is the part that gets overlooked.  Doubles and triples are surrendered at record paces as well due to a near impossible amount of space to cover in the outfield.  Fly ball outs often turn into bloop singles as outfielders are forced to play deeper than normal, guarding against the extra-base hits.

humidorScientists have since determined that the balls fly out of Coors at record levels due more to the dry air than thin air.  This lead to the now famous humidor room in 2002.  Balls are kept in a humidor because balls stored in drier air are harder, creating more elasticity upon contact.  Since the inception of the humidor, Coors HR totals have decreased considerably.  Coors is not destroying the competition anymore, but is still among the league leading parks in HR surrendered annually.

I know what you are saying, “The home run numbers were impressive, but that was almost 15 years ago.”  This goes back to the cavernous outfield.  Even with a humidor, outfielders still need to cover that vast patch of grass, leading to tons of hits, which = base runners, which = runs.  In the past 14 seasons since the humidor was created at Coors, the Rockies have lead the league in home batting average 9 times and finished 2nd 4 times.  In the same span of time, they finished last in road batting average 4 times, and 11 times never finishing better than 24th.  Those splits are very real, and to be taken seriously.  The road statistics, away from the drunken funhouse called Coors, are the real representation of the type of hitting ball clubs the Rockies had annually. They have had some awful teams that put up impressive fantasy statistics at home.

Other than the wide open space to deposit baseballs in the outfield, the air hurts pitchers.  The thin air creates less friction on the baseball, meaning less movement.  Less movement leads to more hard hit balls as pitchers curves don’t curve quite as much and their fastballs don’t have that late movement.

Park Factors

Park factors use 100 as a mean. Anything over 100 is in favor of the hitter. Anything under 100 is in favor of the pitcher.

From parkfactor.com:

“Park Factor: +144 (143 R, 145 HR)
This means that in the years 2010-2013, Coors Field produced 143 runs for every 100 runs produced in the average MLB park, and 145 HRs for every 100 homers, for a mean Park Factor of 144.

This is an extreme hitter’s park.”

The next best park during that span was US Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, with a park factor of 125.  This is a park factor 5 points higher per season than the second best ballpark.  This is a cumulative park factor over a few seasons.

Let me break down the park factors for you over an extended period of time.  Getting back to Troy Tulowitzki, I will mention the Rogers Centre for comparison.

Here are the park factors by year since 1995 when Coors opened it’s doors:

Coors Field Rogers Center
1995 128 99
1996 123 99
1997 123 99
1998 122 99
1999 127 100
2000 125 103
2001 122 102
2002 116 103
2003 115 104
2004 114 104
2005 113 102
2006 109 100
2007 108 99
2008 109 97
2009 112 99
2010 115 101
2011 119 104
2012 117 102
2013 119 102
2014 115 100
2015 115 100

I do not need to break down the numbers, you just read them and I won’t insult you.  I do want to point out that Coors Field has never been close to favoring pitching, while the rogers Centre has been even or favoring pitching 11 times.  Even in the years when the park factor favored the hitters in the Rogers Center, it barely favored the hitters.  The lowest park factor Coors had was 108 in 2007, 4 points higher than the highest park factor of 104 that the Rogers Center had several times.  It should be noted that the Rogers Centre is considered a hitter’s ballpark.

***ALERT…One of these ballparks featured a DH, usually a slugger, for most of it’s games.  The other ballpark featured a pitcher batting, usually an automatic out, for most of it’s games.

Coors led MLB in park factor every year prior to the humidor era, and since 2002 have led MLB every single season.  EVERY SEASON IN EXISTANCE!  Good teams. Bad teams. Teams that hit over .300 at home and were dead last in MLB on the road.  The Rogers Centre has cracked the top 10 just twice since 2002, again, often favoring towards being a pitchers park.

Furthermore, if you refer to baseballmonster.com, since 2000 (aka the humidor era), Coors batters are striking out 15% of the time, 6% more than the next highest ballpark.  Still, COORS LEADS IN BALLPARK FACTOR EASILY YEAR AFTER YEAR!

 

Troy Tulowitzki

Let me say this; Tulo is the most well rounded and best SS in MLB today, as always, with the caveat of “when healthy”.  Unfortunately for Tulo, “What Happens in Coors, Stays in Coors”.

I have illustrated how Coors is a different beast from any other ballpark.  If you don’t agree withTroy Tulowitzki that by now, just stop reading.  Please.

There is not a hitter alive who does not benefit from Coors Field, and Tulo is no exception.  At Coors, he slashed .321/.394/.559, good for a .953 OPS.  Away from Coors he slashes .276/.349/.468, good for a .817 OPS.  These are fine road numbers, numbers I would gladly take on my fantasy team.

These road numbers are the true representation of the player Tulo is.  The Coors numbers represent some wacky stuff that ONLY goes on when baseball is played a mile “high” (wasn’t even legal when they thought baseball would play normal there).  Coors has inflated him to a fantasy god, “when healthy”.  His safety net is now gone as he heads to a normal ballpark.

Tulo hit a HR every 20 AB playing in Coors and a HR every 27 AB on the road.  That means it takes him roughly 1.5 games longer to hit homers away from Coors, which would be 10 total HR in 150 games away from Coors.  They are all away from Coors now.

Tulo does have a tremendous lineup to help him which could keep his RBI and R on par, but there is no lineup that can give you the kind of protection that will add nearly 50 points to your BA, OBP, and nearly 150 points to your OPS.  You gotta go to the mob for that kind of protection.  Keep in mind, everybody hit in the lineup around him in Coors too.  In addition, the park factor for the Rogers Centre this season does not even favor the hitter, while the park factor Tulo is leaving in Coors was 15 points in favor of him.

There is zero chance, over the long haul, that Tulo produces anything close to what he did in Coors.  He will still be a fine fantasy SS, possibly the best.

 

How To Use This To Win

Pretty obvious…ALWAYS US COORS HITTERS AND NEVER USE COORS PITCHERS (except Kershaw).

If you have ever had that one position on your team that is not settled, that you keep picking up and dropping guys hoping one sticks, just remember…ALWAYS USE COORS HITTERS.  Pick up and add who ever is at Coors and use them until they leave.

If you have a player hurt and need to go to the wire to find a replacement hitter…ALWAYS USE COORS HITTERS.

I have gone almost entire seasons using this strategy at a certain position I was weak in.  It works.  If Alvaro Espinoza is going to bust out with 3-for-4, 5 RBI, and 3 R, it will be at Coors.

Just remember, NEVER USE COORS PITCHERS (closers are OK).

 

"I wouldn't be frustrated and throwing my helmet if I got to hit in Coors field!  I might as well drink some Coors."

“I wouldn’t be frustrated and throwing my helmet if I got to hit in Coors field! I might as well drink some Coors.”

 

 

Zoltar
Remember to send questions to [twitter-follow screen_name=’theCiccone’] or josephciccone1033@gmail.com to be featured in future columns.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(Click the BLUE link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Sunday August 9th from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio sponsored by the Sports PaloozaRadio Network. You are welcome to call in and ask questions at 646-915-8596. This week’s topics will include minor league call ups that could effect your fantasy playoff roster amongst other current baseball information.

Our guests are Ron Shandler, Bryan Luhrs, and Kyle Amore. Ron is a fantasy sports trade association hall of famer, and fantasy baseball pioneer. Bryan Luhrs is a writer with MLFS, and the owner of Real Deal Dynasty Sports. Kyle is a writer with MLFS, and a former college ball player whom had his career derailed by Tommy John Surgery. This will be a very spirited debate so come join us!
If you can’t make it to the live airing you can always download the podcast at I-Tunes or Google Play stores. Search for “Sports Palooza Radio Show”. Android owners download “Podcast Republic” and then search on podcast republic for “Sports Palooza Radio Show.”
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
(Click the BLUE link below to listen)
Major League Fantasy Football Show:  Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Saturday August 8th from 2-3:30pm EST for Major League Fantasy Football Radio sponsored by the Sports Palooza Radio Network. This is a live call in show so feel free to dial in at 646-915-8596. This week is all about the wide receiver position.
Our guests this week are Jeff Nelson, Lou Landers, and Zak Sauer. Jeff is a defensive coach from White Hall H.S. in PA. Lou Landers and Zak Sauer are both writers with majorleaguefantasysports.com.
If you can’t make it to the live airing you can always download the podcast at I-Tunes or Google Play stores. Search for “Sports Palooza Radio Show”. Android owners download “Podcast Republic” and then search on podcast republic for “Sports Palooza Radio Show.”

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Corey D Roberts

    August 5, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Your points are all well founded, and explained. We all understand the effects of Coors field on hitters. No one on the show was arguing that point, but you. The question we were discussing was, “What does the move for Tulo to Toronto mean for his fantasy value THIS YEAR.” I think that is where you got confused. He is going to a better line up, and moving to the A.L. where there are more hitters parks than pitchers parks. You can trot out as many collective stats you want, but they won’t answer the question we were discussing. The one thing you are not grasping either is Tulo isn’t what you would call a “slugger” he is just a “great hitter” that will put some balls over the wall. Big difference. I don’t need stats to explain that, because you can see it with your eyes. Moving away from Coors will hurt guys the likes of Mark Reynolds (That style of hitter is called a “slugger”) A great hitter can hit anywhere. Maybe Tulo’s HR rate dips some this year, but I don’t see it. Tulo is great baseball player not a product of a ball park. That’s just nonsense. Dante Bichette was a product of Coors field. Are you sticking Tulo in that category? Also the majoirty of the numbers you provided for total road statistics is worthless. The overwhelming majority are in N.L. parks. The A.L. is a different animal. Again, the discussion on the show Sunday night was “What will happen to his value this year?” Your suggestion of regression is wrong, and you used a very basic tool to try and sell it. So far in 27 plate appearances in Toronto 9 runs, 8 hits, 3 walks, 2 Doubles, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB good for a .333 Avg, .448 OBP, and 1.115 OPS. Yup smells like regression to me.

    • Joseph Ciccone

      August 5, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      You miss the point..The best lineup in baseball every year is the lineup in Coors Field, for the Rockies or the Visitors. Now, he is not in that lineup. That hurts his fantasy value, period.

      • Corey D Roberts

        August 5, 2015 at 3:12 pm

        You are looking too much at collectivism when making your points which are fine, but you should review the Tulo case more on an individual basis. Not every person will hold true to your assertions. By and large I think you can make that assessment. However blanket statements will always come with exceptions. This is one of those exceptions.

  2. Joseph Ciccone

    August 5, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    On an individual basis, no player has ever been more productive when leaving the rockies for all the reasons i stated. That is a blanket statement, but everyone is under that blanket. If you believe tulle will be the exception, your reason of the blue jay lineup and the ballpark are not based on fact…..at least facts that actually support your opinion

  3. Corey D Roberts

    August 5, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    This will be never ending because of your unwillingness to get off your square which is actually a trapezoid. You’re wrong about Tulo, and your assertions about “all” players that leave Coors Field is definitely wrong. Not all people fall under a blanket assertions you have made. There is no debate here only your inability to look at fundamental baseball logic. And again you have reshaped the narative to build credibility to your argument. Not one person mentioned one time on our shows that Coors does not have a profound effect on hitters. The conversation we were having on that show still escapes you.

    • Joseph Ciccone

      August 6, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Name me one player who established himself as a rockie, then left the rockies and his fantasy production DIDN’T take a hit.

      • Joe Iannone

        August 6, 2015 at 11:05 am

        Juan Uribe of your NY Mets & Juan Pierre.

        But, seriously, that is not a fair question. The Rockies have not developed many top players, and the ones they did develop, ie Todd Helton, never left. Matt Holiday is probably the only star they developed who left, and his fantasy stats took a bit of a hit, perhaps as much him leaving when he was nearly 30 (like Tulo) as it is him aiming for the Arch instead of the Rocky Mountains. Tulo may regress, as he is over 30 (31 in October) and has had a multitude of major injuries playing a position where age is not kind. Predicting regression is a bit too easy, Joe.

        But, as Corey said, we were talking about 2015. The rejuvenating effect of going from a perennial loser to a contending team with a major offense in a pennant race with the Yanks, in a season that he is healthy cannot be minimized.

        Now go have a Coors Light and think of some National League news to write about.

  4. Joe Iannone

    August 6, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I miss the 1996 Rockies. Ellis Burks and Dante Bichette going 40/30 (Larry Walker did it the next season) Andres “the Big Cat Gallaraga, Vinny Castillo. Talk about a fantasy lineup. Joe, how old were you in 1996?

    Tulo went 0 for 4 yesterday. I hope you traded him already cuz now it is Tulate. Bwahahahha

    • Joseph Ciccone

      August 6, 2015 at 5:25 pm

      Juan pierre had his career high in BA, OBP, SLG, and OPS in his only full season at coors. Juan uribe was 24 with 300 or so career games when he left, he was still getting better. Try again.

      • Joe Iannone

        August 6, 2015 at 5:34 pm

        I was being a bit sarcastic. Neither player was in Denver more than a couple years. But I’d like to hear you name all the stars that regressed after Denver. Besides Holiday who was there? Seriously.

  5. Bill Natale

    August 6, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Corey Roberts, you clearly did not read the article in its entirely, or you simply skipped over all of the points that do not support your argument. Coors is a huge park, and outfielders have much more ground to cover. It does not matter if you’re a slugger or not. A ‘great hitter’ will most easily be able to reap the benefits of that fact alone. I’ll provide an example for you, because it seems like you need many examples illustrated for you…. Tulowitzky certainly has a good amount of power, so combine that power with the thin air of Coors Field, and the outfielders will have to take more than a few steps back to prevent fly balls from being hit over their heads. That alone makes it a lot easier for him to get base-hits. Tulo does not get those same types of hits while playing on the road, which is why his career average away from Coors Field is .276, and there is nothing ‘great’ about that statistic. For goodness sake, Mike Hampton, a PITCHER, hit 7 home runs while on the Rockies. The Blue Jays line-up does not come close to making up the difference of what the thin air can do for a players stats. No line-up has ever been able to make up that difference, so its very foolish to believe that it can happen ‘this year’.

  6. Joe Iannone

    August 6, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    I guess we will know in a couple of months.

    @Bill – Thanks for responding. However, to know the full context of Corey and Joe C’s debate (Of which I guess I am now a part) you’d have to first listen to the Radio Show from Sunday, and then read Joe C’s article which clearly challenged the majority opinion of the other 3 of us on the show. This is not just a debate about whether or not Coors Field gives hitters an advantage. We did not need Joe’s exhaustive research to know that already. The radio show debate was merely about Tulo’s fantasy value for the next two months.Nothing else.

  7. Joe Iannone

    August 6, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    I’m still waiting to hear the list of stars whose luster was lost after leaving Coors. Even one would be welcome. Matt Holliday, and……………………………….End of list. Granted I only went back to 1994 in my own research, so maybe there was one from the 80’s? Oh, wait, they weren’t around till 1993.

    • Joseph Ciccone

      August 7, 2015 at 12:48 am

      The fact that you can not name me one that went the opposite way, means the answer to your question is every single one.

  8. Charles Hussell

    August 7, 2015 at 1:46 am

    His fantasy value has nothing to do with park fx or the lineup he’s slotting into.

    His road numbers are still pretty much as good as any other SS overall, and he kills it in domes and on turf.

    BUT he is coming from the bitch league to a man’s league, into the belly of the AL Beast.

    I would guess he’ll hit .825-850 for the Blowjays.

  9. Bill Natale

    August 7, 2015 at 7:36 am

    The exhaustive research proves that he will lose some value. You’re agreeing that players have an advantage at Coors, and ultimately they will lose value when they leave, but for some reason you don’t think Tulo will fall under that category for the next two months. Out of curiosity, in 2016, an entire season, would you rather Tulo as your fantasy shortstop if he were playing for the Blue Jays, or the Rockies ?

    • Joe Iannone

      August 7, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      Bill,
      Did you listen to the radio show yet? If not then debating with you now is pointless.

      Answering your current question, whether I said Rockies or Blue Jays, would be irrelevant to the on air discussion which the author followed up with the article we are commenting on. The theme of the entire 2 hour on air discussion was the affect on fantasy value of traded players for the rest of 2015 only.

      Regarding the rest of 2015, we’ve all stated many factors that would likely affect performance. Ballpark is surely one, but also, the team he plays for, the lineup, what they are playing for, turf instead of grass, the pitchers he will face, the ability to DH now and then, etc, etc, etc all play a major role in how Mr. Tulowitski will perform for what is now the next 7 weeks. All of this is on the show, probably within the first half hour.

      Either way, we all agree staying healthy and on the field will be the most important factor. Everything else here on both sides of the debate is just valid speculation………for 2015.

    • Corey D Roberts

      August 7, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      BlueJays, depending on other internal factors staying the same or improving.

  10. Pingback: “Joe Talkin’ To Me?!” NL Takeover: Fantasy’s Biggest Difference Makers |

  11. Bill Natale

    September 23, 2015 at 10:51 am

    It looks like Joe was right. Tulo has a paltry .232 average with the Blue Jays, 5 home runs, 17 rbis, 30 runs scored in 39 games played. Oh, and he’s injured again. What a shocker!

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