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Wednesday, February 27, 2002

JS Online: Ochoa pops top about Coors Field

The Coors Field factor ala Alex Ochoa.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 27, 2002 at 04:08 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Cris E Posted: February 27, 2002 at 05:28 PM (#92841)
From the article:

One of the biggest problems cited by hitters who play in Denver is the movement of pitches.

"It's not the same," Ochoa said. "The guys with good sinkers, the ball doesn't move as well. Curveballs don't break as much. When you go on the road with Colorado, you get the real movement and you have to adjust to that. It's not easy."

I keep going back and forth on this one: this theory makes a lot of sense at face value, but I'm just as sure that there should be some very clear reflection of it in the stats, and that hasn't played out. You'd think by now Denver coaches would have encouraged more BP on the road or tried a home/road platoon to see if there's a way around it. Their AAA team is at Colorado Springs, and the PCL has a lot of cities with altitude issues: has anyone ever taken advantage of this laboratory to work on the problem?
   2. Cris E Posted: February 27, 2002 at 05:28 PM (#92863)
From the article:

One of the biggest problems cited by hitters who play in Denver is the movement of pitches.

"It's not the same," Ochoa said. "The guys with good sinkers, the ball doesn't move as well. Curveballs don't break as much. When you go on the road with Colorado, you get the real movement and you have to adjust to that. It's not easy."

I keep going back and forth on this one: this theory makes a lot of sense at face value, but I'm just as sure that there should be some very clear reflection of it in the stats, and that hasn't played out. You'd think by now Denver coaches would have encouraged more BP on the road or tried a home/road platoon to see if there's a way around it. Their AAA team is at Colorado Springs, and the PCL has a lot of cities with altitude issues: has anyone ever taken advantage of this laboratory to work on the problem?
   3. Cris E Posted: February 27, 2002 at 05:28 PM (#92885)
From the article:

One of the biggest problems cited by hitters who play in Denver is the movement of pitches.

"It's not the same," Ochoa said. "The guys with good sinkers, the ball doesn't move as well. Curveballs don't break as much. When you go on the road with Colorado, you get the real movement and you have to adjust to that. It's not easy."

I keep going back and forth on this one: this theory makes a lot of sense at face value, but I'm just as sure that there should be some very clear reflection of it in the stats, and that hasn't played out. You'd think by now Denver coaches would have encouraged more BP on the road or tried a home/road platoon to see if there's a way around it. Their AAA team is at Colorado Springs, and the PCL has a lot of cities with altitude issues: has anyone ever taken advantage of this laboratory to work on the problem?
   4. Cris E Posted: February 27, 2002 at 05:28 PM (#96234)
From the article:

One of the biggest problems cited by hitters who play in Denver is the movement of pitches.

"It's not the same," Ochoa said. "The guys with good sinkers, the ball doesn't move as well. Curveballs don't break as much. When you go on the road with Colorado, you get the real movement and you have to adjust to that. It's not easy."

I keep going back and forth on this one: this theory makes a lot of sense at face value, but I'm just as sure that there should be some very clear reflection of it in the stats, and that hasn't played out. You'd think by now Denver coaches would have encouraged more BP on the road or tried a home/road platoon to see if there's a way around it. Their AAA team is at Colorado Springs, and the PCL has a lot of cities with altitude issues: has anyone ever taken advantage of this laboratory to work on the problem?
   5. scruff Posted: February 27, 2002 at 05:45 PM (#92842)
I remember Elias doing a study in their 1993 Analyst, under the yet to have played Rockies comment (I could be wrong, but it makes sense). Anyway, they looked at the other two major sports (the Avalanches didn't exist at that time and the Devils only played one year there as the original Rockies before leaving) because both the Nuggets and Broncos traditionally enjoyed enormous home field advantages.

I don't remember how the study was designed, but they concluded that it wasn't a homefield advantage, it was a road field disadvantage. When I get home tonight, I'll try to track it down and see if I can come up with their reasoning. Does anyone remember this?
   6. scruff Posted: February 27, 2002 at 05:45 PM (#92864)
I remember Elias doing a study in their 1993 Analyst, under the yet to have played Rockies comment (I could be wrong, but it makes sense). Anyway, they looked at the other two major sports (the Avalanches didn't exist at that time and the Devils only played one year there as the original Rockies before leaving) because both the Nuggets and Broncos traditionally enjoyed enormous home field advantages.

I don't remember how the study was designed, but they concluded that it wasn't a homefield advantage, it was a road field disadvantage. When I get home tonight, I'll try to track it down and see if I can come up with their reasoning. Does anyone remember this?
   7. scruff Posted: February 27, 2002 at 05:45 PM (#92886)
I remember Elias doing a study in their 1993 Analyst, under the yet to have played Rockies comment (I could be wrong, but it makes sense). Anyway, they looked at the other two major sports (the Avalanches didn't exist at that time and the Devils only played one year there as the original Rockies before leaving) because both the Nuggets and Broncos traditionally enjoyed enormous home field advantages.

I don't remember how the study was designed, but they concluded that it wasn't a homefield advantage, it was a road field disadvantage. When I get home tonight, I'll try to track it down and see if I can come up with their reasoning. Does anyone remember this?
   8. scruff Posted: February 27, 2002 at 05:45 PM (#96235)
I remember Elias doing a study in their 1993 Analyst, under the yet to have played Rockies comment (I could be wrong, but it makes sense). Anyway, they looked at the other two major sports (the Avalanches didn't exist at that time and the Devils only played one year there as the original Rockies before leaving) because both the Nuggets and Broncos traditionally enjoyed enormous home field advantages.

I don't remember how the study was designed, but they concluded that it wasn't a homefield advantage, it was a road field disadvantage. When I get home tonight, I'll try to track it down and see if I can come up with their reasoning. Does anyone remember this?
   9. Bob T Posted: February 27, 2002 at 07:02 PM (#92844)
Jonathan,

Good idea about pressurizing Coors Field. Perhaps we can get NASA to work on that one.

We might as well just turn it into BioSphere III.
   10. Bob T Posted: February 27, 2002 at 07:02 PM (#92866)
Jonathan,

Good idea about pressurizing Coors Field. Perhaps we can get NASA to work on that one.

We might as well just turn it into BioSphere III.
   11. Bob T Posted: February 27, 2002 at 07:02 PM (#92888)
Jonathan,

Good idea about pressurizing Coors Field. Perhaps we can get NASA to work on that one.

We might as well just turn it into BioSphere III.
   12. Bob T Posted: February 27, 2002 at 07:02 PM (#96237)
Jonathan,

Good idea about pressurizing Coors Field. Perhaps we can get NASA to work on that one.

We might as well just turn it into BioSphere III.
   13. Steve Treder Posted: February 27, 2002 at 07:30 PM (#92846)
"... there should be some very clear reflection of it in the stats, and that hasn't played out."

But it has, hasn't it? Isn't the general pattern been that Rockies hitters hit great at home, just like everybody else (last year all hitters hit .380 at Coors when not striking out -- just put the ball in play and the average guy is a .380 hitter). However Rockies hitters have generally performed worse than their historical norms on the road -- that's what Cirillo did. Hasn't this been the general pattern for a lot of Rockies hitters? Seems to me I've heard that.
   14. Steve Treder Posted: February 27, 2002 at 07:30 PM (#92868)
"... there should be some very clear reflection of it in the stats, and that hasn't played out."

But it has, hasn't it? Isn't the general pattern been that Rockies hitters hit great at home, just like everybody else (last year all hitters hit .380 at Coors when not striking out -- just put the ball in play and the average guy is a .380 hitter). However Rockies hitters have generally performed worse than their historical norms on the road -- that's what Cirillo did. Hasn't this been the general pattern for a lot of Rockies hitters? Seems to me I've heard that.
   15. Steve Treder Posted: February 27, 2002 at 07:30 PM (#92890)
"... there should be some very clear reflection of it in the stats, and that hasn't played out."

But it has, hasn't it? Isn't the general pattern been that Rockies hitters hit great at home, just like everybody else (last year all hitters hit .380 at Coors when not striking out -- just put the ball in play and the average guy is a .380 hitter). However Rockies hitters have generally performed worse than their historical norms on the road -- that's what Cirillo did. Hasn't this been the general pattern for a lot of Rockies hitters? Seems to me I've heard that.
   16. Steve Treder Posted: February 27, 2002 at 07:30 PM (#96239)
"... there should be some very clear reflection of it in the stats, and that hasn't played out."

But it has, hasn't it? Isn't the general pattern been that Rockies hitters hit great at home, just like everybody else (last year all hitters hit .380 at Coors when not striking out -- just put the ball in play and the average guy is a .380 hitter). However Rockies hitters have generally performed worse than their historical norms on the road -- that's what Cirillo did. Hasn't this been the general pattern for a lot of Rockies hitters? Seems to me I've heard that.
   17. Cris E Posted: February 27, 2002 at 08:04 PM (#92849)
...the keys to winning at Coors are generally the same as anywhere else: Get a rotation full of pitchers who have good walk to strikeout ratios and don't rely heavily on a curve, get batters who get on base and can hit homeruns.

Derrick -
   18. Cris E Posted: February 27, 2002 at 08:04 PM (#92871)
...the keys to winning at Coors are generally the same as anywhere else: Get a rotation full of pitchers who have good walk to strikeout ratios and don't rely heavily on a curve, get batters who get on base and can hit homeruns.

Derrick -
   19. Cris E Posted: February 27, 2002 at 08:04 PM (#92893)
...the keys to winning at Coors are generally the same as anywhere else: Get a rotation full of pitchers who have good walk to strikeout ratios and don't rely heavily on a curve, get batters who get on base and can hit homeruns.

Derrick -
   20. Cris E Posted: February 27, 2002 at 08:04 PM (#96242)
...the keys to winning at Coors are generally the same as anywhere else: Get a rotation full of pitchers who have good walk to strikeout ratios and don't rely heavily on a curve, get batters who get on base and can hit homeruns.

Derrick -
   21. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: February 27, 2002 at 08:13 PM (#92850)
However Rockies hitters have generally performed worse than their historical norms on the road -- that's what Cirillo did. Hasn't this been the general pattern for a lot of Rockies hitters? Seems to me I've heard that.

Steve,

Exactly. I was going to bring up Cirillo, too (this is why you take Coors Field hitting-improvements with a gigantic grain of salt).

Cirillo's away #s:

1996 (MIL): .350/.404/.548
   22. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: February 27, 2002 at 08:13 PM (#92872)
However Rockies hitters have generally performed worse than their historical norms on the road -- that's what Cirillo did. Hasn't this been the general pattern for a lot of Rockies hitters? Seems to me I've heard that.

Steve,

Exactly. I was going to bring up Cirillo, too (this is why you take Coors Field hitting-improvements with a gigantic grain of salt).

Cirillo's away #s:

1996 (MIL): .350/.404/.548
   23. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: February 27, 2002 at 08:13 PM (#92894)
However Rockies hitters have generally performed worse than their historical norms on the road -- that's what Cirillo did. Hasn't this been the general pattern for a lot of Rockies hitters? Seems to me I've heard that.

Steve,

Exactly. I was going to bring up Cirillo, too (this is why you take Coors Field hitting-improvements with a gigantic grain of salt).

Cirillo's away #s:

1996 (MIL): .350/.404/.548
   24. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: February 27, 2002 at 08:13 PM (#96243)
However Rockies hitters have generally performed worse than their historical norms on the road -- that's what Cirillo did. Hasn't this been the general pattern for a lot of Rockies hitters? Seems to me I've heard that.

Steve,

Exactly. I was going to bring up Cirillo, too (this is why you take Coors Field hitting-improvements with a gigantic grain of salt).

Cirillo's away #s:

1996 (MIL): .350/.404/.548
   25. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: February 28, 2002 at 03:08 AM (#92854)
Voros,

Points taken. I do realize that Coors is lost as an away park, but I think the massive drop for Cirillo transcends that factor.

What will really be interesting is how Cirillo does as a Mariner. Theoretically, all the other factors that could be dragging down Cirillo's road numbers will still be in place: lack of Coors Field as an away park, older age, the offensive decrease (unless it picks up again). Even if he rebounds, of course, we won't know that it had anything to do with this supposed effect of Coors.

I see your projections for the Mariners aren't out yet. I wonder how you have Cirillo doing. I have trouble imagining him hitting at the borderline atrocious levels of his away stats in Colorado.
   26. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: February 28, 2002 at 03:08 AM (#92876)
Voros,

Points taken. I do realize that Coors is lost as an away park, but I think the massive drop for Cirillo transcends that factor.

What will really be interesting is how Cirillo does as a Mariner. Theoretically, all the other factors that could be dragging down Cirillo's road numbers will still be in place: lack of Coors Field as an away park, older age, the offensive decrease (unless it picks up again). Even if he rebounds, of course, we won't know that it had anything to do with this supposed effect of Coors.

I see your projections for the Mariners aren't out yet. I wonder how you have Cirillo doing. I have trouble imagining him hitting at the borderline atrocious levels of his away stats in Colorado.
   27. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: February 28, 2002 at 03:08 AM (#92898)
Voros,

Points taken. I do realize that Coors is lost as an away park, but I think the massive drop for Cirillo transcends that factor.

What will really be interesting is how Cirillo does as a Mariner. Theoretically, all the other factors that could be dragging down Cirillo's road numbers will still be in place: lack of Coors Field as an away park, older age, the offensive decrease (unless it picks up again). Even if he rebounds, of course, we won't know that it had anything to do with this supposed effect of Coors.

I see your projections for the Mariners aren't out yet. I wonder how you have Cirillo doing. I have trouble imagining him hitting at the borderline atrocious levels of his away stats in Colorado.
   28. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: February 28, 2002 at 03:08 AM (#96247)
Voros,

Points taken. I do realize that Coors is lost as an away park, but I think the massive drop for Cirillo transcends that factor.

What will really be interesting is how Cirillo does as a Mariner. Theoretically, all the other factors that could be dragging down Cirillo's road numbers will still be in place: lack of Coors Field as an away park, older age, the offensive decrease (unless it picks up again). Even if he rebounds, of course, we won't know that it had anything to do with this supposed effect of Coors.

I see your projections for the Mariners aren't out yet. I wonder how you have Cirillo doing. I have trouble imagining him hitting at the borderline atrocious levels of his away stats in Colorado.
   29. Robert Dudek Posted: February 28, 2002 at 08:48 AM (#92856)
It's obvious that hitting a tennis ball the way you normally do near sea level will cause a ball to fly X feet farther at altitute.

In tennis, this is crucial because you have to get the ball in court. Because of the lesser density of air, spin should also be affected: in other words, the ball travels father in a straight line for every rotation of the ball.

I'm not sure, but I think that the professional tours use a heavier ball in tournaments at high altitude (though there probably aren't too many played as high as Denver is). I'd be interested if someone could confirm this as true or false.
   30. Robert Dudek Posted: February 28, 2002 at 08:48 AM (#92878)
It's obvious that hitting a tennis ball the way you normally do near sea level will cause a ball to fly X feet farther at altitute.

In tennis, this is crucial because you have to get the ball in court. Because of the lesser density of air, spin should also be affected: in other words, the ball travels father in a straight line for every rotation of the ball.

I'm not sure, but I think that the professional tours use a heavier ball in tournaments at high altitude (though there probably aren't too many played as high as Denver is). I'd be interested if someone could confirm this as true or false.
   31. Robert Dudek Posted: February 28, 2002 at 08:48 AM (#92900)
It's obvious that hitting a tennis ball the way you normally do near sea level will cause a ball to fly X feet farther at altitute.

In tennis, this is crucial because you have to get the ball in court. Because of the lesser density of air, spin should also be affected: in other words, the ball travels father in a straight line for every rotation of the ball.

I'm not sure, but I think that the professional tours use a heavier ball in tournaments at high altitude (though there probably aren't too many played as high as Denver is). I'd be interested if someone could confirm this as true or false.
   32. Robert Dudek Posted: February 28, 2002 at 08:48 AM (#96249)
It's obvious that hitting a tennis ball the way you normally do near sea level will cause a ball to fly X feet farther at altitute.

In tennis, this is crucial because you have to get the ball in court. Because of the lesser density of air, spin should also be affected: in other words, the ball travels father in a straight line for every rotation of the ball.

I'm not sure, but I think that the professional tours use a heavier ball in tournaments at high altitude (though there probably aren't too many played as high as Denver is). I'd be interested if someone could confirm this as true or false.
   33. scruff Posted: February 28, 2002 at 01:18 PM (#92859)
Why can't Bud use some of MLB's revenue to come up with a Type 3 baseball? Couldn't be all that hard, we've got a lot of scientists in this country, I'm sure some college out there would love a grant to research and develop this ball.
   34. scruff Posted: February 28, 2002 at 01:18 PM (#92881)
Why can't Bud use some of MLB's revenue to come up with a Type 3 baseball? Couldn't be all that hard, we've got a lot of scientists in this country, I'm sure some college out there would love a grant to research and develop this ball.
   35. scruff Posted: February 28, 2002 at 01:18 PM (#92903)
Why can't Bud use some of MLB's revenue to come up with a Type 3 baseball? Couldn't be all that hard, we've got a lot of scientists in this country, I'm sure some college out there would love a grant to research and develop this ball.
   36. scruff Posted: February 28, 2002 at 01:18 PM (#96252)
Why can't Bud use some of MLB's revenue to come up with a Type 3 baseball? Couldn't be all that hard, we've got a lot of scientists in this country, I'm sure some college out there would love a grant to research and develop this ball.
   37. WaltDavis Posted: February 28, 2002 at 03:56 PM (#92861)
Rob Neyer floated the idea of a special Coors ball a year or two ago, though he was suggesting something similar to restricted flight softballs, which are the same size and if anything lighter than regular softballs. Basically, fill the center with deadening material. Don't know if that would solve the breaking ball problem though.

I kinda believe in the Coors road effect, but then that apparent effect is really the result of a handful of players (Burks, Galarraga, Kile).

My best theory for a Coors road effect on hitters (though it's not as good as Voros') is that players put an uppercut in their swing (intentionally or not), because it's so easy to hit the ball out. If you're Galarraga or Burks, that doesn't necessarily hurt you much; if you're Cirillo, you could be in trouble on the road. Meanwhile a true slap hitter like Juan Pierre showed no significant home/road split last year (it's just one year). I'd be interested in seeing if hitter's flyball/groundball tendencies changed when they joined the Rockies.

I think this was part of O'Dowd's plans a couple years ago -- get line drive hitters like Cirillo cuz they'll still benefit from the power boost of Coors while not suffering too badly on the road. But I suspect playing in Coors ends up giving players an uppercut anyway.

On pitching I don't know. You have guys like Kile and Hampton who stunk both at home and unexpectedly on the road. But guys like Bohanon and Astacio posted good road numbers in line with what you'd expect from them.
   38. WaltDavis Posted: February 28, 2002 at 03:56 PM (#92883)
Rob Neyer floated the idea of a special Coors ball a year or two ago, though he was suggesting something similar to restricted flight softballs, which are the same size and if anything lighter than regular softballs. Basically, fill the center with deadening material. Don't know if that would solve the breaking ball problem though.

I kinda believe in the Coors road effect, but then that apparent effect is really the result of a handful of players (Burks, Galarraga, Kile).

My best theory for a Coors road effect on hitters (though it's not as good as Voros') is that players put an uppercut in their swing (intentionally or not), because it's so easy to hit the ball out. If you're Galarraga or Burks, that doesn't necessarily hurt you much; if you're Cirillo, you could be in trouble on the road. Meanwhile a true slap hitter like Juan Pierre showed no significant home/road split last year (it's just one year). I'd be interested in seeing if hitter's flyball/groundball tendencies changed when they joined the Rockies.

I think this was part of O'Dowd's plans a couple years ago -- get line drive hitters like Cirillo cuz they'll still benefit from the power boost of Coors while not suffering too badly on the road. But I suspect playing in Coors ends up giving players an uppercut anyway.

On pitching I don't know. You have guys like Kile and Hampton who stunk both at home and unexpectedly on the road. But guys like Bohanon and Astacio posted good road numbers in line with what you'd expect from them.
   39. WaltDavis Posted: February 28, 2002 at 03:56 PM (#92905)
Rob Neyer floated the idea of a special Coors ball a year or two ago, though he was suggesting something similar to restricted flight softballs, which are the same size and if anything lighter than regular softballs. Basically, fill the center with deadening material. Don't know if that would solve the breaking ball problem though.

I kinda believe in the Coors road effect, but then that apparent effect is really the result of a handful of players (Burks, Galarraga, Kile).

My best theory for a Coors road effect on hitters (though it's not as good as Voros') is that players put an uppercut in their swing (intentionally or not), because it's so easy to hit the ball out. If you're Galarraga or Burks, that doesn't necessarily hurt you much; if you're Cirillo, you could be in trouble on the road. Meanwhile a true slap hitter like Juan Pierre showed no significant home/road split last year (it's just one year). I'd be interested in seeing if hitter's flyball/groundball tendencies changed when they joined the Rockies.

I think this was part of O'Dowd's plans a couple years ago -- get line drive hitters like Cirillo cuz they'll still benefit from the power boost of Coors while not suffering too badly on the road. But I suspect playing in Coors ends up giving players an uppercut anyway.

On pitching I don't know. You have guys like Kile and Hampton who stunk both at home and unexpectedly on the road. But guys like Bohanon and Astacio posted good road numbers in line with what you'd expect from them.
   40. WaltDavis Posted: February 28, 2002 at 03:56 PM (#96254)
Rob Neyer floated the idea of a special Coors ball a year or two ago, though he was suggesting something similar to restricted flight softballs, which are the same size and if anything lighter than regular softballs. Basically, fill the center with deadening material. Don't know if that would solve the breaking ball problem though.

I kinda believe in the Coors road effect, but then that apparent effect is really the result of a handful of players (Burks, Galarraga, Kile).

My best theory for a Coors road effect on hitters (though it's not as good as Voros') is that players put an uppercut in their swing (intentionally or not), because it's so easy to hit the ball out. If you're Galarraga or Burks, that doesn't necessarily hurt you much; if you're Cirillo, you could be in trouble on the road. Meanwhile a true slap hitter like Juan Pierre showed no significant home/road split last year (it's just one year). I'd be interested in seeing if hitter's flyball/groundball tendencies changed when they joined the Rockies.

I think this was part of O'Dowd's plans a couple years ago -- get line drive hitters like Cirillo cuz they'll still benefit from the power boost of Coors while not suffering too badly on the road. But I suspect playing in Coors ends up giving players an uppercut anyway.

On pitching I don't know. You have guys like Kile and Hampton who stunk both at home and unexpectedly on the road. But guys like Bohanon and Astacio posted good road numbers in line with what you'd expect from them.
   41. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: February 28, 2002 at 07:25 PM (#92862)
My best theory for a Coors road effect on hitters (though it's not as good as Voros') is that players put an uppercut in their swing (intentionally or not), because it's so easy to hit the ball out.

Walt,

I think there's truth to that, and it goes hand in hand with another thing I've noticed about Cirillo:

BB/(AB+BB+SF)
   42. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: February 28, 2002 at 07:25 PM (#92884)
My best theory for a Coors road effect on hitters (though it's not as good as Voros') is that players put an uppercut in their swing (intentionally or not), because it's so easy to hit the ball out.

Walt,

I think there's truth to that, and it goes hand in hand with another thing I've noticed about Cirillo:

BB/(AB+BB+SF)
   43. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: February 28, 2002 at 07:25 PM (#92906)
My best theory for a Coors road effect on hitters (though it's not as good as Voros') is that players put an uppercut in their swing (intentionally or not), because it's so easy to hit the ball out.

Walt,

I think there's truth to that, and it goes hand in hand with another thing I've noticed about Cirillo:

BB/(AB+BB+SF)
   44. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: February 28, 2002 at 07:25 PM (#96255)
My best theory for a Coors road effect on hitters (though it's not as good as Voros') is that players put an uppercut in their swing (intentionally or not), because it's so easy to hit the ball out.

Walt,

I think there's truth to that, and it goes hand in hand with another thing I've noticed about Cirillo:

BB/(AB+BB+SF)

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