This October, there’s been a lot of talk about the Royals’ offense, which is a very unexpected sentence. By now everyone should be pretty familiar with the Royals’ approach: they try to hit the ball and make things happen, as opposed to sitting back and waiting for dingers. At a few points, you might’ve read remarks along these lines from Royals officials: if the team played in a different ballpark, they’d hit a lot more homers. This year the Royals were actually last in the American League in road home runs, so it’s not like dimensions have conspired to suffocate a juggernaut, but the bigger message is that the Royals have a big stadium. And Kauffman Stadium, indeed, is statistically tough on the longball.
Let’s play an assumption game for some reason. Say you’re given only one piece of information about a stadium, and from there you have to guess how the stadium plays overall. By our numbers, Kauffman Stadium has baseball’s seventh-lowest home-run factor. That means it’s probably pitcher-friendly, right? AT&T Park is pitcher-friendly. PNC Park is pitcher-friendly. Safeco, historically, has been pitcher-friendly. But this is the interesting twist, at least as far as park factors go: Kansas City’s ballpark is overall hitter-friendly. It’s just not so in the ordinary way.