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  1. This loss of power, despite the move to Fenway, shouldn’t be worrying for Gonzo fans? I understand that he’s adjusted well and should maintain his strong hitting credentials, but I don’t see how you can spin a loss of power in an offensive environment as a positive.

    Comment by Cliff Lee's Changeup — July 1, 2011 @ 11:14 am

  2. But how can this possibly be? The AL is so strong. The pitching is so much better. After all, what about Adam Dunn? So many idiots have been telling us that the reason he is struggling is the change in leagues. There must be some mistake here.

    Comment by MikeS — July 1, 2011 @ 11:20 am

  3. He had shoulder surgery in the offseason. I kinda expected lower power numbers in the first half of this season.

    Comment by majorkong — July 1, 2011 @ 11:21 am

  4. It’s not a loss of power (in a statistical sense), it’s a loss of distance. It’s entirely possible that he’s just not swinging as hard, willing to be more relaxed in the cozier confines of Fenway. He’s average is way over the .288 of his last two years. He also has a better lineup around him, possibly leading him to push less for the big hit and just be content driving his friends home on a single rather than needing to drive himself home on the big fly.

    Comment by NJ_Andy — July 1, 2011 @ 11:21 am

  5. Sorry. This should have been a reply to Cliff Lee’s Changeup.

    Comment by NJ_Andy — July 1, 2011 @ 11:22 am

  6. Question: What is the BAbip of Fenway Park?

    His BAbip is insane right now, sitting at a lofty .387. That’s really what’s sustaining his sky-high average. Gonzalez has a career .317 BAbip, so it’s not going to regress all the way to the bottom, but Fenway Park must have an affect also. Balls are hit in play to left that the fielders don’t have a chance at because they bounce off the monster.

    Comment by Jerome S. — July 1, 2011 @ 11:26 am

  7. He’s on pace to hit 34 home runs, but that pace hasn’t been consistent. He hit 1 HR in April, and 9 and 6 in May and June. Since the beginning of May, his home run pace has been closer to 45 per 162.

    The April power outage really have skewed his numbers, and I think it has everything to do with coming off of shoulder surgery.

    Comment by Shaggychild — July 1, 2011 @ 11:31 am

  8. Seems quite plausible. Knowing how thoughtful his approach is at the plate I would fully expect him to make the power/contact tradeoff quite consciously as circumstances warrant. And now that he is playing so many of his games in Fenway, not to mention the other cosy AL East Parks, why not turn into more of a contact hitter and let the park dimensions do the hard work? His higher contact and lower swinging strike rates certainly support this theory.

    Comment by mcbrown — July 1, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  9. At least at Fenway, could the lack of homers to center be due to either the park (420 straightaway) or his approach at the plate due to how deep it is there? I wouldn’t be surprised if he was choosing where to hit the ball.

    Comment by Ree — July 1, 2011 @ 11:38 am

  10. That is what I was thinking.

    Your graphs are nice and all but the reason he has hit homers to center is because CF is much larger in Fenway then Petco. I bet if you overlayed the flyouts to deep center at Fenway over Petco park they would be HRs

    Also his distance isn’t there yet because he had shoulder surgery during the offseason. I expect distances to go up.

    Comment by Derek — July 1, 2011 @ 11:47 am

  11. I was going to say the same thing. It would make sense to me that he just isn’t swinging as hard, simply because he doesn’t have to. Whether it’s a conscious thing, or subconscious, when you are supposed to be a run producer and you have to hit the ball almost 400 feet just to reach the wall, you’re probably going to swing a lot harder than if you only have to hit it just over 300 feet.

    Comment by Kyle — July 1, 2011 @ 11:52 am

  12. Ummmm You do realize that Fenway is not a HR hitting park

    Comment by Seriously — July 1, 2011 @ 11:52 am

  13. I’d say this is a result of his approach at a different ballpark, weather factors and his recovery from injury, in that order.

    Comment by walkoffblast — July 1, 2011 @ 11:54 am

  14. People fail to understand that park factors have shown when it comes to HR’s. Petco and Fenway rank the same. For some reason people see the Monster and Pesky Pole and figure its a HR Park when it cetainly is not

    Comment by Seriously — July 1, 2011 @ 11:54 am

  15. how can anyone write an article about agon and not talk about this .387 BABIP

    Comment by Jon — July 1, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  16. Also, I doubt it’s worse than Petco, but Fenway is actually a worse than average park to hit homers to right in. If he weren’t coming from Petco, I’d wonder if it’s possible that some of his fly-outs to right would have been homers in his previous park. Maybe some still are? I dunno.

    Comment by Ari Collins — July 1, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

  17. It would seem that a smart hitter like Agon coming off of shoulder surgery would take an Ichiro like tradeoff of contact vs power. True AGon has a .387 BABIP this year but his career road BABIP has been .326 so a true talent .315-.325 hitter is not an unreasonable expectation for AGon going forward. This guy has a career home BABIP 30 points lower than his career road average, this when most players get a bump playing at home.

    Comment by Mr. wOBAto — July 1, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  18. people who have never watched a game played at petco don’t understand how much it kills power, it isn’t just the size, it is that nasty microclimate surrounding that stadium. When the cold air comes in off the ocean even hot shot lines drives have a hard time getting out, and flyballs have no chance.

    Comment by Mr. wOBAto — July 1, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

  19. American league MVP this season I predict, I suppose that means something in Boston is helping him. :-)

    Comment by Hurtlocker — July 1, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

  20. A brief perusal of Agon’s Career stats show a 70 point split in OPS between day and night games and that is not controling for home road, I would bet that Gonzalez has at least a 100 point Ops split between road night games and Petco night games maybe even a 200 point split.

    Comment by Mr. wOBAto — July 1, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

  21. What’d I’d like to see, and I’m not sure if it’s currently possible, is how many non-HRs off the Green Monster would be HRs in other parks, like PETCO.

    Comment by Sky Kalkman — July 1, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

  22. You don’t think there’s cold air in Boston in April and May?

    Comment by Kyle — July 1, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

  23. i don’t recognize that name–has he ever played for boston or ny?

    Comment by juan pierre's mustache — July 1, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

  24. Adrian Gonzalez has the sweetest swing in baseball.
    If you guys watch Red Sox games you will notice how easy he swings, there is no power-torque approach a la a different Adrian, Beltre.
    There is no doubt those fly balls heading to left field would be outs in Petco, and doubles in Fenway. Look a the doubles stats – 25 already this year compared to 60 TOTAL over the last 2 years.
    Power isn’t all about HRs; it’s about getting extra bases and moving runners.
    And the reason his BABIP is high is because he’s a great hitter – that’s a tricky stat that needs to be scrutinized before it’s thrown out there to make a point.

    Comment by North Sider — July 1, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

  25. Seriously – according to StatCorner’s park factors, Petco has a LHB HR factor of 59 while Fenway has a LHB HR factor of 93.

    Comment by Hone — July 1, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  26. @ Hone -

    Comment by Christopher — July 1, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

  27. “the two, the tracker shows that Gonzalez hasn’t been hitting deeper blasts to center field”

    All those 400 foot shots last year, are outs in Fenway. Fenway’s straight away center is 420 feet, and left-center is 390 feet and 38 feet tall.

    Its really tough to hit homers to center in fenway.

    Comment by RC — July 1, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

  28. fenway park is a little bandbox. he should hit 30 homeruns and 30 doubles in fenway alone.

    Comment by nikolai — July 1, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  29. Gonzo’s BABIP, outside of his home park, the last couple years has been in the .330 range. If Fenway is a good BABIP park, its entirely possible that his natural Babip is in the .350 range (playing half his games in fenway).

    SO I’d be surprised if his BABIP didn’t fall all that far.

    Comment by RC — July 1, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

  30. Funny, Baseball Think Factory says that Boston has the easiest park to hit a home run in in the AL:

    Comment by Cliff Lee's Changeup — July 1, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  31. It’s not just the cold air Mr. wOBAto is talking about. PECTO is almost sitting on the pacific ocean so the heavy marine layer settles into the park and thickens the air. It is even more dense when the the temperature is lower. Having lived in San Diego was a dream as the weather seemed to be 75º year round but it would rarely get much hotter and would always get cooler at night.

    I rant. In sum, vast field + marine layer + never getting constantly hot enough to alleviate air density = PETCO Park. The place is truly a hard to hit at and an absolute graveyard during night games.

    Comment by polyrhythm07 — July 1, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

  32. Fenway is about 2 miles from the atlantic ocean.

    Its also 420 feet in straight away center, and has one of the biggest right fields in baseball.

    Comment by RC — July 1, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

  33. I’m not surprised Fenway is the “easiest park to hit homeruns in” when your analysis shaves 30 feet off of center field.

    Comment by RC — July 1, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

  34. I don’t know everything about Fenway but in a SSS this year AGon has a 1.045 OPS in night games well ahead of his Career .866 OPS in those games.

    I am not pretending to know everything about this situation but I have watched a lot of fly balls that would have been in the third deck at Yankees stadium die well short of the track at Petco.

    Comment by Mr. wOBAto — July 1, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

  35. Great hitter or not, .387 is very high. His true talent may be well above the .290 average but there are only 12 player seasons over .380 in the last 5 years, and I think the only guy who owns more than one of them is Ichiro.

    Comment by don — July 1, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  36. Yeah, that article at BBTF is pretty flawed. Fenway’s CF is 420ft not 390ft, and the wall is still 37ft high in left center not 18ft. According to ESPNs 2011 park factors Fenway is #23 in HRs right behind (you guessed it) Petco at #22. In fact since 2005 Fenway has never been rated higher than #21.

    Comment by Kyle — July 1, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

  37. Adrian Gonzalez is batting .352 with a .428 wOBA and had 71 RBI halfway through the season.

    He’s ONLY on pace for 32 HR, 6 3B, 51 2B and 144 RBI.

    OBVIOUSLY, Fenway Park is KILLING Adrian Gonzalez.

    Don’t you guys have a better way to spend your time?

    Comment by waynetolleson — July 1, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

  38. Like this.

    Comment by Sam — July 1, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

  39. jose bautista is on line 1

    Comment by jim — July 1, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  40. If you use standard distance (which controls for altitude, wind and temperature) the difference between Gonzalez in all of 2010 and thus far in 2011 drops to about 3.5 feet instead of the 6.25 feet true distance suggests. He hit 16 hrs by the beginning of July both last year and this year. Last year he gained an extra 9 feet from wind on his total home runs distance at this point (26 vs 17), he lost 5 less feet due to temperature (-6 vs -11) and gained 5 more feet from altitude (8 vs 3). It looks like the temperature has some small effect and this smaller difference could even out quickly if he catches a couple of good wind days at Fenway.

    While he had to play in petco he was able to enjoy some altitude factors when he played in Coors and to a lesser extent Arizona and Philadelphia (9 HR in those three stadiums vs 11 in Petco).

    The speed the ball the left his bat on HRs through July was actually higher in 2011.

    Comment by walkoffblast — July 1, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

  41. +1

    No kidding. I read this and then wondered, what the hell are these idiots talking about. Gonzalez is on pace to win the AL MVP. WTF, he’s having a tremendous season.

    Just goes to show you, Fangraphs could run a piece about how poor Ruth or Young were at their jobs and its brainless minions would just nod their heads yes: ‘Oh, it must be’.

    Comment by Sultan of Schwinngg — July 1, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

  42. It seems like it should be possible but it would require getting your hands on an extensive batted ball data set. Isolate the events you are interested in and apply the equivalent of whatever they do for true distance to those events.

    Comment by walkoffblast — July 1, 2011 @ 9:50 pm

  43. I didn’t know you could get reception as you plummet back to earth.

    Comment by Bill — July 1, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

  44. I highly doubt there are many balls hit by LHH that would fit this description. It’s just kind of physically impossible.

    For RHH, absolutely. The monster turns HR into singles.

    Comment by Bill — July 1, 2011 @ 11:02 pm

  45. Fucking Boston, AGon is just the same as he was when he was here in SD, but now that he is in the spotlight of the East he’s going to get the MVP award he deserved every year.

    Comment by West Coast is Best Coast — July 2, 2011 @ 12:05 am

  46. How is it impossible for a LHH? He hits plenty of hard line drives to left field.

    Comment by Kyle — July 2, 2011 @ 12:50 am

  47. “Just the same” with a 60-70 point higher avg and leading the majors in RBIs. Those aren’t the greatest stats, but they get you noticed, and get you votes.

    Comment by Kyle — July 2, 2011 @ 12:53 am

  48. Good thought, but he has no deep fly outs to centerfield in Fenway that would be homeruns in PETCO. I made sure to check that too — the only reason I didn’t include it in the graph was because it made things messy.

    He really has very few flyballs hit to center in general…in Fenway, at least.

    Comment by Steve Slow — July 2, 2011 @ 1:16 am

  49. Hit Tracker out there? This is beyond me, but I’d also really love to see it.

    Comment by Steve Slow — July 2, 2011 @ 1:17 am

  50. correct. this analysis completely leaves out the fact that he was still recovering the first month of the season, when he only hit 1 homer with a .143 ISO. Since April he has hit 15 bombs and slugged 650ish.

    Comment by batpig — July 2, 2011 @ 1:18 am

  51. oh, totally, all those brainless minions who are commenting on this post to disagree with it.

    Comment by batpig — July 2, 2011 @ 1:29 am

  52. The mutli-year park factors used for Oliver @Hardball Times has Petco 0.77 HR for LHB, 0.85 for RHB. Fenway’s HR factors are 0.97 for RHB, 0.85 for LHB. Fenway is 1st in the AL with a 1.06 BABIP factor for both RHB and LHB

    Comment by Brian Cartwright — July 2, 2011 @ 11:29 am

  53. More than that, his BABIP on flyballs could remain higher than usual if he continues to abuse the green monster for doubles. This would serve to somewhat offset the naturally lower BABIP associated with flyballs.

    Comment by Larry Bernandez — July 2, 2011 @ 11:30 am

  54. Cool, humid air is denser air, air which causes more air resistance — perhaps speed off the bat would be more telling than distance?

    Comment by Brandon — July 2, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

  55. For once and for all, dead-center at Fenway Park is 387′ give or take a few inches, with something between a 17′ and 18′ wall. The 420′ mark is off to right center.

    Comment by Sean O — July 2, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  56. But to say that center field is 387′ with no mention that 10′ to the right of center is 420′ is misleading at best.

    Comment by Kyle — July 2, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

  57. In sum, vast field + marine layer + never getting constantly hot enough to alleviate air density = PETCO Park. The place is truly a hard to hit at and an absolute graveyard during night games.

    I may be way off here but that statement is incorrect, imo. Since I’ve experienced very few muggy cool days, I assume lower air temperatures decrease the dew point, and if that’s the case, a ball will carry further in cooler air because there’s less moisture. Now, I also recognize that a players aren’t as limber with cooler air, so maybe that’s what you’re trying to point out, polyrhythm07? That would make more sense.

    Whatever the case, I don’t think that air temperatures matter in this case at all. Simply, Gonzalez can’t be pitched inside, nor can he be pitched outside because of the Green Monster. As many were presuming before his acquisition was consummated, Fenway would be a perfect park for him to hit. Apparently, that’s true.

    Comment by Sultan of Schwinngg — July 2, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

  58. “In fact, although Gonzalez currently has the highest Isolated Power of his career (.248 ISO), it looks as though he’s hitting with less power this season.”

    A-Gon is coming off shoulder surgery, so that could affect his power a bit until he is 100% strengthwise.

    He also gets the chance to play 27 games in hitter firendly parks of Toronto, NY and Bal (compared to the 18 he got playing at Colorado and Arizona).

    Being in the middle of a tough lineup like the Red Sox will also have him see more hittable pitchers.

    Good fit for A-Gon.

    Comment by pft — July 3, 2011 @ 1:41 am

  59. I don’t know what dimensions you all are looking at or if you’ve ever seen Fenway, but centerfiel dis not 420 feet, its 390. That 420 is the triangle, which is not straight away.

    Comment by Frank — July 3, 2011 @ 5:19 am

  60. hahahaha

    Comment by Alan — July 3, 2011 @ 11:03 am

  61. It’s not 10′, it’s more like 40-50′. I don’t have my model here at work, but it is a substantial difference between dead-center and the top of the CF triangle.

    Comment by Sean O — July 3, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  62. If you like Adam Dunn’s O-contact percentage, it is a crazy 60%. While all his other contact numbers are the same as they have in his career, hes hitting the wrong balls and striking himself out. The high outside contact is what is killing his power.

    Comment by Tim — July 4, 2011 @ 6:44 am

  63. That’s the first thing I thought of. Good catch. IMO, it takes at least a full year to get one’s power back after having shoulder or wrist surgery. Sometimes it never comes back, so I’ll be paying close attention to his numbers next year.

    Comment by midnightsnackforgizmo — July 4, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

  64. That would be genuinely strange if the short left-field porch helped Gonzo achieve a BABIP similar to Ichiro. I can’t think of two players who remind me of each other less than they do, aside from that swing against Sabathia earlier in the year.

    Comment by midnightsnackforgizmo — July 4, 2011 @ 10:33 pm

  65. Thank you. I was really surprised by these comments. 420′ is not dead right-center, but it’s towards right field. I’m not sure of the exact measures for how the wall just out, but the benchmarks are 379′ for left-center/center and 420′ for right-center/center. The high BABIP and lower home run ratings of Fenway that people are talking about make intuitive sense to this long-time fan.

    Comment by midnightsnackforgizmo — July 4, 2011 @ 10:37 pm

  66. @Steve Slow

    Thanks for checking on that. I wonder if the lack CF flyballs is due to the pitching change. Perhaps he was getting more pitches down the middle in the NL, now they are more inside or outside. He tends to put the ball where it is pitched, which I still find remarkable.

    Comment by Derek — July 5, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

  67. I found a site with a good map of Fenway’s odd dimensions:

    Scroll down the page below the seating chart.

    Comment by lex logan — July 5, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

  68. I think we should also look at his GB rate. His career average is like 40% which is about average. but this year he is at a whopping 47%. that is a lot and certainly costs him some power.

    His HR/FB rate is only down a little (still not good of course because of fenway).

    Also fenway has a long RF and short LF so lefties should not benefit from it as much as righty hitters. he has 9 HRs at the road and only 7 at fenway.

    Still I think his power is a little down. I expect his power to climb a little and his average to drop a little. About .300-.330 is more realistic than .350+.

    Comment by dominik — July 6, 2011 @ 5:19 am

  69. 421 foot blast just left of center and the standard distance is now a mere 1.5 foot difference.

    Comment by walkoffblast — July 8, 2011 @ 10:55 am

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