Another Look at HRs at the New Yankee Stadium

A lot has been made of the large number of HRs at the new Yankee Stadium so far this year. AccuWeather speculated that the way wind traveled travelled through the new Stadium was responsible for the additional HRs. Greg Rybarczyk determined that the dimensions of the park are not, in fact, exactly the same as the old Yankee Stadium. AccuWeather since came to the same conclusions as Greg, that it was a change in outfield dimensions and not wind that was responsible for the change.

Greg determined that the biggest difference in outfield dimensions is in a portion of right field where the wall is between 2 and 9 feet closer to home plate and 2 feet shorter than in the old Yankee Stadium. This portion of the wall was already relatively close to home plate, the famous short porch in right.

The HR numbers are way up, and I wanted to see if they were up in this location that both Greg and AccuWeather identified as having the biggest difference in outfield dimensions between the two stadiums. So I looked at the HR per ball in air rate by angle for the old Yankee Stadium from 2005 to 2008 (I am using the GameDay data and that is the extent of it) and for Yankee Stadium so far this year. The thick lines is the estimate and the thin lines indicate the standard errors. An angle of -45° corresponds to the 3B line, 0° to right up the middle (second base) and 45° to the 1B line. Here is the rate for right handed batters.

rhb_hr_se

In left field there is almost no difference in HR rate, but in right field there is a slight increase in 2009 compared to pre-2009. The confidence intervals overlap so the difference is not statistically significant. Along the right-field line there is actually a drop in HR rate, but since there have been so few balls hit there is no statistical confidence in this difference.

Here is the same image for left handed batters.

lhb_hr_se

Here there is a real statistical difference. Between about 5° and 35° the HR rate has been statistically higher in 2009 than pre-2009. This data is for all hitters and is not corrected for level of hitter, as park factors are. So it could be that there have just been more power lefties hitting at Yankee Stadium this year compared to 2005-2008. But since the largest increase in HR rate is in the same area of largest outfield fence change I think it is that fence change that is responsible.

The new Yankee Stadium has an even shorter porch in right field, and, it seems, LHBs will be the primary beneficiary.




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Dave Allen's other baseball work can be found at Baseball Analysts.


8 Responses to “Another Look at HRs at the New Yankee Stadium”

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  1. Jay Gloab says:

    Good work.

    It’s amazing to me that they could fail to build the new ballpark with the same dimensions as the old stadium and fail. How hard can it possibly be? Harder than I would think, apparently, as the Phillies screwed up the dimensions of Citizens Bank Park as well, originally having inaccurate distance markers in the power alleys.

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    • Tom B says:

      how hard can it be? if you think it was a mistake you’re crazy

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      • Jay Gloab says:

        I guess, but I can’t figure out why.

        The Phillies publicly stated that their intention was to make Citizens Bank Park a neutral park, which seems eminently sensible. Why then would they intentionally build a small field and misrepresent it, especially considering the bogus measurements would be easily found out?

        The New Yankee Stadium fiasco is just as confusing. Why would they build a smaller park than old Yankee Stadium and yet claim it’s the same?

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  2. Teej says:

    This is clearly Scott Boras’ fault.

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  3. Scott says:

    ESPN’s Tristan Cockcroft just did an article on this today also. He quoted some work by hittrackeronline.com and this is what they found:

    …”there have been 12 home runs hit at new Yankee Stadium that wouldn’t have exited old Yankee Stadium. Surprisingly, though, there have been seven batted balls that weren’t home runs at the new park that would have departed the old venue. That leaves the ballpark with a net gain of only five homers.”

    It’s clearly not the fences fueling this power surge. He also found that the power is trending down by homestand as we get deeper into the year (all of the following have showed consistent steady decreases: HR, OPS, Hits and BA).

    The explanation is out there, but where?

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    • Andy S says:

      Honestly, I think it’s just a spike in HRs, freak chance, still. I’d say in two years, people are going to look back and say “wow, remember how many HRs were hit in Yankee Stadium in early 2009? That was crazy!”

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  4. CH says:

    The CIA has been replacing the official regulation baseballs with tightly-wound, super-ball-centered baseballs made at a lab in Guam. They have done this in order to hide top-secret messages in newspaper articles labeled “Yankees Hitting More Bombs In ’09.” These articles contain text-based clues as to the whereabouts of military targets in Af-Pak. The “Yankee” forces “bombed” another one of these secret targets last night in an operation titled “A-Rod Misses Curfew With Kate Hudson.”

    The answers are out there if you know where to look. But, alas, I’ve said too much.

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  5. VidaB says:

    Fun article, thanks Dave.

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