Curtis Granderson Loves Right Field

Following last night’s majestic performance in which he pulled three home runs into the right field seats at Yankee Stadium, it should come as no surprise that Curtis Granderson is putting up eye-popping numbers to the pull side. He will enter play Friday with 11 hits — including six home runs — on 24 total balls in play hit to the right side of the diamond. That’s a .458 average, a 1.250 slugging percentage, and a tremendous 366 wRC+.

Granderson entered Thursday’s memorable contest with just a .208 average and a .780 OPS — all of which is fine for the early goings of the season, but nowhere near what Granderson can accomplish. In the first 12 games of the season Granderson was getting the ball to pull, where he hit .445 with an absurd 1.049 slugging percentage in 2011, but he wasn’t getting the results.

The 31-year-old entered the game at 6-for-19 to pull with three homers and a double. That’s a respectable .316 batting average and an .842 slugging percentage. But Granderson relies so much on right field for his production that he needs to be elite on pulled balls, not just good — he slugged just .323 to the left side last season and has career wRC+ marks of 80, 125 and 224 to left, center and right respectively.

Of course, a night like Thursday’s will fix those results right quick. All five of his hits came on balls pulled to right field, and four of the five where crushed, with the only cheapie coming on a dribbled infield single to first base in his final at-bat. And thanks to just how hard Granderson hit the ball Thursday night, he’s the owner of a fun statistical nugget. Just watch him hit his third home run of the night:

That’s all you need to see to know the ball was crushed; you can see the full action here. The ball disappears behind the score bug almost immediately, and a mere three seconds later it disappeared into the tenth row in right field. It was Granderson’s second line drive homer of the season, the first coming on April 13th off Ervin Santanaa near carbon copy.

To go with those two line drive shots, all four of Granderson’s fly balls to right field have gone for home runs, giving Granderson a 150% home run per fly ball rate to right field this season. As absurd as that statistic currently is, Granderson has always had great power when he’s managed to pull the ball in the air, sporting a career 35.2% HR/FB to right field, a number which climbed to 39.2% in last season’s 41-homer campaign.

Although it took until his second season for him to really break out, Curtis Granderson has really enjoyed playing at Yankee Stadium, which serves up one of the friendliest right fields in the game to one of the game’s best right field hitters regardless of park dimensions. Granderson will be in New York through the rest of 2012 likely through 2013 given the contract option possessed by the Yankees. We may not see another three home runs in three at-bats performance like we saw from Granderson last night, but fans with seats in right field in the Bronx should always be ready when Granderson steps up to the plate.

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35 Responses to “Curtis Granderson Loves Right Field”

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  1. John says:

    That park is stupid!

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  2. Kevin says:

    At least the 3rd of his 3 home runs would not have gone out in most parks. I’m not sure about the other 2, maybe they would’ve still gone out in a normal park. If it’d just been 2, we wouldn’t have had to hear about it so much.

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    • Jack Moore says:

      I hope you don’t think I’m trying to say that YS3 RF is totally responsible for his hitting, just that it plays really well to his strengths — he’d be awesome to pull pretty much everywhere that isn’t PETCO, and maybe there too.

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    • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

      most commenters hate the yankees, but this just sounds mopey. all 3 were crushed, give the guy his props.

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    • magdalencollege says:

      And if Christopher Columbus hadn’t landed on Hispaniola in 1492, there would be no baseball. I don’t care if Granderson had been playing at the Polo Grounds. Hitting three homers in a game is an achievement in any park.

      The man hit 20 homers last year in parks not called Yankee Stadium. Granderson’s swing travels well.

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      • Jack says:

        Well… Considering the importance of exploration at the time, the fact that various other sailors, such as Vasco De Gama stumbled upon different parts of the Americas soon afterwords attempting to get to Africa, and the fact that various other European groups, such as Basque fishermen and obviously Lief Erickson could have very well already found the Americas (and also the fact that most of the games leading to baseball were created in the UK), I think that Columbus probably was not a very decisive factor in the creation of Baseball.

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      • JimNYC says:

        The Polo Grounds were heaven for pull hitters of any stripe — 257 to left, 277 to right, 475 to center. Ludicrous dimensions. Nobody in the history of the park ever had a homer to dead center (other than inside the park jobs), but pulling a home run there was like breathing.

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  3. Frank says:

    Will you all shut up about Yankee Stadium already? It’s become such a common misconception now that every ball hit out to right field is a “Yankee Stadium cheapie” if it doesn’t go 15 rows back. Get over it already.

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  4. Garry says:

    Saw on twitter one of the baseball people I’m following said that none of those would be homeruns in any other park.

    Of course it’s twitter so I’m not sure believable it is although I wouldn’t be surprised too if it was true.

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  5. YP says:

    just check hit tracker…

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  6. Keystone Heavy says:

    That right field. Thats why Granderson is on my fantasy team. Thats also why I picked him yesterday in Fangraphs: The Game when I realized he was playing against Anthony Swarzak.

    That right field is just silly.

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  7. kid says:

    Why hit the ball 400′ when 350′ will do? We should be applauding him for conserving energy, rather than encouraging him to waste it.

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  8. Nathan says:

    For whatever it’s worth, HitTracker says his first was a 1-park homer, his second a 21-park homer, and his third a 0-park homer. It also has all three labeled as “plenty.”

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    • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

      its not worth all that much. we already knew the RF in YS3 was very homer friendly.

      the article is simply noting that granderson in particular should benefit even more than the typical RF home run hitter, which he does.

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  9. Nathan says:

    My introductory clause was intended more along the lines of “here are the HitTracker numbers so we can all stop griping back and forth in the comments about how deserved his home runs are” and less along the lines of “I think this stat makes some grand statement about Granderson as a hitter.”

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    • Jon says:

      And it came off that way to most of us. I for one need to look up Hit Tracker to learn what “plenty” means – I’m surprised a 0-park homer can be labeled “plenty.”

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    • Jon says:

      …and now I have. Thanks for referencing it!

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    • sirvlciv says:

      Adding 2011 HRs to the data set, Granderson hit 13 homeruns last year (out of 41 total) that could be considered ‘cheapies’ (HRs in less than 15 of major league parks). 10 of the 13 were at Yankee Stadium.

      So, even discounting his 2011 for playing at Yankee Stadium, he would likely have hit 33+ if he played anywhere except for a pitcher-friendly park.

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  10. Rob says:

    Fangraphs, once a place for intelligent fans, now a place for fan boys.

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    • V says:

      And a lot of whiny trolls…

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    • bpdelia says:

      Boo hoo ?my cool club isnt exclusive anymore and now my life feels less special” get over it. Waah black people can play my golf course now waaaaaaaahhhhhh”

      Grandersons hr are mostly line drives he doesnt have tremendous lift so these hrs would be triples in every other park. He isnt hitting jeter type longflyballs to right where the OF camps under it it carries into the stands. Granderson hits lasers that would almost all be xbh anywhere. If he played in det last year it woild probably be 9 less hr 6 mor 3b and 2 more 2b with one extra out.

      Since the mechanical change (now over a season and a half mind you) granderson has been truly phenomenal.

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      • Mojowo11 says:

        You know that in baseball, hitting the ball just a little short of being a home run does not grant you a triple, right?

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  11. Antonio Bananas says:

    Is there a stat that factors HR distance into a FIP type of stat? I know you might use park factors to adjust things, but that’s kind of generalizing. Whatever value you give HR, maybe you should multiply that number by another value like .65 (or whatever you come up with) for how far the HR is hit. multiply it by 1 for a no doubter and a lower number for shorter “luck” HR or HR aided by wind.

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  12. uh says:

    Do teams shift on Granderson like they do on say Ortiz.

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  13. Greg Rybarczyk says:

    Granderson’s homers overlaid on Fenway Park (one of the most extreme right fields in MLB). He loses three of his six there.

    Overlay PETCO Park: (three of six stay in)

    Overlay Kauffman Stadium (four of six stay in)

    Also, “PL” with zero parks is because it had a lot of wind help. Wouldn’t have made it out of any park in 70 degrees, no wind conditions…

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