FG on Fox: The Coors Field Effect on Justin Morneau

Justin Morneau is off to a great start this year; of course, this is also his first year playing for the Rockies. Most people enjoy playing half their games in a park that greatly inflates offense like Coors Field. Even when you look at a park-adjusted metric such as wRC+, though, you’ll notice that his production on the road has been equal to that of his production in Colorado. How did hitting in Coors Field make him a better hitter on the road?

Morneau has a nice .326/.357/.550 slash line at home. Once you correct for his generous home park, that’s 21 percent better than league average. His .279/.319/.488 road average doesn’t look that great, but when compared to the rest of the National League, it’s just as valuable as his home slash line (120 wRC+). His home park still has something to do with that road work, though.

It might be more that Coors Field has freed him of the shackles that Target Field in Minnesota put on him. “I think I let the park play into my approach a little bit too much the last couple of years,” Morneau admitted before a game with the Giants in mid-June. “I thought I had avoided it, but I wasn’t as comfortable using the whole field… most good hitters use the whole field.”

He’s right about good hitters, but we’ll add a caveat — using the whole field with power is important. In order to remove the slap hitters like Adeiny Hechavarria and Jarrod Dyson from the top of the list, we’ll make league-average power a prerequisite for making this list of spray hitters. Let’s sort the list by the percentage of outfield balls in play that go to the center or opposite fields. The league averages a .145 Isolated Slugging Percentage (slugging minus batting average), so let’s cut the list off there. Let’s go to 21 hitters — you’ll see why. Here are your powerful spray hitters who play regularly.

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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.

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