Well, actually I have no idea if Carlos Gonzalez loves the mountains or if Chase Headley hates the beach, but if my home/road splits looked like their’s, I would certainly start to appreciate/blame the topography.
Many have pointed out how dramatic a split young Carlos Gonzalez possess — at home in Colorado, he’s an elite swing sultan; away from where the beer flows like wins, he is a pedestrian, league-average bat-swinger. Yeah, we get it. Everyone knows, right?
Well, the split is perhaps more dramatic than initially anticipated. Looking at players in the last decade (from 2001 through 2011) with a minimum of 500 home and 500 away PAs, we see CarGo has hit a wRC+ 74 points higher at home than away — more than anyone else in the period:
In other words, no one compares to Carlos Gonzalez… Okay, well, actually one guy does.
And it makes a world of difference.
Before the CarGo Era, there was the Matt Holliday Era. Matt Holliday had a wRC+ 66 points higher in the Rockies during his tenure with Colorado. Then, he got traded to the St. Louis Cardinals and continued to mash like he never left Colorado.
What does this mean? Hellifiknow. But it certainly means that being a product of Coors Field doesn’t necessarily make a body a bad player. Perhaps it helped make a young Holliday look better than he really was, and then when he became an even better player, we just didn’t notice. Who knows?
In the meantime, San Diego Padres hitters must be just about sick of the west coast life. Chase Headley and a pair of other Padres have seen their wRC+ absolutely bottom out in PETCO
Here’s the top 9 and bottom 9 (why 9? Because I’m feeling frisky) home/road split differences for 2001 through 2011 (min. 500 PAs both home and away):