Why Joe Mauer will Love Target Field

Over the last couple of days, we have talked about how a player’s skill set can affect his ability to take advantage of his home ballpark. Yesterday’s discussion on Adrian Gonzalez noted that his opposite-field power made him a candidate for teams that have inviting left field areas. And while it’s likely he’ll be playing in a new park in the near future, there’s another elite left-handed hitter who we know will playing in a new park starting next month: Joe Mauer.

With the Minnesota Twins ditching the Metrodome for Target Field, everyone’s wondering how it’s going to affect the 2009 MVP. Mauer has hit 72 home runs in six years in the big leagues, including a career-high 28 a season ago. Of those 72, a staggering 46 percent have been hit to left field, and that number jumped to 58 percent a year ago. Since most of Mauer’s power is to the opposite field, the dimensions that really matter to him in Target Field are the ones to left and left center.

According to Hit Tracker Online, each of Mauer’s 2009 shots to left field went further than 350 feet. If Mauer continues to hit opposite-field home runs at this length, he’ll rack up even more round-trippers, since the dimensions of Target Field suggest that left field may actually be more welcoming to hitters than the Metrodome. At the new park, left field measures in at 328 feet, and left-center at 371 feet; the Metrodome checked in at 343 feet to left and 385 feet to left-center.

We’ll have to wait and see how the weather factors into the hitting environment, but based on the dimensions of the park, Mauer will love his new home more than his old one. And if the reports of him signing a long-term extension are true, he should be very happy in Target Field for years to come.




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dsimon
Member
dsimon
6 years 2 months ago

Wouldn’t this also then suggest that Michael Cuddyer could have a decent shot to come closer to repeating his 32 HR from last year, rather than the low 20s suggested by the projections?

NBarnes
Member
NBarnes
6 years 2 months ago

Anybody done any work on 2009’s landing point plots for Mauer to see how many HRs he might have had in Target Field?

Noonzeo
Member
Noonzeo
6 years 2 months ago

NBarnes:

Here are his HRs from Hit Tracker:

http://hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2009_4501&type=hitter

I didn’t see where anyone had overlayed the new target field dimensions. Here’s how to do it if anyone wants to be ambitious:

http://capitolavenueclub.com/?p=1734

Edwincnelson
Member
Edwincnelson
6 years 2 months ago

You can’t really make those predictions based on that data because it doesn’t take wind into account. Anyone who has been to Wrigley on a windy day will tell you that either every fly ball turns into a HR, or if the wind is blowing in, no one can hit it out at all. Target could end up playing the same way.

I was in Minneapolis last April and it was 36 degrees with an inch of snow on the ground so I predict a slow start for Mauer. On the other hand, Minneapolis has terrific weather in the summer, so if the wind is blowing out Mauer, Cuddyer and everyone else could really go crazy.

Noonzeo
Member
Noonzeo
6 years 2 months ago

Edwincnelson –

Agreed on your point about the wind and other factors…but it is fun to see!

Also…Mauer’s start in 2010 would have to pretty terrible to match 2009 where he missed the entire first month of the season coming back from injury.

The twins start on the road at LAA and CWS which were 2nd and 4th for highest HR bias in ESPNs park review for 2009 (http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/parkfactor/_/year/2009)

He will still play ~1/2 his games in April outdoors in Minnesota which averages 36-57°F that time of year (thank you wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_the_Twin_Cities)…brrrr

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