Petco Park Homers: Way-Too-Early Edition

Did you notice all the baseballs flying out of Petco Park during the opening homestand? Except for the fact that most of them were hit against Padres pitchers, it was awesome.

It’s also unprecedented. Here’s how batters on both teams have fared during the first six games of each season so far at Petco Park:

Year PA BA OBP SLG HR PA/HR
2004 470 .281 .348 .385 5 94.0
2005 473 .235 .318 .327 4 118.3
2006 461 .272 .328 .461 15 30.7
2007 428 .214 .274 .311 7 61.1
2008 439 .245 .305 .369 9 48.8
2009 438 .224 .319 .349 7 62.6
2010 458 .232 .332 .359 9 50.9
2011 459 .240 .318 .354 8 57.4
2012 470 .192 .300 .307 9 52.2
2013 472 .271 .351 .443 16 29.5
Total 4568 .241 .320 .367 89 51.3

The only season that comes close is 2006, when the Padres last reached the playoffs. They were outhomered, 11-4, in those games. This year’s Padres were outhomered, 11-5. This isn’t necessarily relevant to anything, but I found it interesting.

In case you’re wondering, the last time more than 16 homers were hit in the Padres’ first six games was 2000, at Qualcomm Stadium. That year, 21 were hit: nine by the Padres, 12 by their opponents.

What can we conclude now that a whopping 7.4 percent of the Padres’ home schedule is complete? There are a few possibilities:

  • The new dimensions have turned the ballpark into a bandbox (okay, but only Juan Uribe has taken advantage so far; as Vin Scully said, “Boy, that’s a surprise.”)
  • The pitching staff sucks (see again Juan Uribe, who hit his cheapy against Clayton Richard, about whom I expressed concerns coming into the season)
  • The weather is different; a smart friend of mine suggests checking relative humidity, which I may examine at some future date (a quick trip to Weather Underground reveals that average humidity for those dates was 59.8 in 2012 vs 62 in 2013, which seems like a small change)
  • Something else
  • Nothing at all

That last one is good to remember so early in the season. Stuff happens for no reason all the time.

Then again, new dimensions and bad pitching are likely to be stories all year for the Padres, so we might as well start tracking them now. Popcorn, anyone?

* * *

Love the new dimensions? Hate ’em? Don’t know what to think? Leave a comment, send an email (geoff@sonofaduck.com), or hit me up on Twitter (@ducksnorts).

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  • SDPads1

    Good stuff Geoff. I look forward to seeing how the rest of the season plays out. Or judging by the Padres pitching staff, maybe I shouldn’t be looking forward to it.

  • Speaking of tracking the new dimensions and their resultant new home runs, I’m doing that, because it’s exactly the kind of low-level data gathering and analysis I’m (barely) capable of.

    So far, the new fences haven’t helped the Padres, but they have helped the visitors. Juan Uribe’s shot didn’t affect the outcome of that game, but Tod Helton’s 2-run scraper (in the last game) did–it provided Colorado’s only runs. Geoff, you didn’t mention that one, but it’s definitely a new-fence-aided item (plus our pitching).

    Interested parties can follow along here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AkfHs2Ksw2TLdDV1RkFXQXZvajROcy1TajJxdmJRTWc&single=true&gid=0&output=html

    • SDPads1

      Guest post Lonnie?

    • You mentioned you were doing that on twitter and thanks for posting the link to your spreadsheet here. Good stuff.

      Are you keeping track of how far each new fence HR traveled or is that redundant based on the data you’re already recording?

      • I’m not recording that, but I could. Distance alone isn’t very valuable for these purposes; you need to know where it landed.

        If you look at the source data link to ESPN’s HR Tracker, that data is all there, along with the path plot (which, so far, has been sufficient to determine if the HR was due to the new dimensions). Each HR also has video of the event, which I’ll go to if/when the path plot is borderline. Pretty awesome resource, that.

      • Geoff Young

        Yes, ESPN’s HR Tracker is a tremendous resource. And since I forgot to say it in the previous comment, thanks for linking to your spreadsheet. I look forward to following along throughout the season.

    • Geoff Young

      Thanks, Lonnie; I missed Helton’s.

  • Allow me to display my amateur meteorology regarding the relative humidity and the density of air.

    You should have looked up the temperature of those days as well as that plays a factor. Humid air is actually less dense then dry air. This will seem counter intuitive as anyone who has done a belly flop on water will know water hurts more than air. You have to think what “air” is. It’s more than just 78% nitrogen and 22% oxygen. There is a whole lot of crap in the air. This “crap” adds up to the density. Now replace said crap with water (which is lighter than N2+O2+stuff) and the air becomes less dense because amount of mass per unit volume is less.

    Now the next question you might ask is about that pesky marine layer. It is the chilling effect of the marine layer that causes those “that should have been out” to just die. The colder the air the denser it is. Think back to last summer when we had those just godawfully hot days. Balls were FLYING out of here. The high heat coupled with the monsoon moisture made for less dense air. If we have another summer like that, Petco really will turn into a band box.

    There are other factors as well that I’m not too keen on such as the aerodynamics of the stadium and the “urban canyon” effect of the buildings around it.

    #science

    • Geoff Young

      Good points, Brandon. There are a lot of variables. I didn’t want to get into weather too much but decided to touch on one aspect that I glanced at in a *very* cursory manner. I think there’s a lot of work to be done in this area, but finding the time to do it properly is always the challenge. Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

      • Geoff Young

        FWIW, last year’s average temperature was 67 through six games; this year’s is slightly lower at 64. I still think “six games” is the most relevant factor. Stay tuned…

    • Science has no place in organized baseball just as facts have no place in organized religion!