Slugging Shortstops and Home-Field Advantage

Not to beat a dead horse, but it’s worth noting that since reaching the big leagues in September 2003, Khalil Greene has hit more home runs on the road (42) than any other shortstop in baseball. Baltimore’s Miguel Tejada comes in second, with 40 in about 300 more at-bats.

Greene also has the best ISO. Here’s the full list:

Slugging Shortstops, September 2003 – August 2007
Statistics are courtesy of David Pinto’s Day by Day Database and are through games of August 14, 2007. Minimum 500 plate appearances.
Khalil Greene 929 .274 .331 .509 .235 22.12
Hanley Ramirez 553 .316 .365 .524 .208 27.65
Carlos Guillen 976 .303 .372 .497 .194 30.50
Miguel Tejada 1225 .305 .360 .470 .165 30.63
Jimmy Rollins 1360 .274 .328 .433 .159 43.87
Bobby Crosby 774 .248 .311 .403 .155 32.25
Alex Gonzalez 904 .246 .298 .398 .152 33.48
Juan Uribe 961 .239 .276 .386 .147 35.59
Felipe Lopez 959 .264 .337 .409 .145 39.96
J.J. Hardy 465 .241 .303 .385 .144 35.77
Jose Reyes 1038 .275 .325 .418 .143 51.90
Michael Young 1321 .297 .344 .438 .141 41.28
Jhonny Peralta 802 .253 .320 .394 .141 38.19
Derek Jeter 1270 .292 .357 .424 .132 42.33
Edgar Renteria 1162 .293 .352 .422 .131 46.48
Julio Lugo 1145 .281 .338 .412 .131 49.78
Cristian Guzman 632 .234 .270 .351 .117 63.20
Y. Betancourt 588 .287 .315 .400 .113 73.50
Alex Cintron 732 .264 .294 .377 .113 81.33
Clint Barmes 481 .218 .260 .331 .113 53.44
Jack Wilson 1135 .262 .304 .369 .107 66.76
Rafael Furcal 1208 .257 .313 .363 .106 71.06
Angel Berroa 874 .238 .265 .342 .104 62.43
Adam Everett 908 .228 .272 .328 .100 69.85
Omar Vizquel 1061 .292 .351 .390 .098 96.45
Neifi Perez 683 .255 .286 .350 .095 75.89
Jason Bartlett 478 .274 .346 .368 .094 95.60
Cesar Izturis 849 .285 .326 .372 .087 169.80
Royce Clayton 901 .260 .312 .340 .080 225.25
David Eckstein 1046 .276 .332 .347 .071 130.75

Greene’s road ISO (.235) during this period is better than that of Alfonso Soriano (.232), David Wright (.226), Troy Glaus (.225) Vladimir Guerrero (.221), Derrek Lee (.219), Chase Utley (.211), Magglio Ordonez (.202), Gary Sheffield (.199), and Frank Thomas (.198), among many others.

Greene gets a huge boost from simply dominating Coors Field (.346/.413/.737, 12 HR in 133 AB), and of course, he’s had horrible results (.230/.293/.373) at Petco Park over the years. We certainly can’t dismiss these factors, but maybe now we have a better idea of just how much Greene’s home park distorts his true abilities.

Incidentally, this isn’t a call to alter the dimensions at Petco. The Padres account for 60% of home runs hit there in ’07, a radical departure from seasons past:

Home Runs in San Diego, 2001 – 2007
Year SD Opp SD%
Statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are through games of August 14, 2007.
2001 69 109 .388
2002 59 76 .437
2003 55 95 .367
2004 57 75 .432
2005 54 64 .458
2006 75 92 .449
2007 51 34 .600

Notice that the Padres’ propensity for being outhomered at home precedes their move downtown. Anyone complaining about the current state of affairs is invited to sit through the 2001-2003 seasons again. Nice to see the Padres finally taking advantage of their home park. It’s not just the homers, it’s the runs scored:

Runs in San Diego, 2001 – 2007
Year SD Opp SD%
Statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are through games of August 14, 2007.
2001 327 394 .454
2002 333 338 .496
2003 306 376 .391
2004 329 342 .490
2005 308 318 .492
2006 315 337 .483
2007 231 205 .530

I find it interesting that despite all the griping by certain fans and former players, the Padres continue to improve at home. Yesterday, in discussing Todd Helton and Brian Giles, I pointed out that good players adapt. Today, I’ll follow up by noting that good teams adapt, which is exactly what the Padres have done.

Tagged as: , , , , ,

150 Responses »

  1. Porcello’s exact contract is now known. His bonus was $3.58 million. He’ll receive major league salaries of $380,000 in 2007, $1.1 million in 2008, $1.2 million in 2009 and $1.025 million in 2010. The Tigers also have club options for $1.536 million in 2011 and $1.344 million in 2012.

  2. #97: Beyond the fact that we don’t know what the future holds for Peavy, Porcello, or Schmidt, if we’re going to take Fuson and the Padres to task for not drafting Porcello, then we need to do the same with at least 20 of the other teams that passed on him.

  3. 102.

    If I gave a crap about any of the other 20 teams that passed on him I would totally agree with you.

  4. Teams with a media market as small as the Padres based on Nate Silver’s numbers: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Pittsburgh.

  5. Brackman signed a major league contract with the Yankees for $4.5 million guaranteed, with escalator clauses that can take it to $13 million. That contract seems a lot more insane to me than Porcello’s, considering Brackman wasn’t that great in college, is rumored to need Tommy John surgery, and wore down after 78 innings, which was a career high.

  6. 105: Well, that’s the Yankees for you.

  7. 91: It’s Korean.

    The title is 2007 midseason impact players.

    CY is yelling “YOOP!”

    his arm is saying “SSOOK!”

    and the hitter is yelling “KAEK!”

    and the narration reads, “Munk shoot”

    I’m not sure what it all means, but I suspect the first three are just grunts and sound effects.

  8. We really have no clue if the Porcello contract will be a disaster or a bargain, we don’t know if Schmidt will become a left handed Chris Young. My concern is Moores’ unwillingness to sign players above slot, there was a plan in 2004 it was to draft Drew that is until a few days before the draft when Moores said there was no way he would spend the extra cash.

    This is coming up again with Toledo, the padres are well under their $10 mil draft budget and yet they still wont go above slot with him.

  9. 105.

    That is out of control!!! Scott Boris is the anti-christ of baseball. Brackman lucked out I can’t freaking believe that.

  10. #99: Okay, so we’re agreed that even if the Padres aren’t quite where we’d like them to be, they’re at least moving in the right direction. For most of this franchise’s history, we haven’t even been able to say that much.

    As for the ’03 and ’04 draft classes, those were disasters. The last three haven’t gone precisely the way I would have liked, but again, we’re making strides.

    #103: LOL. As long as we recognize that the Padres weren’t alone in their assessment of Porcello.

    On a more general note, and having nothing to do with folks here, I notice a tremendous disconnect between the unprecedented success the Padres currently are enjoying and the amount of negativity I hear from “typical fans.” Some days it’s all I can do to keep from inviting them to follow a different team, like maybe whichever one just won the World Series.

  11. 103: Agree. While I can understand passing on Porcello, we can’t always pass on high-ceiling kids in favor of known entities. Or if we do, we’re going to have to win almost every trade and be more active in free agency, because talent wins.

    105:Agree, again. The Brackman deal looks crazy. Yankee coaches and medical specialists must think they can turn him into something amazing after surgery. Still, if he does pan out, 13 million for several seasons of dominant relief (which is where I bet he’s headed) is cheap compared to what bullpen guys get on the open market.

  12. #105 – It’s funny – I was just listening to the top rated sports talk show in Dallas “The Ticket” and the host also just referred to Scott Boros as the “antichrist of baseball” !

  13. 110.

    I will agree with you that Padres were not alone in their assesment that the price or the headache of Boris was more than they wanted to deal. I am not sure you are going to get another head of MLB scouting (or whatever Fuson’s title is) to tell you that Schmidt was higher on the board than Porcello though.

  14. Brackman is hardly a sure thing, I think a lot of people thought that drafting him that high (31st) was an overdraft since his performance never matched his “stuff.” Plus you need to throw out whatever contract that the Yankees sign a player too, it’s completely meaningless. Kind of like the Clemens contract, the Yankees gave him probably double what any other team would have (which makes sense since NYC is twice as expensive as pretty much any other city out there).

  15. Hey, the Padres are currently above league average at three positions (C, 1B, LF) and above league average at five positions when adjusting for park (C, 1B, LF, CF, RF). That’s above league “positional average” not just “average” which includes pitchers and other positions.

  16. 107: Eek. Sorry.

    109: Boras didn’t make the Yankees pay Brackman one dime. They decided he was worth what Boras asked for.

    113: Yep. The Padres may have downgraded him because he’s a HS kid, although HS pitchers are now not the risk they were years ago. But on tools, anybody who finds me a scout who rated Schmidt above Porcello gets a set of steak knives.

  17. 114: Verlander’s performance never matched his stuff, but in all fairness, it came a lot closer than Brackman’s.

  18. 116.

    You are right he definitely didn’t make the Yankees pay that but I’ll bet you he suggested it. I also bet that he uses the fact that he got a couple of back of the 1st round picks MLB contract against teams next year also. I mean I don’t blame the kids or Boras for getting all they can but MLB has seriously got to do something.

  19. #118: Wholeheartedly agree that “MLB has seriously got to do something.” The draft as it currently exists is not functioning as it should.

  20. 118: Of course he suggested it, he’s Brackman’s agent. The teams that are afraid of Boras are playing right into his hands. Instead of drafting the best player available and negotiating hard, they let a lot of talented kids fall to the teams who can pay them twice what they’d ask for without blinking an eye.

    As Jim Callis said in his last chat, nobody is screaming bloody murder that the Royals paid replacement-level dinosaur Reggie Sanders 5 million for 24 games so far this year, or that they paid him 5 million for 88 games last year when they had no chance to compete. Nobody is saying that Sanders’ agent is the AntiChrist or even a mid-level demon. But Boras asks them for 5 million for Moustakas, who would then become a Royal property for most of a decade, and he’s evil personified.

    A lot of teams would benefit more from an Intelligence Floor than a Salary Cap.

  21. I say scrap the Minor League system (except AAA to keep a 40 man roster) and make everyone play college ball for 3 years.

  22. #121: True about the “Intelligence Floor,” although I’d hate to see one instituted. That is where the Padres gain much of their competitive advantage.

  23. 120: Why can’t baseball just let the market determine these things? Their last attempt to level the playing field has done the opposite. Why should the bigger-market teams, who are already paying revenue sharing and luxury tax (which is fine by me) also be forced to basically subsidize the accumulation of amateurs by other teams who are afraid to work hard on the draft?

    The difference between Moustakas’s slot (3.15) and his reported asking price (around 5 million) is a fraction of the money most teams waste on poor free agent signings.

  24. 122: Don’t know if you’re serious, but some great baseball players would have flunked out the first week of college.

  25. Re: 125 no i was being sarcastic

  26. Continuing TW’s rant from 121 but expanding it to mock other teams, the Pirates just traded for Matt Morris and his albatross of a contract. They could have funnelled a quarter of that money into the draft and picked Wieters or Porcello, instead of settling for a future reliever. The Orioles spent $20 million+ over the offseason buying bad middle relievers. They couldn’t have been a crappy team this year without Baez and put some of that money toward signing Wieters? The bad teams have the opportunity to draft the premium talent that is sliding back to the good, high-payroll teams, but because they’re spending money in the wrong places they can’t afford these guys. More intelligent front offices in the bad teams would make the draft a lot fairer.

  27. Re: 125 there are some pretty dumb football and basketball players who seemed to make it though a few years of college.

  28. 121.

    My antichrist statement was more of a joke than anything. Like I said before I don’t blame Boras or the picks for holding out for what they can get. In a dream world yeah every team would pick the player pay them their slot and they can take it or leave it. If you don’t like it try again next year. I think that if every team did that it a bunch of guys wouldn’t sign for a year or 2 but after that most everyone would kind of fall in and deal with it. I basically agree with everything you said. I don’t think the issues will ever get fixed unless MLB steps in and sets limits.

  29. 127: It’s not even that they can’t. Their choice isn’t between spending 5 million on Amateur Player X or spending zero, thereby “saving” 5 mil. In many cases the players are asking for 1 million or less over what you’d pay to somebody who settled for slot.

    It’s like they think the currency is different for amateurs and professionals. No, we can only spend 5 million in the draft, we can’t possibly spend 6. However, we will gladly spend 2 million on Ancient Utility Infielder who does nothing well, when we could get the same production from a 350K youngster. Are the stories about how A.U.I. once got a broken-bat single against Roger Clemens really worth 1.65 million dollars?

  30. #124: Baseball should let the market determine value. As I said way back in #4, the slotting system is a joke. All it does is discourage teams (except those willing and/or able to break rank) from taking the best available player. I see that as a fairly significant problem.

    I agree with KRS1 that MLB needs to do something about the draft. However, I think the solution lies in the direction of less regulation, not more. What we have right now is an awkward compromise that satisfies no-one (except possibly Boras and some of his clients).

  31. 130.

    Very good argument.

  32. Not sure if anyone else has ever met Boras(yes, I had the pleasure a number of years ago) but he’s the most impressive guys I’ve ever seen at working both a player and their family. Combine his natural charisma with the fact that his scouting budget is reportedly about 4 times the Padres and I can understand why teams are scared to deal with him, even though they know he will annually control some of the top talent.

  33. 113 … you did it again, KRS1 … Fuson did *not* say “that Schmidt was higher on the board than Porcello” … I don’t disagree that the difference borders on being a “a miss-leading statement” (#31) … but it is different … you don’t seem to be able to put yourself into his shoes … the Padres (and 24 other MLB teams) found a player they prefered to Porcello … and they are not going to tell us why (because they think their reasons are their competitive advantage).

  34. I don’t think MLB can unilaterally step in because I think the draft is collectively bargained since compensation picks are tied to lost major league free agents. I could be wrong about that and would appreciate any correction. Basically, agents like Boras control the MLBPA, so they don’t want too many changes that reduce their leverage in the draft.

    Another point against Porcello was passed on due to money concerns: the Padres said they had a 10 million draft budget; they obviously didn’t use it. However, Porcello would have fit within their draft budget assuming they did have one at the amount claimed. So, basically Fuson and Towers would both have to be lying.

    Upon further reflection, I admit that money is a factor in a guy like Bush and a guy like Porcello in terms of the Padre selecting one and passing on the other. However, there is a difference between a Matt Bush cheap pick at #1 and an unwillingness to go above slot at 23. There are different motivations for each pick, even though money is involved in each.

    Until there is some sort of firm slotting system, the only way to beat Boras is to have the top teams pick the top projected players and not let them slide to big money teams. If Fuson is lying and Porcello truly was a unanimous top 5, then one of the teams in the top 5 or shortly thereafter have to pick him, offer him slot, and if Boras insists on more, tell him to pound sand since the team’s BATNA is a similar pick in the following draft. Allowing these guys to slide plays into Boras’ remaining leverage.

  35. 134: LM, I’m not clear on what you’re saying. Fuson says Porcello “didn’t end up on our board above Schmidt.” There are no ties on a draft board. If he’s not above Schmidt, he’s below him. The draft board is a list of players from 1 to Whatever. Some teams may start their 1 with lower-players because they’re drafting so late that the true top guys aren’t going to be available. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Chargers didn’t even bother listing Calvin Johnson on their board this year, because you’re just going to cross him off somewhere in the first 5 picks. But the board isn’t a band. It’s a linear ranking of the players who might be there for you to pick. And as they get snatched, you cross them off.

  36. Here’s an idea … have Boras set the slot dollars … then the team with the #1 pick decides which slot to take … if Boras says the #1 slot is worth $7M and the #2 slot worth $6M, etc, then each team decides what they want to pay for each of their picks …

    Hmmm, what if no one wants to spend $7M? Uh, I guess that’s a detail that’d need to be worked out :-)

  37. 134.

    In my book saying “He didn’t end up on our board above Schmidt” is the same thing as saying Schmidt was higher on our board than Porcello. If you want to grasp at straws fine go for it.

  38. 135: I don’t think Fuson is lying. I think he’s simply leaving out the part where the Padres didn’t think the reward justified the cost, which was almost historically steep. Signability can be a legitimate measurement.

    The problem with the compensation pick is that it’s not protected. We’ll probably see teams take very signable kids with the comp picks because they don’t want to come up empty two years in a row.

    134 and 135: Team officials are usually going to put a positive spin on things. Right after we drafted Bush we heard a LOT of stories about how the Padres were ecstatic to have received his call before the draft, how they say him as a legitimate hitter at a premium defensive position, how they weren’t picking him on bonus demands alone. That doesn’t mean Chief Gayton and KT were flat-out lying, but they weren’t painting the whole picture. That just happened three years ago, I’m surprised that some people are trying to frame this debate as a complete dichotomy, either Fuson is a lying dirtbag or he’s being completely honest.

  39. 136: concur wholeheartedly. :)

    Perhaps LM, Krasovic should have explicitly asked Fuson whether or not the Padres factor signability into their draft boards. My understanding is that draft boards are not normally done that way, and the article gives the impression that Fuson/Padres had Schmidt rated higher than Porcello.

    137 Any idea to give Boras control over the amount of dollars per slot I assume is purely comedy. :)

  40. 136 … OK … now I see/understand our difference … I do percieve that what Fuson was talking about was a “band” (rather than a strict 1-to-N ranking) …

    As a reminder … here is what he said …

    “He (Porcello) didn’t end up on our board above Schmidt. We had him all over the place. ”

    … and to me, the “band” the union/consensus of “all over the place”. I take this to mean that their bottom line (factoring in talent and signability/cost and risks) was about an even match … and they then decided to spread their draft dollars over more players, and follow along with the “slot” guidelines.

    Another reason I think of the “draft board” as having bands of players is because of the position differences … the decisions on who to take have (at least) 2 factors … who you like and who you need … granted that I think the majority of us here believe that at least with ones #1 pick the only factor should be “who you like” … but I know that my experience with doing “roto drafts” leads me to have a “band”ed “draft board” …

  41. 107: Cool. Translation. Thanks, man.

  42. 139: The Bush thing was complete and total spin. You didn’t hear the Padres specifically talking about Bush at all until rumors surfaced a day or two before the draft, around the time that Moores intervened. It was all Niemann, Jerod Weaver and Stephen Drew.

    Assuming the 10 million budget this year was not a lie, there was no signability issue with Porcello. They could have had him and still probably been under budget.

    There may have been a valuation issue – perhaps they didn’t value him as a 7 million/3.5 mil bonus guy. I can concede that point easily. :)

  43. 140(b) … au contraire … it sure seems like many commentators think that Boras is the best talent *and* market evaluator in the baseball world today … isn’t that what we’re clammoring for … that the draft somehow be free-market-based/driven?

  44. 144 … also, I don’t really think what I proposed (137) is very different than today … Boras set Procello’s price at $7M before the draft … then 25 teams decided not to take that “slot” … right?

  45. OT … Masticore317 just posted a link to his pics from HOF …

    … hey, check out the “Loyal Fans” pic … that’s Coronado Mike in the back-left standing next to Phantom’s orange beach towels!!!

  46. 142/107 … yes, thanks for the translation, Eric … I wonder if the “Munk” in “Munk shoot” is really “Monk” which is a variation on “Padre” / “Friar”???

  47. 141: Before he threw in 2007, Porcello and Harvey were mentioned in the same breath. Harvey, another guy we could have popped, btw. A team that scouted him heavily might move him up and down depending on how well he did the last time he saw him vs how well the other prospects in his range did, even on which scout saw him. An area scout could see him 5 times and be hot for him, then the cross-checker comes in when Porcello throws a couple of 55 foot curveballs and his grade goes down.

    Early in the process you might not have a strict board, but pools or bands, like “guys we love” and “guys we like” and “guys we’re not touching.” But on draft day, there’s not a grab bag. I’d more readily believe that Porcello wasn’t on the Padres list because they had zero intention of picking him than that he was ranked below Schmidt on physical ability.

  48. 148 … bingo … I’m very confident that if you asked Fuson directly / specifically about the ranking of Porcello vs Schmidt on “talent” / “physical ability” that he’d concede that category to Porcello … and I agree with the “zero intention”, since he had made his salary demands clear and the Padres have a clear position on following the slot guidelines …

  49. BA reports there’s zero chance we sign Toledo. MadFriars reports the same, and further that there’s almost no shot at getting Colon or Pelzer under contract. We’ve already passed on Ovens. Which means that in a draft class loaded with HS talent, we’ll end up signing 2 high school players of the 9 we selected.

    The odds of any drafted player, HS or college, making the majors is slim. But those odds go to absolute zero when you don’t sign them.

    I wonder if any of the local writers will run a story about how to turn 10 million into 7 million. This is just an estimate, subject to correction, but based on published reports Toledo, Pelzer, and Ovens together would have been looking for less than 1 million.