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
Player AB BA OBP SLG ISO AB/HR
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.

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150 Responses »

  1. 50: I should also add Inman and Startup to that list of potential rotation guys.

  2. Miguel Cabrera is 24. In his five years in the majors, his OPS+ has gone 109, 130, 150, 159, and then 173 this year.

  3. 51 … “Startup”? Who he?

  4. 53: The other pitcher that the Padres got from the Braves in the Ledezma deal.

  5. 51/53 … http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?n=Will%20Startup&pos=P&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=489336

    … and from padres.mlb.com … on July 31st …

    Acquired LHP Wilfredo Ledezma and LHP Will Startup from the Braves in exchange for LHP Royce Ring

    … cool!

  6. You guys are right about the paying a player doens’t mean a World Series. On the other hand… Only 1 team wins the WS every year so picking out a team that didn’t win it is like picking a number that didn’t hit on a roulette wheel. Just going out there and paying a guy a ton of money is stupid. It’s about getting the right guy. I don’t have any numbers either but I would imagine that the attendance would go up and that’s the only reason I think Morres made those comments.

  7. 50/52 … classic “point” / “counterpoint” … like I said in #33c, it’s *not* easy to identify “the franchise type guy” … and it’s a HUGE, make-or-break decision …

  8. 52: You forgot to mention that he’s also FAT and need to lose weight according to Ozzie Guillen.

    OT: from Bad Altitudes, a Rox blog,
    ——–
    So it’s another road trip in the division, to the mysterious and exotic part of the NL where they (oddly) try and win games with no offenses. Three games with the Padres, three games with the Dodgers. L.A. is on the brink of falling out of the discussion in the NL West all together, while Padres fans have even more reason than Rockies fans to look up at the frontrunning Arizona Diamondbacks and say “Seriously, what the hell is going on there?” An update, if you haven’t been looking at this stat every morning first thing the way I have: Arizona is now fifteen games over .500 despite having been outscored on the season by more than twenty runs. That’s freakier than David Bowie’s erect radio signal-transmitting nipples.
    ———

    I do hope the Dbacks will be going on a long losing streak soon. Even if they only give back 8 of those freaky games, the Padres will be in good shape to win the division.

  9. As far as the scoring of runs is concerned, I think that what’s finally happened is that Towers figured out the kinds of players that work in Petco. Right-handed power hitters, players with gap power and speed, slap hitters, guys who work the count.

    This is completely different from the ‘Murph, where guys could hit to the opposite field gap and still get the ball over the fence. Guys like Klesko and Nevin just couldn’t adapt to that game.

    I think Greene has figured out how to hit home runs in Petco, but he gets too focused on that and it hurts his average.

    Lastly, with regards to the fences, the real problem is the air at Petco. When the sun goes down, the air from the Bay rolls in and that’s thicker than pea soup. Towering shots (particularly to right) that would normally go out are fly balls. I’m not sure how you could change the fences to compensate for that.

  10. I’ve been very critical of the Padres drafting over the years and especially the decision to take Nick Schmidt over Porcello. My main problem with the Schmidt pick is that it appeared that they didn’t learn from their mistakes in 2004 (going cheap and picking a lesser talent in order to save a few bucks). This year, they passed over the consensus #2 talent (really the most talented pitcher overall but Price was older so he had less injury concerns) because they wanted to save money (in this case about $6m). The team that took him, the Tigers, didn’t care so much about the money and drafted and signed him. My biggest complaint is that the Tigers see themselves as a big market team while the Padres do not. Why exactly is that? The Tigers were one of the worst teams in history just 4 years ago. Before last season they hadn’t had a winning record since 1993. The Padres have been a way more successful franchise than them for the past 15 years. Yet, they are now a big market team while the Padres scrape by with one of the lower payrolls in the league. It shows that winning is a mindset and that for Moores the bottom line is more important than the end result of the team.

  11. 51: I am pretty sure Startup is thought of as a reliever isnt he. The way Garrisson is pitching, you could add him to the list as well.

  12. I’m pulling for Kyle Blair to not sign with the Dodgers and go to USD.
    Kill two birds with one stone as the saying goes.

  13. re: 60

    the Tigers have always been a big market team. They just made terrible decisions in the past, like the Cubs and Phillies and others.

    so, I take it you have to be in the Fuson is lying camp, because as others have pointed he out, he made clear that Porcello was not above Schmidt on the Padres’ board.

    It is sad to see so many people allow the Bush pick to cloud their senses and make them see a money conspiracy behind every pick the Padres do or do not make.

    Good job Geoff on your posts. The Rany J post on Boras’ leverage was awesome analysis as well. In my view, MLB needs a hard line slotting system for the draft. Boras must be emasculated in the draft. I could care less if he has free rein in the free agent market – the more that big market teams overpay for free agent talent and waste their economic advantages, the better that is for smaller market teams like the Padres.

  14. 61: Not sure. For some reason, I thought Startup was a starter, but I could be wrong. I know KT intended him to be the jewel of that trade, though.

    As for who the Padres should and shouldn’t draft, I’ll definitely defer to you guys as there are just too many players to track. I tend to trust the Padres, especially the current scouting administration, as several of the guys we’ve drafted recently appear to be doing quite well.

  15. 60 … and I, for one, am Ok with Moores’ bottom line … because I see one alternative being more Oriole-like … ie. high payroll without a trace of a possibility for even post-season play for years and years and years …

  16. 65 … OT … and my anti-Oriole-FO sentiment was *greatly* entrenched during my time in Cooperstown … check this out … http://www.freethebirds.net/ … the “Free the Birds” campaign’ers were very organized and got lots of support that weekend!

  17. 63.

    I’m not really sure what you are getting at with the Matt Bush pick is clouding our senses thing. In 2004 they picked Matt Bush instead of Drew, Nieman or Weaver because of money. In 2007 they passed on the consensus #2 prospect in the draft according to basically every scout (except apparently the Padres) who had miraculously fallen to them. I don’t see how thinking that the two situations could be for the same reason is because we are clouded. Actions speak louder than words and if this were the first time it had happened then yeah this would probably be out of line but it’s not so I can’t help but think that they are similar.

  18. #59: I pretty much agree with everything you say here, but I want to use this as an excuse to mention something I couldn’t fit into the original post. Did you notice the home run that Kouz hit last night? Specifically the trajectory it took and how far beyond the center field fence it landed? He’s done that a couple times this year, and it impresses the heck out of me. The ball shouldn’t carry that far in this park at that trajectory. With Branyan gone, Kouz is the closest thing we have to a guy that can hit the ball out to any part of any park.

  19. The Tigers are a big market team? Since when? Since last year when they made it to the World Series? So you are saying that winning creates market size? That’s pretty much what I believe.

    I don’t know if Fuson is lying but he is doing a bad job of defending his pick. There are only two reasons that Schmidt would be rated ahead of Porcello: money and risk of injury. The reason Boras wanted a Josh Beckett type deal for him is because his talent is close to Beckett’s. Is that a guarantee that he’s going to be a star? Obviously not. Could Schmidt turn out to a better pitcher? Certainly possible. Sometimes going cheap works out (it worked for the Braves in 1990 when they took Chipper over Todd Van Poppel). My main problem is the fact that the Padres automatically wouldn’t draft Porcello because of his bonus demands while a similar franchise would.

  20. #65: Given the choice between money and brains, you go for brains every time.

  21. Starter or reliever, Will Startup may be the biggest no-brainer in the history of warm-up music selection.

    I can hear Richards’s signature guitar lick now…..

  22. I’m not complaining about the Padres major league payroll as I think that Towers and co. have done an outstanding job this year. However, in my opinion, they’ve done a terrible job of investing money into the draft which is where they need to be successful. They aren’t going to sign Johan Santana or Miguel Cabrera or Hanley Ramirez or any other player like that. We don’t even know if it would be worth it even if they did. However, Rick Porcello might be the next Santana (he certainly has a greater chance than Nick Schmidt). It’s going to be next to impossible for the Padres to stay successful if they continue to draft poorly and keep a low payroll.

  23. 69: Winning has nothing to do with market size. The Yankees will always be a big market team, regardless of their success.

    As for everyone decrying the Padres passing on the consensus #2 pick, when did we pick this year? 23rd? By that logic, there were over 20 opportunities for teams to take this guy. And magically, they all passed as well.

    So how much of a consensus #2 could he have been? And who’s consensus is this?

  24. I will say this in the Padres defense about drafting Schmidt: it was a lot easier to pass on Porcello in order to take Schmidt(who could have gone as high as #6) then it would have been for the Tigers to pass on Porcello in order to take the 26th best player.

    That being said, the draft is one of my major frustrations with this team. If they don’t take Porcello then they HAVE to take other guys who fall later on in the draft. They did some of that this year, but still haven’t got everyone signed.

    Losing players like Toledo hurts more if you don’t have as many top end guys.

  25. A short blurb about Kouz-delete his April and he has hit .283-12-42 over 75 games.

    Given average defense he’s a nice player to have around, especially while posting those totals in Petco.

  26. 73.

    Everyone was scared at the money he and Boris were going to ask for. I think you bring up a valid point to an extent but you also have to remember that for a lot of those picks from 2-22 there were still some top rated guys on the board to choose from. As you start getting closer to 23 the talent level starts to fall of so yeah all those teams needed to choose to deal or not deal with the reports of his high demands. Basically it was about his agent not his arm.

  27. 63: You could make the same argument about the draft that you made for free agency: if the Tigers want to overpay for someone like Porcello and waste their money, let ‘em.

    74: Yeah, not signing some of the guys later in the draft is more frustrating to me than not blowing most of the draft budget on Porcello. They claimed before the draft to have the money, these guys’ demands aren’t ridiculous, and the savings if any one of them pans out will be enormous. More farm system talent means not having to waste $5 million on a Wells in the future. Signing these guys costs a lot less than paying Wells.

  28. I think an important question to ask is whether the Padres’ draft process is better in 2007 than it was in 2004. It is one thing to be dissatisfied with the organization’s strategy as compared to, say, that of the Tigers, but quite another to view it in light of where were just a few years ago. Radical change — which I think we all agree was necessary — doesn’t happen overnight.

  29. Don’t get me started on the love affair KT has with Wells…..drives me crazy

  30. Interesting fluff on the next 300 winner.

    http://tinyurl.com/28q5wd

  31. 78.

    It is better for sure. At least there is a direction now. I just found the article in todays paper such a load of crap. I’m okay with the fact that they didn’t take Porcello I really am (that’s a lot of freaking money) but I just don’t want them to tell me that money wasn’t an issue and Schmidt was ranked ahead of him because I just don’t believe it.

  32. I think the great thing is that we are complaining about things on the periphery (draft questions, who will play next year) rather than complaining about things that matter now. I have no doubt they are going to win the division — they are superior to the D-back — and they are only going to get better when they (finally) get Hensley into the rotation. Hopefully, Jake learns to relax when he gets to the postseason and thankfully no game will be started by David Wells. As we learned last year, pretty much any team that makes that playoffs can win the World Series. Speaking of that, have you seen that the Cardinals are only 3 games back in the loss column now? Of course, in the NL Central, the win column is probably more important since they are all more likely to lose than win.

  33. 67, 69:

    There were plenty of big market teams drafting ahead of the Padres who also passed on Porcello. Consider also the Padres’ organizational emphasis on drafting college players with higher picks. While a keyboard scouting analyst or two might have said Porcello was top two, it doesn’t follow that every team evaluated him that way, particularly not a team like the Padres. You can criticize their evaluation process, but it does not follow that passing over Porcello was completely a money move like the Bush mistake.

    I will give you this: it was indirectly a money move for any team to stay within the informal slotting guidelines and not select Porcello on that basis. If you don’t like that, criticize the slotting guidelines, and teams’ decisions to stay within those. I will stand up for them. However, given what he actually said, to assume that the Padres passed on Porcello for slotting reasons, you would have to assume that Fuson is lying or being deceptive in his comments.

    And yes, the Tigers are big market, regardless of their record.

    And no, I would not say that the draft should be likewise skewed to big market teams, so that only the big money teams can afford Boras clients. The draft is the most efficient way for the poorer performers and smaller market teams to remediate some of the imbalance caused by other teams’ financial power. I will never criticize any team for following informal slotting guidelines; I just wish it were tougher.

  34. I’d much rather play the Cardinals in a short series then the Cubs, seeing Zambrano twice in 5 games may make things difficult

  35. The Padres’ media market is in the bottom third of the league. I think it’s obvious that they’re going to be on a tighter budget than say 2/3 or so of the league.

  36. 81 … I know this is part of *your* point … but you need to be careful about the words you choose … Fuson never said money wasn’t an issue and Fuson certainly didn’t say that Schmidt was ranked ahead of Porcello … he said that Porcello was not ranked above Schmidt … we don’t know how broad the ranking bands were nor what the ranking criteria were … and I think we’ve established several motives for Fuson (and the rest of the Padre FO) to speak coyly …

  37. Last year Jim Callis of Baseball America looked at all draft picks receiving deals that were 10% above or below slot in the first rounds of the 2001-04 drafts (excluding college seniors and Tim Stauffer because of his injury). The conclusion was that teams got a much, much better return on investment with the guys they paid above slot money too. 5 of the 20 below slot players look like productive major leaguers, while 11 of 15 paid above slot look like major league regulars. The article is subscriber only.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/prospects/features/262107.html

  38. 88.

    Haha where the hell did you find that? I like how CY appears to just be putting the ball in the catchers glove with his long arm.

    Do the callers that call Coach Kentera’s show on XX crawl out from under a rock every day? It takes a whole different type of person that calls his show I guess. Every time I tune in and hear him it’s like the same show everyday with them same clueless people.

  39. Jim Callis at BA says its doubtful we’ll sign either Toledo or Colon. The latter I could take or leave. Toledo is reportedly asking for just above slot, and the draft budget the Padres trumpeted has room for 5 or 6 Toledo’s in it. Schmidt’s already shut down – truly a durable college pitcher – and Bush is facing TJ. Seems like a perfect time to inject another arm into the system.

    78: The Padres do have a process and they’re following it, but it’s a process that is skewed heavily towards avoiding risk instead of accumulating talent. We’ll spend 5-6 million on David Wells for 5 months, but not an extra 100K to control a talent like Toledo for most of a decade. I hope they get something done in the next couple hours with him.

    83: It wasn’t keyboard analysts who had Porcello that high. If anything, keyboard types will shy away from high school kids in the northeast, because the competition is soft and there isn’t a lot of hard evidence. The #2 pitcher/top 5 draft talent evaluation came from scouts. All the teams that passed on him could have done so for completely rational reasons. 7 million is a ton of money. So he’s really talented but still not worth the asking price.

  40. 88: Does anyone read Japanese? I’d love to know what’s in those word balloons.

  41. Re: 90 “We’ll spend 5-6 million on David Wells for 5 months, but not an extra 100K to control a talent like Toledo for most of a decade.”

    my point exactly!

  42. 90: I honestly don’t understand the logic behind not signing a guy like Toledo if they’re only 100K apart.

  43. #90: Agreed on the point about risk. This is something the Padres are doing differently now than they did in 2004. The question remains, is the current “low-risk” approach better or worse than whatever process was in place when they took Bush with the first pick overall?

  44. 93: That’s the rumblings, he could be asking for more.

    If it is a nominal amount – which I admit is a big “if” – then it’ll be interesting to see reaction. I think we can agree that if Toledo was signed, the more unabashedly pro-Padre observers would talk about how much better he makes us. If he doesn’t sign I bet some of those same folks will say “The Padres must have seen something they didn’t like.”

  45. 95: I honestly don’t know enough about these guys to even really form an opinion at this point. But if in fact Toledo is as good as I’ve been lead to believe and the difference between his demands and the Padres’ offer is relatively small, I just don’t get what they’re trying to do.

    I understand that as an organization you put a number on a guy that represents what you think his value is and you don’t want to pay more for a guy than he’s worth to you, but 100K when you’re well short of your stated budget just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

  46. Re: 90/92: I think that’s everyone’s point. Right now it seems like the Padres philosophy is to occasionally find someone in the draft (Peavy, Greene), sign mid-level free agents to one year deals (Maddux, MGiles, Wells, Blum), scour the waiver-wire (K.Cameron, Linebrink, Hampson, Ensberg, Bradley, Germano), and rip other teams off in trades (Gonzalez, Young, Bell, Cameron, Cla, Hensley, Kouz maybe). The important question is whether or not they can keep doing this forward. That’s why the draft is so important. It’s the only way you can get cheap talent. You know they aren’t going to sign to free agents and it’s probably doubtful they resign their own once they can hit the open market. Who is more likely to step into Peavy shoes when he departs as a free agent in a few years, Schmidt or Porcello? Probably the latter. To save a little over $2m in bonus money ($3.58m for Porcello, $1.26m for Schmidt) they took the lesser player. That point is not debatable, no matter what Fuson says.

  47. Somewhat unrelated note, the Padres have gotten pretty good production out of left field compared to say Soriano.

    BA/OBP/SLG/2OPS
    Soriano .297/.336/.511/.394
    Padres .256/.345/.454/.381

    Hell, when you take into account the difference between PetCo and Wrigley that’s even more impressive.

  48. 94: It’s undoubtedly better than the 2004 process, because there wasn’t one. But the 2005-2007 pattern of taking polished college types was there in 2003, which was a disaster too. At least 2004 gave us Kyle Blanks. We’re implementing the process better and we have more picks to use, but we’re still very college-heavy, almost to the point of ignoring HS kids. If only we’d ignored them in 2004.

    I just made myself sick looking at our draft classes in 03 and 04. I don’t fault them so much for Stauffer because they didn’t know about his shoulder, but the rest of the picks…Yeesh.

  49. 98: And the MLB Average for LF is .274/.346/.448/.380.