This article originated as a Paul Goldschmidt buy low article. Unfortunately the Gold Rush was on last week in San Francisco and Colorado as Pauly went 16 for 28 with 4 homers, 10 extra base hits and 11 RBI over the six game road trip, ruining any semblance of a buy low opportunity that remained. The moral of the story? Donkey needs to learn to write d*ck jokes quicker if he wants to publish any future buy low articles.
On the plus side, a new glossary term was coined during the process. Blue Balls: When you’re trying to buy low, but the player breaks out before you’re able to close the deal [credit: Walter McMichael]. As the Goldschmidt window slammed shut on my fantasy blue balls, the idea hit me to instead analyze a bit of the effects of the new Chase Field humidor through 10 weeks.
Fortunately, prior to the vicious window slam, my blue balls had already stored the following home/away statcast exit velocity data for the five Diamondbacks players who have been active with Arizona for large portions of the last three seasons (as of 6/6/18):
|Goldschmidt||Home AVG EV||# of Home Batted Balls||Road AVG EV||# of Away Batted Balls|
|2016||92.3 mph||214||89.8 mph||223|
|2017||92.9 mph||201||90.1 mph||214|
|2018||89.8 mph||69||88.4 mph||70|
|Pollock||Home AVG EV||# of Home Batted Balls||Road AVG EV||# of Away Batted Balls|
|2016||87.8 mph||11||88.4 mph||22|
|2017||88.8 mph||181||86.7 mph||173|
|2018||91.7 mph||58||90.4 mph||56|
|Peralta||Home AVG EV||# of Home Batted Balls||Road AVG EV||# of Away Batted Balls|
|2016||89.2 mph||84||89.1 mph||46|
|2017||87.9 mph||217||88.1 mph||217|
|2018||93.8 mph||85||88.1 mph||72|
|Owings||Home AVG EV||# of Home Batted Balls||Road AVG EV||# of Away Batted Balls|
|2016||88.3 mph||163||86.1 mph||191|
|2017||87.4 mph||144||83.8 mph||137|
|2018||85.3 mph||59||86.4 mph||60|
|Lamb||Home AVG EV||# of Home Batted Balls||Road AVG EV||# of Away Batted Balls|
|2016||92.3 mph||185||90.3 mph||189|
|2017||88 mph||199||88.6 mph||190|
|2018||90.7 mph||27||90.4 mph||18|
As you can see, Chris Owings is currently hitting with the gusto of a teenage girl freshly cut from the middle school softball team. But what other conclusions can we draw from the above tables? I’ve heard many intelligent baseball minds declaring the sweaty balls of Chase Field just don’t taste the same; these average exit velocity numbers don’t particularly support their viewpoint.
Home runs are down at Chase Field through two months, that’s a fact, but the number of variables at play is too many to count. Average exit velocities for players with a substantial track record at Chase seem like as good of an indicator of the true humidor effect as any. The story these average exit velocities tell thus far is one of a potentially still fertile park ready for summer fun.
Prior to the season, I saw speculation of average exit velocities decreasing by approximately two to four-mph with the implementation of the humidor. In 2018, four of these five DBack hitters have a greater average exit velocity at home than on the road. Three of these five hitters actually have an increased average exit velocity at home in 2018 compared to 2017!
Furthermore, per baseballsavant.com, the average exit velocity of all batted balls at Chase Field is up from an even 88.0 mph in 2017 [4,133 batted balls] to 88.2 mph so far in 2018 [1,661 batted balls]. Zach Grienke’s average exit velocity against has also increased at home this season to 88.8 mph [119 batted balls] from 86.3 mph in 2017 [297 batted balls] and 87.3 mph in 2016 [257 batted balls]. This isn’t exactly what you’d expect to see if Chase Field were suddenly a severe pitchers park due to some sloppy balls.
Now, I’m not saying the balls are the same; I haven’t touched or squeezed the balls myself. What I am saying is it’s still too early to confidently make any declarations regarding the overall effect of the new ball storage mechanism at Chase Field; most of these sample sizes are smaller than my post-window blue balls.
I personally believe there’s a good chance the humidor effect is much much less than the mainstream baseball media would have you believe. If you agree, consider putting a buy low bid in on Jake Lamb, or even the effeminate Chris Owings in deep leagues; their owners just might be able to lend you a hand with those blue balls.
You can find Donkey Teeth on Twitter @DonkeyTeeth87.