This time last year, the baseball world was predicting the downfall of Chase Field as a hitter’s haven to the tune of a 25%-50% drop in offensive production with an uptick in pitching expected to benefit from the new humidor. After a season of the new Chase Field, I wanted to review the data and see where the drop off landed.
If you’ve been following me, you know that I was a bit skeptical that we would be looking at that kind of change in production. From my Chase Field article last year, “Home runs across the league were down, away teams actually hit more home runs in Coors in 2002 than 2001, and the culture in baseball was starting to turn away from the steroid era.” Basically, Coors was used as the case study for what would happen in Arizona, but there were a number of factors that came into play outside of the raw numbers.
I’m not going to rehash that article, but will examine the numbers to see where Chase Field landed on the scale of hitter friendly to pitcher friendly parks. If we start with the basics, we can look at how Chase Field finished in park factors for 2018. I typically utilize FanGraphs for their park factors, but they have not updated for 2018 yet, so, I looked at ESPN. As you can see below, home runs were down in 2018 compared to 2016 and 2017, but not compared to 2015. However, runs and hits were both 4 year lows in 2018 with the humidor.Please, blog, may I have some more?