One story finally gaining a bit of traction this season is the installation of a humidor in the Diamondbacks’ home park, Chase Field.

Digging right into the meat of this point, the reason it’s even being considered is because of the relative offensive production we’ve seen in Phoenix over the first month of the season. Chase Field has actually has a higher park factor metric than the messiah itself, our DFS darling, the Parthenon of fantasy, Coors Field.

Barely edging Colorado, by fractions of a run, rumors are the Diamondbacks organization tried to implement the humidor this during Dave Stewart’s tenure, but he exclaimed, “No! Nothing logically sound can happen in Arizona until I leave!” (cannot confirm through my sources).

While some may not think it’s a big deal, the bible of the humidor’s impact can be found on The Hardball Times, and its author Alan Nathan believes the difference will be notable. Here’s his concluding paragraph from the great column he wrote…

“So what do we conclude? I am very comfortable saying that, with the humidor running at 50 percent and 700F, there will a reduction in home run production at Chase by 25-50 percent. While it would be nice to come up with a more precise prediction, we should not lose sight of the principal takeaway that the installation of a humidor will reduce the number of home runs substantially.” – Alan Nathan, A Humidor at Chase Field: What’s Up With That? 

In 2002 when the Rockies implemented their humidor, homers fell from 3.20 per game to 2.39 per game, a 25% drop. Although it may be tough to notice that Coors ever implemented something of this sort when looking at the relative production to the league, it did happen, and had an affect on two of the best Rockies’ bats of all time…

I know how much you wanted a year-over-year breakdown of two retired players’ Coors stats, so let’s migrate to the reason we’re here.

What effect will this have on four of the most relevant DBacks’ hitters? I did my best to come up with some bearing on what will happen to their lines. Keep in mind  I’m focusing specifically on home runs and resulting production changes, not the impact the humidor can have on pitches themselves, which is an often overlooked result of the offense-heavy environments like Arizona and Colorado. Also consider that we don’t know when this ~$30k humidor will be installed, but for sake of simplicity, we’ll assume it’s going on to affect for the sixth of May to allowing for tailoring to Razzball’s rest of season projections.

Yasmany Tomas, Jake Lamb, Paul Goldschmidt, and A.J. Pollock.

Four names that immediately pop to mind when considering the change this humidor can have on offensive production. Below I assumed a few things to come to an expected home run and resulting counting stats total for these bats post humidor installation. First was that a hitter has the same HR production on the road and at home. Second was that these four bats would all see a drop of 37.5% in their home run totals – the midpoint of the 25% and 50% our friend Alan Nathan is confident in the humidor having an impact on. I calculated the post-humidor run and RBI totals as a function of the players’ home run total change, making sure to neglect the humidor having any effect on the DBacks’ hitters and their road stats. It’s a crude calculation, but one that provides a look at where these hitters can feasibly fall to given the humidor having a substantial effect on batted balls in Chase Field.

Biggest thing that jumps out to me from this calculation is that Goldschmidt, the best hitter on the DBacks, is affected the most because of this model not distinguishing between certain hitters being affected more or less by the humidor. Goldy’s regression is hard to stomach because the inclination would be to think better hitters will be able to overcome any change in their environment, whereas hitters like Lamb and Tomas are more susceptible to the flyball damning tendencies of the humidor. Pollock on the other hand, has so much of his value through gap power, contact, and speed that above he produces some of the smallest changes in resulting stats.

After looking at these numbers, I would be inclined to think that Tomas and Lamb are both affected more than the numbers above suggest, while Pollock and Goldschmidt would be affected less. Am I selling my shares of Tomas and Lamb? It’s probably not an insane thing to consider as it currently sits. Goldy and Pollock shares? I would stand firm on those and hope production elsewhere would buoy the value.

With all the speculation on what the resulting consequences could be on your DBacks fantasy hitters there is one thing we’re certain of.

Arizona goes into Coors six more times this season.

 

 

Be sure to follow Lance on twitter, if a question pops into your head, don’t be afraid to ask anything and everything!

 
  1. Grey

    Grey says:
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    When are they saying they’re going to do this?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Grey:
      The only real hard date I’ve seen from this is a report from AZCentral that says back in April, the CEO Derrick Hall mentions it being built in the next month.

      That would imply the humidor is just about to be upon us, but as I haven’t heard too much since then, I couldn’t tell you if the project has stalled or not.

      That also doesn’t give us any indication of whether the completion of the humidor means that ARZ will immediately begin using it.

      I’ll keep an eye out there.

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Hopefully they hired union contractors and they drag their heels until September

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @Grey:
          Ha!

          Maybe they learned a thing or two from the Hartford,CT Yard Goats stadium build

        • LenFuego says:
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          @Grey: As a Robbie Ray owner who has no Diamondbacks on offense, I beg to disagree … turn that sucker on now!!!

          • Lance

            Lance says:
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            @LenFuego:
            Yes!

            I have some T Walker shares im gonna hang onto as well

  2. Joe Buck Yourself says:
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    I’m wondering how Alan Nathan came up with the flawed hypothesis that more humidity in Arizona would DECREASE home runs? His physics expertise is in the study of nuclear particles. Perhaps he spent so much time in the basement of his science lab that he has no familiarity with weather, not having windows and such.
    Coors Field is Homer Haven due to the air being so light. More humidity in Chase Field would only INCREASE home runs due to air being lighter when it is full of moisture. High moisture + high heat = light air. http://www.theweatherprediction.com/habyhints/260/
    Think of Houston, Atlanta, Baltimore, etc. in August. Helicoptors can’t fly at high altitudes because there is no air resistance due to less density. Nathan can tell you about the effects of a bat hitting him on his head, but he doesn’t know squat about air principles.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Joe Buck Yourself:
      Well, knew this was inevitable lol

      I unfortunately cannot be an arbitrator in this topic, as I do not have a background in physics, but what Nathan says makes sense to me. I believe what he is saying is humidity increases th diameter on the ball and decreases the bounciness. Thus lower exit velo, shorter fly ball distance and more pitch movement/grip.

      I’m going to side with the study here http://baseball.physics.illinois.edu/AJP-June2011.pdf as opposed to the general idea of yours, which does make sense to me, but as I said, I cannot provide the correct opinion as I do not have a physics background.

      He was on with Coors in 2002, don’t see many reasons to disagree with him now.

    • Lemm says:
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      @Joe Buck Yourself:

      A humidor is for storing the baseballs in a humid, moist environment. You seem to be suggesting that the DBacks are installing some sort of humidifier that will increase the humidity of the stadium air, which is false.

      • Fugate says:
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        Apparently, just a big box controlled to 70F and 100% humidity. Even a union contractor could build that in a day, Grey. So make a new plan, Stan.

      • Lance

        Lance says:
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        @Lemm:
        I apologize if it came across in that manner, but that’s not what I’m suggesting at all.

        The humidor is for the baseballs themselves. Those effects I mention above are be result of the ball being stored differently pregame, and affecting the result of batted balls in game.

        Although – it’d be pretty cool if Chase field was in a bubble haha

        • Lemm says:
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          @Lance:

          No problem, I was addressing JBY above.

          • Lance

            Lance says:
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            @Lemm:
            Ahh,

            I see – my bad!

  3. Joe Buck Yourself says:
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    Oh!! I was thinking that a humidifier would be used in conjunction with the retractable roof or some such thing. A humidor room for baseballls, like we see in cigar shops, is another story. Yes, that could definitely hurt the liveliness of a baseball. Hard to hit a wet nerf ball very far!
    As Emily Litella used to say, “Never mind!”

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Joe Buck Yourself:
      No problem at all man!

      Apologize for the confusion if it stemmed at all from the column.

  4. Someone pissed in my alphabet soup says:
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    they want to do this to help their pitchers? why would they want to reduce their hitters effectiveness?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Someone pissed in my alphabet soup:
      This is an interesting side plot to the humidor haha

      Derrick Hall, CEO, was quoted as saying

      “The one thing you don’t really want to do is negatively impact the offense because that’s part of the fun of Chase Field or Coors Field. But I don’t think (a humidor) really did diminish the offense at Coors Field. We don’t know if it’s going to make much of a difference, but it’s probably a necessity.”

      http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/mlb/diamondbacks/2017/04/17/chase-field-humidor-reduce-home-runs/100583370/

      Which is hilarious cause Derrick Hall is flat out wrong, if you believe Nathan Hall’s study, which I do.

      So they think they’re helping pitchers (at least that’s their intent), but in reality are helping pitchers AND inevitably hurting their hitters.

      Should be very interesting to see what their ultimate reaction is if Lamb/Tomas drop off at all on HR pacing.

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