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Baseball America: Target Field was worst park for left-handed power

chris parmelee joe mauer justin morneau target field
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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:13 AM

According to Baseball America's research, Target Field gave left-handed hitters the fits the past two seasons. In his piece regarding how ballparks effect young hitters, BA's Matt Eddy notes that despite only two years in existence, the Twins home field muted left-handed power like no other, allowing a home run once every 61 plate appearances.

Part of that certainly is personnel-related as the Twins were limited from the left-side without Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel for extended stretches in the past two seasons. Eddy notes that the confines did not stifle every Minnesota left-hander:

Target Field didn't seem to bother Twins first baseman Chris Parmelee much in 2011—he smacked two of his four homers at home during a September callup—but how will he fare during a cool Minneapolis spring?


I'm guessing that Parmelee will not likely be tested in the cool Minneapolis spring this season - not because it is unseasonably warm so far but because he's due to start the year in Triple-A.

#2 Mr. Ed

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:19 AM

Get over the Non-Metrodome friendliness. I'd bet, outside the $, one of the biggest reasons Kubel didn't stay. First it's the trees then something else. Too many excuses.

#3 Andrew Bryz-Gornia

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:22 AM

I know Jim Thome is the first person that comes to mind that wasn't seriously affected by Target Field. I don't know about wind currents within the park, but I feel that the big scoreboard in right-center has a lot to do with this. I know it's only the same height as The Baggy from the Dome, but it extends further into center field, and it takes a hell of a hit to knock it over that scoreboard. Even the Twins organization seemed to recognize this, as they made the area above that scoreboard the Powerball Pavilion, where they give $500 lottery scratch off tickets to a randomly chosen fan if a home run is hit up there. Clearly they (and the Minnesota State Lottery) weren't anticipating a lot of homers in that area.

#4 Thrylos

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:24 AM

There is a major logical flaw in their calculations... they are not normalized by HRs a particular player hit in a particular ballpark vs all the others. So if a whole bunch of non-HR hitting LHB were playing with a particular team, that home park will artificially seem low in their calculations, where if a whole bunch of HR hitting lefties were playing for another team, that home park would be artificially high in their calculations. Add Casilla, Span, Nishioka, Revere, Tolbert, Punto, Hudson as SH and LHB the last 2 seasons and Thome's, Kubel's and the bit of Morneau's PAs tend to be neutralized. Not that I am saying that Target Field is a LH hitter's paradise for HR. It is not. But I just want to see that hypothesis supported by correct design and data ;)
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#5 Seth Stohs

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:30 AM

Tosoni and Thome didn't seem to have a problem hitting HR in Target Field. :)

#6 The Greatest Poster Alive

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:45 PM

Mauer's case is the one I'm most interested in. Perhaps it's a product of memory fading as time goes away, but I feel like A lot of Mauer's homeruns were opposite field shots. The fence is is Higher in Left-Left Center, despite being a bit closer. I think Mauer's best production came on the back of a swing that was tailor-made for the Dome. Are there any (free) sites that track home run locations of a player over their careers?

#7 davidjcampbell

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 01:00 PM

Are there any (free) sites that track home run locations of a player over their careers?


http://www.hittrackeronline.com

Edit: Its by season, not by career.

Edited by davidjcampbell, 13 March 2012 - 01:06 PM.


#8 Parker Hageman

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 04:56 PM

C'mon now, Thome had no problem hitting balls out at Yellowstone Park.

#9 Fanatic Jack

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:01 PM

Move in the damn fences already. Why can't management admit they were wrong about the overall dimensions and just move on.

#10 Thrylos

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:12 PM

Move in the damn fences already. Why can't management admit they were wrong about the overall dimensions and just move on.


A few issues with that, including the current and near future pitching pipeline...
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#11 dave_dw

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:34 PM

I like the idea of having a pitcher friendly park. It's worked well for the Giants recently, and the early 2000's A's and Mariners. I wouldn't mind that kind of team. Plus the Twins struggle to have home run hitters as it is, so Target Field is perfect for their style of hitting.

#12 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:40 PM

There is not enough history in this ballpark to come to any firm conclusions, and the dimensions of TF aren't abnormal. I think this has way more to do with the limp Twins lineup than the ballpark. Time will tell.

#13 whydidnt

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:50 PM

There is not enough history in this ballpark to come to any firm conclusions, and the dimensions of TF aren't abnormal. I think this has way more to do with the limp Twins lineup than the ballpark. Time will tell.

Yea, what he said. I do think it there's any issue, it isn't with pulling the ball to right, but guys like Morneau and Mauer who had a lot of success going the other way. Either way, it makes sense to get more data from a healthy lineup before messing with the dimensions. Don't forget the home record in 2010 when you start talking about moving the fences in.

#14 peterb18

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 09:28 PM

If your a left handed power hitter(either developed through the farm system, or a possible free agent), why would you want to play for the Twins?

#15 Harrison Greeley III

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:32 AM

Why does everyone take stories like this as a knock against the Twins or an excuse? It just is what it is. This park knocks down balls that are homeruns elsewhere. Just set your expectations where they need to be. Mauer and Morneau are probably going to hit more home runs on the road than at home. The Twins need to be more right handed the same way the Yankees are getting more left-handed and the Red Sox tend to be right handed.

#16 Fanatic Jack

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:00 AM

The bottom line is fans want to see home runs and management tried to give it to them with a specially designed hangover porch in right field. The problem is the way the wind swirls downtown in Target Field everything gets knocked down. They did it at Citi Field for 2012, Comercia Park, and U.S. Cellular Field. Why can't the front office put their egos aside and just move the power alleys in 10 feet and get rid of the height on the fence in right field. These are not sweeping changes and the Twins hitters would benefit in their own ballpark. This notion that is helps the Twins pitchers is hilarious, you could move the fences out to 500 feet and other teams would still hit home runs against our .AAA rotation and bullpen.

Edited by Fanatic Jack, 14 March 2012 - 08:05 AM.


#17 Brandon Warne

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:06 AM

Personally I'd have a look at what StatCorner has to say on park factors. According to them, Target Field had a LHH HR park factor of 91 (comp'd to 95 for RHH). That's certainly a depressing factor -- depressing in a different sense -- but I'd have to believe there are teams with lower marks. Alas, Arizona's park factor for LHH bombs is 114; you think that Kubel signing was a calculated move? Oh, yes.

#18 Jim H

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:52 AM

Low Homer totals: some is the park, some was the personnel, some was health. I wouldn't be in a big hurry to change dimensons of Target Field either. The Metrodome was called the Homerdome in the late 80's because of Puckett, Hrbek, Gaetti and Brunansky. Later it was considered a nuetral park at best. To some degree you build your organization to your park. Right now the Twins have speed guys plus guys like Morneau and Mauer who can put up good numbers in any park. Let it play big, I think this group of players could do well here.

#19 Gernzy

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:59 AM

I think the fences are fine. Other teams don't have issues hitting HR here.
I bent my wookie...

#20 Harrison Greeley III

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 10:21 AM

I think the fences are fine. Other teams don't have issues hitting HR here.


Yes they do. That's what the article is saying. It's the worst park a left handed hitter on any team wants to have a plate appearance with the expectation of a home run.

#21 peterb18

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 12:26 PM

Again power hitters will not want to sign with the Twins. Until we do something with this park it is not appealing to the elite players. And we need to sign elite free agents until the younger players arrive. Look at Kubel, Cuddyer had to change his approach and the list goes on. I agree with Fanatic Jack on this one!

#22 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:40 PM

"And we need to sign elite free agents"

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that TF isn't what's standing in the way of the Twins signing elite free agents.

#23 jwestbrock

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:04 PM

Personally I'd have a look at what StatCorner has to say on park factors. According to them, Target Field had a LHH HR park factor of 91 (comp'd to 95 for RHH). That's certainly a depressing factor -- depressing in a different sense -- but I'd have to believe there are teams with lower marks.

Alas, Arizona's park factor for LHH bombs is 114; you think that Kubel signing was a calculated move? Oh, yes.


There are 8 with worst LHH HR Park Factors according to that site, but four of the Parks with worse PF's had either and 89 or 90 so only 4 were significantly worse for home runs, but Petco had the worst at 59, so it could be much worse.

#24 Thrylos

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:22 PM

Yes they do. That's what the article is saying.


And because the "article said so", you are going to believe it? There are a lot of fundamentally wrong things about their methodology (and I explained them up there.)

Bottom line is: I am not sure whether Target Field is a problem for hitting HRs by LH hitters, but this article does not help determine whether it is. Could be, could be not.
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#25 Nicholas Mueller

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:53 PM

Again power hitters will not want to sign with the Twins. Until we do something with this park it is not appealing to the elite players. And we need to sign elite free agents until the younger players arrive. Look at Kubel, Cuddyer had to change his approach and the list goes on. I agree with Fanatic Jack on this one!


The Twins are never going to sign Elite free agents, its just not their MO. Especially, when Josh Willingham is one of their most expensive free agents that they signed. You want an elite power hitter, your best bet is to pray and hope Miguel Sano keeps progressing and makes it like he is projected.

Edited by Nicholas Mueller, 14 March 2012 - 08:57 PM.


#26 Ben Collin

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 02:37 AM

I've been doing some research on Target Field weather and home runs. By going through the old gameday xml files, I've extracted the home runs and the time they were hit. I then used the KMSP ASOS (Airport) weather station archived obs to find the weather conditions closest to the time of the HR. My initial data is pretty clear that of the 126 home runs hit at Target Field last year, a northerly to northwesterly component of the wind was present for 42 home runs. I have a lot more work to do to break down the data but I found that interesting. I'll have to put in some logic to figure out if it's a leftie or not and see what happens. One thing to note is I can't tell you if it was the wind or a coincidence that it was windy on days that pitchers who allowed HR's pitched. Would be nice if I had fly ball outs to measure against to judge carry given a wind direction. Regarding lefties having a power struggle, theoretically it makes perfect sense given the wind current that would be drawn in from the plaza. As air is leaving the ballpark, wind has to rush in to replace it and that plaza offers the path of least resistance for air to flow back into the field. I have no proof that this is the reason why lefties have such hard time hitting home runs but just a thought. I'll have more info on my Target Field home run climate data some day soon. I still have to do 2010 as well. It won't be anything groundbreaking, just comparing weather conditions during home run hits. If we could set up a computer model to model currents in the park, now that would be cool.

#27 peterb18

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:51 AM

They only have to sign elite free agent power hitters until the Sano's arrive on the scene. This is what the contending teams do. With the new revenues this team is in position to do this. What I'm saying is just not my idea! Listened to MLB on XM radio yesterday morning and they were talking about the Twins. Actually, it was very depressing if you are a Twin Fan. Basically, what they said is that the Twins should retool. But, without touching the young players-who do you trade? There isn't much there-Baker is a mid-rotation starter at best, Morneau isn't healthy and is expensive, nobody really wants Joe's contract under the present setup. They thought the guy with the most value at this time is Willingham. One of the announcers was Bob Nightengale--don't know who the other one was. This was morning show on at around 9:00 am eastern time.

#28 davidjcampbell

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:54 AM

I've been doing some research on Target Field weather and home runs. By going through the old gameday xml files, I've extracted the home runs and the time they were hit. I then used the KMSP ASOS (Airport) weather station archived obs to find the weather conditions closest to the time of the HR.


This is a really interesting approach. I like where you are going with it. Plus having the data to back up a claim is much better than guessing.

One thing I would be worried about would be a 'downtown effect' where the buildings create a tunnel for the wind that is a different direction than out at the airport. Do you think that is possible?

#29 UCLA_YANKEE_COLA

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:54 PM

The wind patterns downtown are crazy. I work on 6th & Nicollet and it will be a 20 mph wind on 6th but when I get home it's a light breeze. I like the approach of the weather research but it seems to me it would need to reference downtown wind, which might not be possible.

#30 tobynotjason

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 01:07 PM

FWIW: I'm pretty sure Hit Tracker does "true landing spots" which include temperature, wind, etc. As for the gnashing of teeth, grating hyperbole and calls for the fences to be moved: there was a series of studies on park factors (same guy on BTBS and Fangraphs) that found that you always would rather have a pitcher's park than a hitter's park, long term. Park effects cut both ways on a per game basis, but if your team is throwing half its innings in a place that suppresses run scoring, your pitchers consequently face fewer hitters on average and the "good end" of your bullpen therefore stays fresher, which is a good thing if you're interested in making the playoffs.



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: chris parmelee, joe mauer, justin morneau, target field