Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 10, 2009
BASEBALL: It's Not The Wind

It's still a little early in the inaugural season to jump to conclusions about park effects - David Wright's moaning about CitiField being hard on home run hitters seems rather premature after yesterday's game. But AccuWeather takes a look at the new Yankee Stadium and concludes that the weather patterns, at least, are not a significant factor in the new Bronx Bombing Range:

After analyzing the 29 games played and the 105 home runs hit at the new Yankee Stadium, AccuWeather.com has determined that a portion of the home run derby that has taken place this season cannot be directly attributed to the weather. As it turns out, walls, not weather, are the homer helpers for 19 percent of the home runs thus far in the new Yankee Stadium.

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Taking into account the dimensions of the field and wall height, AccuWeather.com has calculated that 19 percent (20 out of 105) [of the] home runs would not have flown out of the old stadium. If the first 29 games are any indication, 293 home runs will be hit by the end of the year at the new Yankee Stadium, just short of the record of 303 home runs hit at Denver's Coors Field in 1999. If this is the case, as many as 56 home runs could be attributed to the size of the new playing field.

As far as the weather is concerned, there has been no consistent pattern observed in the wind speed and direction that would lead to an increase in home runs so far this year. Rather, any weather-related changes would seem to be due to differences between the old and new Yankee stadiums and their effects on the micro-weather regimes.

Of course, we have yet to see as well how the wind will shift once Old Yankee is torn down.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:00 PM | Baseball 2009 | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I think your last sentence is the one that will bear fruit. I have to believe that the Old YS is having an effect on the wind patterns in the New YS.

Posted by: dch at June 10, 2009 1:49 PM

hard to believe accu-weather has time for this kind of study.

Posted by: steve at June 10, 2009 3:39 PM

The AP is reporting that another finding in the accu-weather study is that the outfield dimensions in new YS are different than old YS and that, as a result, 20 of the 105 homers would have not cleared the fence in the old YS.

Posted by: Magrooder at June 10, 2009 4:45 PM

Some writer from the NY Post or Daily News wrote an article a few weeks ago that when you are out in the right field stands the wind is gusting into your face even if the flags are perfectly steady.

Posted by: dch at June 10, 2009 6:49 PM

I was surprised to read that the fences are two feet shorter. You would think anyone looking for a reason would have gone to that first. But there have definitely also been balls hit by guys like Jeter and Damon that have wound up a lot further into the seats than I'd have expected, so I'm not disregarding the wind.

Posted by: Jerry at June 10, 2009 9:17 PM

1000 years ago, the HHH Metrodome opened with a flurry of homeruns. None other than Billy Martin quickly dubbed it the 'Homer Dome' and predicted players would routinely have 50-60 HR seasons playing there. Then the Law of Averages kicked in and the 'Homer Dome' turned out to not be the launching pad Martin anticipated. The new Yankee Stadium may indeed be more home run friendly, but I am wondering about the power capabilities of the teams that have played there? It could be that given time, the home run rate will come down.

Posted by: feeblemind at June 10, 2009 11:59 PM

Macgrooder:

The AP is reporting that another finding in the accu-weather study is that the outfield dimensions in new YS are different than old YS and that, as a result, 20 of the 105 homers would have not cleared the fence in the old YS.

Crank's post:

Taking into account the dimensions of the field and wall height, AccuWeather.com has calculated that 19 percent (20 out of 105) [of the] home runs would not have flown out of the old stadium.

Comedy gold!

Posted by: spongeworthy at June 11, 2009 11:03 AM

Maybe it's as simple as looking at the Yankees frighteningly awful pitching staff. Combined with the array of boppers they have in their own line-up it makes for a lot of dingers. To some extent the Yankees are this year's most amazing team. Pettitte and CC have been their only credible starters (Joba is a lot like Dice-K circa 2008), Burnett has been bad and Wang, to date, is the worst starting pitcher in the history of baseball. Their defenese doesn't commit errors but it's not exactly a great defense either with mediocre range/play at 3 of 4 infield spots, a catcher who is not great at throwing guys out and an average outfield with some very suspect arms. Yet against everyone not the Red Sox they are 34-18. I can't tell whether to be nervous about their ability to win close games late or excited about the prospects that they can't possibly continue that trend all year and that they are possibly going to blow through their bullpen by August.

Posted by: jim at June 11, 2009 11:53 AM

Jim,

The Yanks will be ok. The use of Hughes is lessening the load on the bullpen for the present. If Hughes starts, then Wang could step into that role. Eventually, we'll get Bruney back, and he'll have a fresh arm, albeit a little rusty at first. Burnett will come around as well, he's too good not to rebound.

As for the home runs, the right field analysis is interesting. I am surprised to find that such a slight deviation is accounting for that many home runs, but if they were visually checking each home run, I can't say accuweather's methodology is wrong.

Unless accuweather is wrong, the winds would have to tend to blow toward left field or blow in to reduce the number of home runs. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Posted by: MVH at June 11, 2009 12:22 PM

Of course, the first concern is always the Yankees. They have as much or more firepower than everyone but if as a Yankees fan don't you worry about the massive overuse of the bullpen, the overall age of the team heading into the summer months, the fantastic number of come-from-behind/win in last at bat wins and a defense that is far less capable than its errorless streak suggests (even in Fenway they have gotten at least 2 clear errors called hits both of which should have been outs)? I worry about the Sox but it's really 2 worries; Can Ortiz hit again or can they get someone to replace him? and Can they get someone capable to play shortstop? Those two questions seem relatively easy to deal with, especially the latter of the two.

Posted by: jim at June 11, 2009 12:46 PM

Jim,

I admit, I would happier if the Yankees were younger. Here's my take on the Yankees. I expect this team to be giving up about four runs a game, on average, based on the combination of factors you mention. I also expect, on average, that this offense will generate more than four runs a game, on average. Their OPS so far this year is a major league-leading .834. Therein lies my optimism. This team won 89 games last year, and I think they are a better team this year, despite the fact that some of the principals have aged a year.

As for the Red Sox, they are an excellent team this year, no doubt about it, but I expect the Yankees to keep pace with them. For starters, it would help if they beat them once or twice...!

Posted by: MVH at June 11, 2009 1:10 PM

I think they are the two best teams in the AL especially over the long haul. Clearly neither will stand pat and we aren't looking at the teams now that we will be the last 50 games of the year. It will be interesting to see what each does to address needs. I am optimistic because the Sox already have two "aces" in the hold in a soon to be joining the team John Smoltz and a finally seems to have gotten it Clay Bucholz. They do need a competent SS very, very badly however.

Posted by: jim at June 11, 2009 1:53 PM

Compared to last year I think they are younger and they should be getting younger again this offseason.

Matsui is gone, if they re-sign Damon its probably for 1 year and the same for Pettite. The pitching staff of Sabathia, Burnett, Chamberlain, Pettite and Hughes is younger than they have had for a while and with the increased K's takes pressure off the defense. I think they also have 1 or 2 pitchers in the minors that should be coming in the next year or two. This Cervelli kid has done a good job at catcher, they have some other catching prospect who is pretty good, so they can reduce Posada's work load and DH him more. I also think they have somebody named Tabata who should be up in a year or two in the OF.

Posted by: dch at June 11, 2009 2:04 PM

All I am concerned about is this year for now. As for their rotation next year...who knows? There is always the possibility of a free agent/trade (who doesn't think that the term Greinke the Yankee will be used at some point?) However trusting Burnett to be anything more than what he is is dicey, Pettite might always retire, Chamberlin throws way too many pitches right now and Hughes hasn't actually shown that he's any good/durable. The Yankees are the Yankees though and the idea that they will not be part of the mix barring unforseen circumstances is unthinkable. They are and likely will forever remain the Evil Empire. They just aren't as scary as they used to be though.

Posted by: jim at June 11, 2009 2:33 PM

"Greinke the Yabnkee"-cute. Burnett is the one free agent I think they could have gone without. Teixeira and Sabathia are solid, but Burnett has never pitched to his potential or stuff.

Posted by: dch at June 11, 2009 3:06 PM
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