Monday Rockpile: Good News For Pitchers In Colorado?

Justin Edmonds

Despite Coors Field acting like a monster to pitchers in 2012, there was good news elsewhere in the state.

It seems as though anything that could go wrong did go wrong for the Colorado Rockies in 2012. Any decision the front office made, whether it was through injury, poor planning, or just plain rotten luck was almost certain to blow up in their face. It was just that kind of year.

There was however one major decision the organization made in 2012 that seems to have played out very close to the way the club had envisioned. Last winter, the Rockies announced that they were adding a humidor to Security Service Field in Colorado Springs (home of their AAA affiliate the Sky Sox). The result? Offensive numbers have plummeted - Even while they were simultaneously on the rise in the big ballpark further north in the state (I plan to dive more into that topic a bit later in the offseason.)

Below is a chart (you can click on the chart to get a larger and clearer image of it) showing just how much offense declined in 2012 at Security Service Field compared to the rest of the Pacific Coast League (PCL). Despite the average number of runs per game remaining right about where they have been over the last six years in the league, there was a noticeable drop in number of runs scored in Colorado Springs. In the second column "PCL Runs Per Game (Total)", you have the average number of runs scored by both teams combined in all the PCL games played that year. In the next two comumns, I split the the total runs in Colorado Springs in half - First with the average number of runs the Sky Sox offense put up per game (home games only), and then the average number of runs the Sky Sox opponent scored per game (home games only). Finally, the the column on the far right shows both the total average runs scored per game (by both teams) in Colorado Springs for that year, and also how many runs above average it was compared to the rest of the PCL that season.

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As you can see, there was only 1.35 more runs per game scored in Colorado Springs this season than there was in the average PCL ballpark. However, this alone doesn't mean that the humidor worked. It's entirely possible that the Sky Sox just had one of their worst offenses in the last six years as well as one of their best pitching staffs in last six years. So in order to get an even better read on what the new humidor has done, we have to compare the home and road numbers of the team.

So that's what we will do in these next two charts. The green chart looks solely at the Colorado Springs offense, showing both the number of runs scored at home and on the road, and then adding up the difference. The blue chart does the exact same thing only it looks at the opponent's offense - Or basically how opponents faired against Sky Sox Pitching.

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As you can see above, the smallest difference between the number of runs scored at home and on the road for both the Sky Sox and their opponents was in 2012. This makes what the naked eye saw all but official - The humidor in Colorado Springs did its job in 2012.

This doesn't mean it will be all peaches and cream for pitchers in this ballpark going forward though. As Carlos Torres vented to the Denver Post in June:

"This park itself is an absolute joke. Humidor or not, it's bad. More so, it has to do with wind. If the wind is blowing out, the thing is going to fly out a trillion and a half miles. I never saw pre-humidor, but even with the humidor, the ball is still flying all over the place here."

Links

It's a prtty light morning news wise, but Patrick Saunders does go around the diamond in this piece and sees the potential for both boom and bust in the 2013 lineup.


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