Adrian Gonzalez Doubles Up in Boston

Aug. 03, 2010 - Los Angeles, California, United States of America - 3 August 2010: San Diego Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

Everyone on Earth knows that Petco Park in San Diego is a pitcher’s heaven. No one hits balls out of that park except for Adrian Gonzalez. But did you realize how significant of a park effect it has?

We all anticipate that Gonzalez is a perfect match for Fenway Park. He has an inside-out power stroke that should play extremely well in these dimensions since left field ends at 310 feet and has a 34-foot wall. In contrast, left field in Petco Park is 334 feet from home plate. Those 24 extra feet took away ~15 extra bases from Gonzalez in 2010. All 15 would have been hits in Boston.

3 homers and 12 doubles or 9 homers, 4 doubles and 2 singles. You can break it up however you want. Whatever the case, they are hits in Fenway. Petco is a bigger damper on team offense then most of us realized as we are so used to high-offensive output at Fenway Park. You hear about places like Petco and Safeco and you know the stories, but until you look at every data point, you can’t truly comprehend its impact. As ridiculous as pre-humidor Coors Field was is as ridiculous as Petco Park is in the other direction.

Both San Diego and their opponents hit around .230 as team at Petco Park. Neither side exceeded a .350 Slg and both sides’ pitching staffs had extraordinary success compared to the average park. It isn’t just a pitcher-friendly park, but it’s heavily slanted and borderline absurd.

Sometimes you hear people say ‘Yeah, but how much of that is the crappy Padres offense?’ If opponents were going into Petco and hitting well, we’d know it was an inept Padres attack, but when both the visitor and the home team continue to struggle to create 3.75 runs per game, you realize how fortunate we are to have Fenway Park and something interesting to watch. Games at Petco have a lot of routine outs with stolen bases and a run scratched in here or there.

A lot of people are jumping to the conclusion that with this change in scenery, Gonzalez becomes a threat for 50 home runs. While that is certainly possible, it’s probably not where the extra base hits will be coming from.

The key with Gonzalez and Fenway Park is to think in terms of doubles. Both parks are known for suppressing home run totals, but Fenway Park is ranked #2 in baseball park effects for doubles. The only place more conducive to doubles (home and away teams) is Colorado.

Petco Park is ranked dead last at #30. With that, I think we can expect Gonzalez push 50 doubles in 2011, not necessarily home runs.

Below are two photos that illustrate with colored dots where balls were hit last year by Gonzalez. Included are extra base hit-related data; HRs, 2Bs, 3Bs, line outs and flyouts.

The first chart is Adrian Gonzalez spray chart for Petco Park []

PETCO PARK – Adrian Gonzalez

The second chart shows the exact same batted ball data, but applied at Fenway Park

FENWAY PARK – ADRIAN GONZALEZ(his Petco data overlaid on Fenway)

Now it’s important to keep in mind that these charts are for illustrative purposes. The dots indicate where the ball was fielded (if at all) and you cannot draw hard-line, analytical conclusions from the charts because it’s not perfect. But it does give you a good idea of how Gonzalez’ power-stroke plays at Petco Park versus Fenway Park.

It’s not an exact science, but by my count, Gonzalez had about 12 balls that were outs down the left field line in San Diego. Those are all off the Wall or out onto Lansdowne Street in Boston. There are also three flyballs that would be in the RF bullpen at Fenway, but were caught at Petco.

Again, not an exact science, but you do the math.

Gonzalez has a double-digit walk rate, elite power, 40% FB rate, 20% line drive and gold-glove defense. When you look at other first baseman, I don’t know of anyone outside of Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera who profiles better than him. Gonzalez has been underpaid relative to his peers for a long time. Now that he is in Boston, he will finally earn some prize money for his elite-profile and still be worth every bit of his $22 million dollars.

Gonzalez has the peripherals to hit .300 with 50 home runs. He’s a real legit and consistent profile that the advanced data, baseball scouts, fans and naked eye all support. Gonzalez won’t be in a cavernous home park, sandwiched between Miguel Tejada and Ryan Ludwick anymore. He will instead hit third behind Dustin Pedroia and followed by Kevin Youkilis, in a home park that creates 6.25 runs per game. Sounds like some triple-digit counting stats to me. You can pretty much bank on Pedroia seeing a ton of juicy fastballs to hit and Jacoby Ellsbury scoring a ton of runs.

Expect to see a disproportionate number of dents in the Green Monster for the next eight years.

Adrian Gonzalez2011

575 ABs

.315 avg

33 HRs

112 RBI

95 Runs

51 doubles

“I’m going to be ill.” Tampa Rays Insider, Jason Collette, ESPN AM 1040, after seeing Adrian Gonzalez’ batted ball chart superimposed on Fenway.

Categories: Boston Red Sox

16 Responses to “Adrian Gonzalez Doubles Up in Boston” Subscribe

  1. Mr Punch December 8, 2010 at 5:55 AM #

    Is that chart Fenway 2010 or 2011 with the RF adjustment?

    • Darryl Johnston December 8, 2010 at 6:08 AM #

      I don't think it is based on what I can tell. Good point. It's ridiculous how many orange and red dots are blue dots in Boston.

    • Darryl Johnston December 8, 2010 at 6:23 AM #

      It's 2010, Mr. Punch.

  2. GreggB December 8, 2010 at 7:46 AM #

    I think your projections are a bit low, mostly because I think Gonzo will have many more at bats than you project. Even last year he had 591 at bats. Because the Sox play in the AL and have a much better hitting team, the Sox provide their batter with about 5% more plate appearances than the Padres do; that is a major difference right there. Gonzo got 35 intentional walks last year, which certainly isn't going to happen in 2011 with Youk and Papi following him. They are going to have to pitch to Gonzalez, something he hasn't experienced before. If he remains healthy and plays his usual 160 games, I think you will see 50-60 more at bats than you projected — which will pump up the numbers you project by 8-10%.

    • Darryl Johnston December 8, 2010 at 8:05 AM #

      I think he could pass 600 ABs, but I tend to be conservative with AB estimates with Gonzo. Even if he totals 700 PAs, he's still going to have ~15% walk rate which gives him about 595 ABs.

      He had 35 last year, but I would bet he ends up with 17-20 IBBs in 2011.

      And it's just a hunch but I bet they don't play him 160+ games and try to keep him from wearing down, so that's where I came up with 575.

      • Gerry December 8, 2010 at 10:57 AM #

        Interesting that Gonzo's success will depend not only on how well he recovers from his surgery, but also how well Ells, PD & Youk recover from their issues; as well as well how the #9 batter, Scutaro or Lowrie, recover. Lots of variables, but if we assume they will perform well, your 2011 projections can be enhanced:

        1. the spray chart is based on 2010, which was an "off year" for Gonzo due to his shoulder issues. Based on his 2009 spray chart he is a 40+HR hitter at Fenway.

        2. hitting behind Ells with a .355 or better OBP, 40 doubles & triples and his speed, and PD with a .370 or better OBP, 50+ doubles/triples, and his speed, Gonzo's RBI totals could be outrageous.

        3. batting Scutaro or Lowrie #9, with their high OBP and doubles potential, adds a few more RBI to the total.

        3. IMO hitting in front of TWO x 30HR/100RBI/.900OPS/+RISP threats could reduce his BB and IBB's to trivial #'s.

        No wonder they are ill in Tampa, and why the MFY are raising the stakes by trying to ink both Lee & Crawford.

  3. chris December 8, 2010 at 4:56 PM #

    This guy is gonna freaking MASH this year. I'm giddy. They will hafta hand out helmets to people sitting in the monster seats.

  4. notredamer December 8, 2010 at 9:22 PM #

    dweebs you paid $142M over SEVEN years for carl crawford and no post on it?

    lol epic failsbury by you and theo!

    • Charlie Saponara December 8, 2010 at 9:56 PM #

      Dude! Working on it! Chill!

    • Darryl Johnston December 9, 2010 at 5:18 AM #

      Get a life.

  5. Jonathan December 8, 2010 at 10:56 PM #

    In the wake of the Crawford news……That-a-boy Theo!!! It's about time we show those Yankees boys what BOSTON is all about!!! GO SOX!! On another note I live in Tampa and let me tell you… I can't wait to see the sports headline in the St. Petersburg Times! I might just have to frame it

  6. doctorogres December 9, 2010 at 8:14 AM #

    Good post. I enjoyed this one. How long do you think Youk stays at the hot corner, and what's the plan in the future with that?

    • Charlie Saponara December 10, 2010 at 1:29 AM #

      This is a great question! Will think….

      • Darryl Johnston December 10, 2010 at 5:33 AM #

        Charlie is stealing my questions from the readers! ;)

        I'll let Charlie field this in depth, but if Mike Lowell can stay there until he's 100, I would guess Youk would be fine. Unless they signed some big-time corener or if maybe Kolbin Vitrek turns out to be a hot-shot third baseman, then maybe by then there's some rotation going on between the corners and the DH slot.

        • doctorogres December 10, 2010 at 11:45 AM #

          I guess Middlebrooks is pretty promising too. Maybe this is a silly question, as we’ll have a ton more info about this once the season starts. But it is interesting to think about their longterm plans and what this move indicates.


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