Lefties at ATT: what’s real?

Posted By on January 13, 2009 10:10 am

After my post earlier about how the Giants should take a look at Adam Dunn, one of my readers called me on the carpet. He said Dunn would never want to sign with the Giants because he hates hitting at AT&T Park. Even if Dunn did join the orange and black, his production would be swallowed up by the vast spaces in right-center.

OK, those are legitimate points. Let’s take a look at a few things and, with the always useful baseballmusings and Baseball-reference sites, find out what’s real and what’s not.

Does Dunn really fare poorly at AT&T Park? Yes. In 89 at-bats at China Basin, Dunn has a .157 average and a .303 slugging percentage. He’s hit four homers.

Is the park really that tough on lefties, or it just something we’ve all imagined? In order to answer that, I’m going to look at all of the opponents who have played in San Francisco since the place opened. (Reason I’m ignoring the Giants’ stats is that they are skewed by one particular lefty. Yeah, you can make a point that opposing lefties should hit worse than the Giants non-Bonds lefties, because they aren’t used to hitting here, but I’d make the case that the opposing lefties include many much better hitters than those Giants lefties other than Bonds.)

So here goes: In nine seasons, opposing lefties have hit .256 with a .381 slugging percentage at AT&T, while righties have hit .257 and .396. Against those same guys on the road, the lefties hit .268 with a .417 slugging percentage, and the righties were .258 and .418. So, yes, the ballpark does do a pretty good job of snuffing out lefties, in average and, especially, power.

But you already knew that.

Are there any lefties, other than You Know Who, who have hit for power at AT&T? Using a 50-plate appearance minimum, Adam LaRoche has the highest slugging percentage of any lefty at AT&T, .767. He’s also got a .296 average. Then there’s that Bonds guy at .764. Then it goes down to Ryan Howard (.667), Carlos Delgado (.604), Andre Ethier (.598), Ken Griffey Jr. (.585) and Sean Casey (.583).

So the Giants problems are solved. They just need to get one of those guys.

(EDIT: I initially included Steve Holm in here, for some strange reason forgetting that he’s a righty. Sometimes I’ll do that just to see if you people are paying attention.)

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