Posted By Jeff Fletcher on January 30, 2009 9:50 am
Ever since last week’s note about Matt Holliday’s road performance as a Rockie, I’ve been getting a lot feedback about whether his stats prove my theory or are coincidental.
As a refresher, my theory is that Rockies players aren’t used to seeing the ball break normally at sea level, so it takes them time to adjust on a road trip. That’s why Holliday’s numbers improved the longer he was on the road. Just to keep the debate rolling, here’s a quote from a scout that was included in Jayson Stark’s reference to my item (go to the bottom of this, right after Stark calls me “one of America’s most brilliant baseball minds”):
“I agree with that conclusion. Darryl Kile taught baseball a huge lesson. He had as good a breaking ball as anyone in the game. But in Denver, occasionally he’d snap off a good one, but when he didn’t, it hung and it got whacked. Mike Hampton found out, too. His cutter didn’t cut. So as scouts, we always accounted for that. When that team went on the road, we’d always say, ‘Breaking-ball those guys to death.’ So Matt Holliday, once he adjusts to sea level in Oakland, I think he’ll be fine.”
It’s true that the theory didn’t quite hold true for Todd Helton, and that the guys at Baseball Prospectus and Baseball Musings both did some research that also indicated the “Coors Field Hangover” might be a myth. While I accept that those numbers show it isn’t true for everybody, I still think it’s possible that it is true for Holliday. That’s to say that it is not a coincidence that he, specifically, hit better the longer he was he on the road.
And, really, Holliday is the only former Rockie we care about, right?