The Great Matt Holliday Experiment

Jeff FletcherContributor IJanuary 24, 2009

I had this theory about Coors Field. Everyone knows the players who play there don't do as well on the road as at home, but it's not just because of what happens in Colorado after you hit the ball. It's also because of what happens after the pitcher throws the ball. Curve balls and sliders don't break as much.

That means that Rockies hitters are not only going to be helped at home, but they'll be hurt on the road more than other players who are used to seeing the ball break normally.

The point to all this is that you can't just take Matt Holliday's career splits (.357 at Coors Field and .281 on the road) and say: "Well, he's really a .281 hitter." That .281 average is the sum of a lot of games in which Holliday was trying to get acclimated to sea-level pitching. In theory, if you took Holliday (or any Colorado hitter) and put him at sea level all the time, he'd be a much better hitter than he was wearing the Rockies' road grays.

So if my theory was accurate, I could look at Holliday's road games with the Rockies and see that his performance would improve the longer the team was on the road, thus giving him more time to adjust to the new conditions.

With the magic of and Excel, I bring you my entry for the Nobel Prize...

Matt Holliday's career road average...
First 2 games of a trip: .277
3rd game on: .281
4th game on: .281
5th game on: .291
6th game on: .305
7th game on: .321
8th game on: .356

There's not much point in going beyond that, because Holliday and the Rockies rarely had trips of more than nine games. Sadly for him and his Rockies teammates, just when he was getting used to the conditions on the road, the Rockies would return home to the junk food atmosphere of Coors Field (nice in the short term, but not good for you in the long-term).

Given that Holliday is going to be playing all of his games at sea level this year, I'm expecting he'll be acclimated from the start, and he should produce good numbers (not Coors Field good, but good nonetheless).

Memo to Scott Boras: Feel free to use this information when negotiating Holliday's next contract. I'll just take about 0.5 percent of the deal.

If anyone out there has the time or inclination to replicate this for the entire Rockies team, please post the results here or fire me a link. I'd be interested to see them.