Examining The "Yankee Stadium Effect" on The 2009 Yankees
There's been a lot of talk this season about how Yankee Stadium has provided a big boon to the Bronx Bombers, with home runs flying out every which way. Some critics say the Yankees offensive numbers are nothing more than a product of their home ballpark.
(If that's you, I invite you to take a quick peek at the Yankees run total at home vs. the road. You'll be pleasantly surprised.)
And while some Yankees have benefited greatly from the park, others have not seen quite the boost you might have been led to believe. Let's take a look at the 2009 Yankees on a case by case basis here.
Note: Players are considered innocent unless something in their overall numbers suggests they are benefiting from the home ballpark. Contrary to popular belief, home runs are not the only relevant offensive statistic.
C Jorge Posada
Home: .331/.397/.657 14 HR's, 41 RBI
Road: .241/.328/.425 7 HR's, 34 RBI
Verdict: Guilty. Giant differences across the board
1B Mark Teixeria
Home: .299/.382/.617 22 HR's, 62 RBI
Road: .261/.372/.474 13 HR's, 44 RBI
2B Robinson Cano
Home: .325/.355/.526 12 HR's 40 RBI
Road: .303/.337/.507 11 HR's, 36 RBI
Verdict: Guilty, but nowhere near as drastic as you might expect. The power numbers are virtually identical. This one could change by the end of the season. An 18-point OBP difference is not that much
SS Derek Jeter
Road .341/.401/.451 5 HR's 26 RBI
Home: .317/.393/.491 12 HR's, 36 RBI
Verdict: Push. Power numbers skew towards guilty, but the average is significantly better on the road. And for a leadoff hitter, home run numbers aren't as important anyway. He gets a HR boost, but that's about it.
Road: .319/.430/.497 8 HR's, 48 RBI
Home: .247/.386/.526 16 HR's, 32 RBI
Verdict: Innocent. Yeah, the home run differences are drastic, but come on. A-Rod's hitting 72 points higher on the road and averaging almost an RBI per game away from the Bronx. His OPS is actually better on the road. There's more to being a great hitter than just home runs. Overall, Rodriguez has been a better hitter on the road.
LF Johnny Damon
Road: .275/.344/.437 7 HR's, 36 RBI
Home: .297/.391/.577 17 HR's, 40 RBI
CF Melky Cabrera
Road: .286/.347/.427 4 HR's, 21 RBI
Home: .271/.329/.425 8 HR's, 37 RBI
Verdict: Slightly guilty, although like Cano, one big road series can even this out. Similar to Jeter, the power numbers are better, with the rate numbers worse. The RBI total is drastic, but four home runs isn't a huge difference.
CF Brett Gardner (Yes, he's included. Had he not gotten hurt, he and Melky are likely splitting time)
Road: .290/.346/.427 2 HR's 15 RBI
Home: .229/.340/.325 1 HR, 5 RBI
Verdict: Innocent. The power numbers are too small to be meaningful, and frankly, due to the small sample size, the average difference isn't all that shocking. But, he's in no way benefited from the home cooking.
RF Nick Swisher
Home: .214/.385/.348 5 HR's, 23 RBI
Road: .284/.370/.620 22 HR's, 55 RBI
Verdict: Innocent, and it's not even close. That's one of the most staggering slugging percentage differences you'll see
DH Hideki Matsui:
Road: .294/.389/.561 12 HR's, 38 RBI
Home: .251/.340/.456 11 HR's, 38 RBI
Verdict: Innocent. Look, the difference in his rate stats are more significant than Cano's, especially in average and slugging percentage. Either way, he has not received some advantage from Yankee Stadium
So what kind of conclusion do we reach?
Three Yankees are clearly guilty of benefiting from playing at Yankee Stadium (Damon, Posada, and Teixeria). Two others (Cano and Cabrera) have seen a slight increase in numbers at home. Three (Matsui, Jeter, and Gardner) haven't seen a benefit, and two (Swisher and A-Rod) are actually better on the road.
In essence, the "Yankee Stadium Effect" seems to be captured mostly in Damon, Teixeria, and Posada. None of the other seven hitters have these drastic, across the board splits like you might have seen in Colorado in the mid-90's.
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