Ever since I first seriously considered the concept, I have taken home/road splits seriously. If you are a Boston Red Sox fan, don't talk to me about Jim Rice or Wade Boggs. Are you are a Chicago Cubs fan? Well, you probably don't want to hear what I have to say about Ron Santo and Billy Williams. And if you want to hear good things about Sandy Koufax, I suggest you look somewhere else.
But if you are a fan of Carlos Gonzalez, you may just want to stop reading right here. Good news, though, Mike Stanton fans, you're gonna love every minute of this.
Indeed, it has often been suggested that I take home/road splits a little bit too seriously. Maybe.
The most common refrain I hear from my critics is "Hey, you know that home games count too, right?"
My feeling about home/road splits, though, is that home ballparks are an impediment to truth. When we're comparing players, we don't want to know which players put up better numbers; we want to know who the better player actually was.
Thus, if I tell you that in 1995 Dante Bichette had 40 home runs and Mike Piazza had 32 home runs, you might conclude that Bichette was the better player.
But what if I told you Bichette hit 31 of his 40 home runs at home in 1995, leaving only nine for the road, while Piazza actually hit 23 of his 32 home runs on the road, leaving only nine at home.
It should be clear to you that Bichette wasn't a good home run hitter, but rather that Coors Field was a good home run ballpark, and that Piazza was a way better home run hitter playing in an oppressive ballpark.
Now, consider this: if before the 1995 season the Dodgers and Rockies had traded Bichette and Piazza for one another, straight up, then logic dictates that Piazza would have hit approximately 54 home runs while Bichette would have hit 18 dongs.
Or something like that.
Which brings me to Carlos Gonzalez and Mike Stanton.
Gonzalez, of course, plays for the Rockies and is on his way to a National League batting title as well as league-leading totals in hits, slugging percentage, and total bases. Stanton, on the other hand, plays for the Florida Marlins and is having an up-and-down season, with 20 home runs and 20 doubles in 82 games, but also a meager .251 batting average, 100 strikeouts and only 28 walks.
To give you an idea of how those numbers look up against each other, have a look:
Now, obviously if this were the end of the story, I wouldn't have written this article.
There is more. A lot more.
Gonzalez is, of course, a Colorado Rocky, and humidor or not, we have to be skeptical of his numbers. Sure enough, his home/road splits do not paint a pretty picture:
Home runs: 25 at home, seven on the road.
RBI: 67 at home, 34 on the road.
AVG: .385 at home, .288 on the road
OPS: 1.198 at home, .760 on the road.
Suffice to say, if Gonzalez were playing on a different team, in a different home ballpark, he'd be having a considerably different season.
Meanwhile, quite the opposite effect has happened with Mike Stanton, as being victimized by Sun Life Stadium (or whatever they're calling it these days) has made him the Anti-CarGo:
Home runs: six at home, 14 on the road.
RBI: 16 at home, 33 on the road.
AVG: .172 at home, .305 on the road.
OPS: .586 at home, 1.024 on the road.
Now, to be sure, Stanton is going to need to figure out how to hit in Florida; a .172 batting average with a .586 OPS would be unacceptable even if he were playing his home games at Solder Field.
Nevertheless, look at what a beast he is away from Miami; in other words, look at what a beast he would be if he didn't have to play his home games at Sun Life Stadium.
And, just for a purely rhetorical, academic exercise, let's see how Stanton and Gonzalez's road numbers alone match up with one another:
This is real folks, this is not a drill.
This is happening.
I would take Mike Stanton in a heartbeat, and frankly I think he is the better player.
But I may just be taking this all too seriously.