Gonzalez is a career .284/.368/.507 hitter with 168 HR and 525 RBI. His career home/away splits, however, feature quite a drastic difference:
Home: 1504 AB, 396 H, 61 HR, 214 RBI, .263/.360/.440
Away: 1663 AB, 504 H, 107 HR, 311 RBI, .303/.376/.568
What accounts for this difference? Not skill level, but rather the home park he had to play in.
The San Diego Padres make their home at PETCO Park, which is considered one of the worst hitters parks in all of baseball. Its dimensions are as follows: 334 ft. down the left field line, 367 ft. to left, 402 ft. in the left field alley, 396 ft. to center, 402 ft. to the right field alley, 382 ft. to right, 322 ft. down the left field line.
Using pitching park factor (runs above 1.000 favor the hitter; below, the pitcher), PETCO was worth just 0.882 runs, the fifth-lowest total in baseball.
Three of the five NL West parks were ranked 22nd or worst in baseball: PETCO, AT&T Park (Giants), which has a PPF of 0.942, and Dodger Stadium, which has a PPF of 0.939.
What is your 2011 prediction for Gonzalez?
Only two parks in the NL West were above one run, therefore favoring the hitter: Coors Field (Rockies) was first on the list with a PPF of 1.364, and Chase Field was ninth with a PPF of 1.049.
This marks a striking contrast from the American League East. Fenway Park itself has a PPF of 1.083, the seventh-highest average in baseball. Yankee Stadium was second in PFF at 1.177, Camden Yards (Orioles) was fifth with a 1.122 and the Rogers Centre (Blue Jays) was eighth with a 1.058.
Gonzalez has a significant chance to improve on his numbers simply because he'll be playing a majority of his games in hitter-friendly ballparks.
Also, Gonzalez, a left-handed batter, happens to be one of the best opposite field hitters in the game. Gonzo is a career 195/463 in balls hit to the opposite field. This translates to a .421/.418/.842 batting line, with 46 HR and 117 RBI.
Fenway Park has one of the best left field porches for power hitters, and Gonzalez should be able to utilize all parts of the park to his benefit.
The Boston Globe's Eric Wilbur, using Adrian Gonzalez' hit chart from last season, explained how Gonzalez would have hit an additional 11 home runs had he played the entire season at Fenway Park. This, combined with his road production, could have yielded a 50+ HR season, despite neck and shoulder injuries.
In 2009, Gonzalez hit 40 HR, and he remains a legitimate 40+ HR candidate in Boston. If all goes well, he could be in the hunt for an MVP too.
Welcome to Boston, Adrian.