I don’t have anything really going on today and while I guess I could spent the better part of this post talking about one of the relief pitchers the Mariners picked up, I have better things to do and you can read pretty much what I would write anyways, only better, over at Proball NW or Lookout Landing. Really what I want to talk about is the left field of Safeco. No, not the position as Lonnie Mathias so wonderful brought up today.
No, I want to talk about the actual left field. It was brought up quite a bit in the comment section of one of Joel’s posts and it was brought up in general by both Jeff Sullivan, Dave Cameron and also Mike Salk. Well, not left field but rather the fence in left field and the idea of moving that fence in. All brought together some interesting arguments and while what they say is absloutely 100% true and factual it doesn’t nesscarily persuade me one way or another.
It did bring up some additional questions. Obviously it nullfies offensive production from right handed hitters. You can see that simply by looking at home/away splits as well as general right handed hitter splits in the park, as well as Statcorner and Baseball-Reference park factors.
But I want to know how many home runs does it actually take away? How many fly balls are caught within 15-20 feet of the wall? But, there are ton of balls that are caught right in front of the fence in any park so you would have to do some sort of adjustment for the percentage of balls caught/landed near the left field wall league wide. Then on top of that you would also have to know how many home runs are hit in general to left around each park to properly put that data in context.
This would be a pretty project and it would be one that I would be interested in taking on in my spare time. But here is the thing. How would I acquire said fly ball data to sort through? I know there are a few sites that provide home run data but actual fly ball locations, not sure where to start with that as Baseball-Reference doesn’t have that data and neither does MLB.com game day data, at least when I look at it I could devise a way to formulate the locations.
This isn’t to say that this would give us a deffinite answer one way or another but it certainly would go ways to giving some significant data towards how much the left field fence hurts the Mariners and it might even give us good insight on how much we should move the fences if indeed that is the direction the team chooses to go. Maybe this is an absoloute futile endevor and if you could emphasize that to me, I would appreciate it.
Any feedback from all you smarter than me would be awesome (and Keith I would appreciate your feedback too… burn).