Oh, Those Greensboro Splits

I think we’ve all understood that the stats in the Low-A Southeast League (the former Florida State League for actual baseball fans) are potentially very misleading this year.  There are probably a number of factors, including the automated strike zones being used in some ballparks, the loss of the short season leagues forcing some players who may not be ready into full season ball, and the loss of the 2020 season.  So we have to take the stats at Bradenton with a grain of salt.

The same may be true with Greensboro, but for a different reason.  It’s pretty simple:  The ballpark there is Home Run Heaven.  At mid-season, Baseball America assigned the park a home run factor of 200 (?!).  That’s the second-highest in full season ball.  Oddly, the park isn’t nearly as skewed for scoring generally.  Its park factor for runs is 119, which is pretty high but only the third highest in the High-A East.  That’s probably because the park appears to depress hits a bit, with a BABIP park effect of 93.

Obviously, some of the home run totals on the Grasshoppers have to be taken with a grain of salt.  At the same time, there may be a need to cut some of the pitchers some slack.  Single-season splits can be troublesome, though, because the sample size isn’t large enough to prevent statistical noise.  And the individual splits for the Hoppers don’t tell a consistent story.  So here’s a brief rundown.  I couldn’t do everybody because the splits at bb-ref lump all the stats together for players who saw action with more than one team, and the splits at MiLB.com for multi-team players are just a mess.

Hitters With Extreme Splits

Nick Gonzales

Home:  326/395/652, 10 HR
Road:  267/333/427, 4 HR

This was a lot more extreme until very recently.  Until four days ago, all of Gonzales’ longballs came at home.  Three of the road ones, of course, were yesterday.

Matt Gorski

Home:  238/300/476, 11 HR
Road:  221/300/386, 4 HR

Aaron Shackelford

Home:  235/332/488, 13 HR
Road:  176/237/359, 6 HR

Grant Koch

Home:  243/350/515, 8 HR
Road:  127/195/215, 1 HR

It’s hard to dismiss Gonzales just because of his splits.  First of all, the road split isn’t bad and, second, it’s unlikely more than a very small number of hitters would post a 1.047 OPS even at Greensboro.  The other three, though, especially Shackelford and Koch . . . .

Hitters Without Extreme Splits

Liover Peguero

Home:  259/324/488, 10 HR
Road:  273/324/422, 4 HR

The home runs are the only real difference here, and Peguero has one more double and two more triples on the road in almost exactly the same ABs.

Jared Triolo

Home:  265/332/436, 7 HR
Road:  345/392/537, 7 HR

Lolo Sanchez

Home:  234/380/439, 7 HR
Road:  276/367/474, 7 HR

Two reverse splits!  Odd about the home run totals.

You’re probably wondering about Matt Fraizer.  I figured out his batting average and home run totals:  He hit .350 with 11 home runs at home, .283 with seven homers on the road.  So he had a split but it wasn’t extreme.  Interestingly, since he got to Altoona, he’s hit .244 with one homer at home and .400 with one homer on the road.  According to BA, Altoona is a terrible park for dingerz (this is long-established), but about neutral for runs.  Mason Martin has hit two-thirds of his longballs on the road.

Pitchers with Extreme Splits

Quinn Priester

Home:  4.57 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 6 HR, 7.2 K/9
Road:  1.24 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 2 HR, 11.1 K/9

So maybe he’s having a much better year than we thought.  Maybe.

Colin Selby

Home:  5.82 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 5 HR, 8.7 K/9
Road:  3.15 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 2 HR, 11.3 K/9

Bear Bellomy

Home:  6.98 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 8 HR, 10.0 K/9
Road:  2.78 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 2 HR, 11.1 K/9

Selby and Bellomy maybe just shouldn’t pitch at home.

Oliver Garcia

Home:  4.18 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 5 HR, 9.5 K/9
Road:  2.95 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 2 HR, 9.3 K/9

Pitchers With Just a Dinger Split

Austin Roberts

Home:  5.23 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 10 HR, 14.8 K/9
Road:  4.84 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 4 HR, 13.7 K/9

Grant Ford

Home:  6.21 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 10 HR, 10.5 K/9
Road:  5.91 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 3 HR, 10.7 K/9

Garrett Leonard

Home:  6.89 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 9 HR, 10.3 K/9
Road:  5.09 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 5 HR, 10.2 K/9

These guys haven’t done well generally, so the home park impact has mainly been just on their gopher ball totals.  Combined they’ve allowed 29 homers in 95.2 IP, which is really, really bad.  As one final extreme case, Domingo Gonzalez, since his promotion, has allowed ten home runs in three starts at home and none in two starts on the road.

Pitchers With No or Reverse Splits

Will Kobos

Home:  2.08 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 2 HR, 13.7 K/9
Road:  2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 2 HR, 15.8 K/9

Michael Burrows

Home:  2.10 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 2 HR, 14.0 K/9
Road:  2.45 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 0 HR, 11.3 K/9

Carmen Mlodzinski

Home:  2.25 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 4 HR, 12.5 K/9
Road:  5.30 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 3 HR, 10.1 K/9

A reverse split, and a big one!  This is almost certainly statistical noise.

Tahnaj Thomas

Home:  3.90 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 6 HR, 10.4 K/9
Road:  4.97 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 3 HR, 8.4 K/9

Another reverse split.  Opponents are batting .196 against Thomas at home and .278 on the road, so this is probably BABIP-related.

Braxton Ashcraft

Home:  4.98 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 3 HR, 9.1 K/9
Road:  5.82 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 5 HR, 10.1 K/9

As the solid WHIPs suggest, Ashcraft’s struggles before he went out were mostly gopher-related.  He was allowing one roughly every four and a half innings.

Overall, I don’t think we can draw a lot of conclusions about any individuals.  The ballpark in Greensboro clearly inflates home runs, a lot.  For individuals, in most cases I imagine the “truth” lies somewhere in between extremes, like Gonzales, and guys who don’t seem to have been affected, like Lolo Sanchez.

Having followed the Pirates fanatically since 1965, Wilbur Miller is one of the fast-dwindling number of fans who’ve actually seen good Pirate teams. He’s even seen Hall-of-Fame Pirates who didn’t get traded mid-career, if you can imagine such a thing. His first in-person game was a 5-4, 11-inning win at Forbes Field over Milwaukee (no, not that one). He’s been writing about the Pirates at various locations online for over 20 years. It has its frustrations, but it’s certainly more cathartic than writing legal stuff. Wilbur is retired and now lives in Bradenton with his wife and three temperamental cats.

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