It may seem like a bit of a head-scratcher to see the Padres acquire a power bat in the middle of their perennial rebuilding process — especially one so flawed as Carlos Quentin. Then again, the flaws probably made him acquirable at all, and the Padres sorely lacked what Quentin brings to the table.
In fantasy, we don’t care about any of that. All we care about is how the player will take to his new digs. Before you count Quentin out because of his new home park, the peculiarities of PetCo park demand more attention.
We know that the park murders lefty power to the tune of a 59 park factor for home runs. Cut the number of home runs by lefties almost in half when they come to San Diego, and blame the humidity, the proximity to sea level, the park, or even the beer.
But Quentin hits from the other side of the dish. The park factor for righty home runs is only 95, so he might find his power only muted by five percent. That bodes well for Quentin in particular. After all, he’s a definitive pull power hitter: His isolated slugging percentage to the pull field is .481 career, compared to .181 to center and .173 when he goes oppo. Quentin may only see a little blip in his power numbers.
On the other hand, this is the first time Quentin has had a home park that didn’t help his offense. Arizona augmented righty home-run power by 2%, and The Cell gave him a 38% push on home runs. Maybe that’s why he had a .258 ISO at home with the White Sox. Now we might have to worry just a teeny bit about that .053/.217/.105 slash line in PetCo, even if it only came in 20 plate appearances.
What if his power has always been helped by his home park? Take away all of his at-bats in Arizona and Chicago, and Quentin has batted .241 with a .460 slugging percentage over his career. That .219 ISO is still far above the league average (.144 last year), but it’s not quite his .238 career ISO. In context: last year, his .245 ISO would have placed fifteenth in the league had he qualified for the batting title. His career .238 ISO would have dropped him to 20th on the list. A .219 ISO would have had him at 36th on the list, between Carlos Santana and Dan Uggla.
He hits too many fly balls to have a good batting average (.82 ground balls per fly ball, career .253 BABIP), so that won’t be part of the package. He hasn’t stolen more than three bases in a single year since 2008, so don’t count on stolen bases. The Padres lineup won’t help him accrue runs or RBI. And Quentin might be the best ever at being hit by pitches, a dubious honor that should cost him some playing time next year as it seems to do every year. Quentin is a flawed player for sure.
But Quentin will still show power. And the fans’ projection — .249/.335/.459 with 26 home runs — looks eminently reachable for the right-fielder, even in PetCo.
With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.