It’s been a forgettable year for Jonathan Lucroy. He has posted the lowest wOBA of his career and despite playing in a historical time for home run power, his ISO has slipped below .100 for the first time since his 2010 debut and HR/FB rate sits at just 6%. His Brls/BBE has dipped to a lowly 2.4%, versus 7.7% last year, so his weak performance doesn’t appear to be a fluke. He has simply lost all semblance of power. Where did it go? Who knows. But if anything could wake up a dead bat, it’s Coors Field!
So while many of his original owners in shallower leagues have likely cut bait, there’s now a glimmer of hope. Yesterday, Lucroy was traded to the Rockies, so it will be interesting to see how much a home park could rejuvenate a bat whose power has been sapped.
Let’s check the park factors:
Woah, has Coors Field always sported a right-handed run scoring factor of 139?! Going all the way back to 2007, the answer is no! While the park has come close in the past, its current mark is the highest it has ever been for righties. Obviously, that far surpasses Globe Life Park in Arlington, even though that park has also routinely inflated run scoring.
One of the ways in which Coors increases run scoring is it boosts line drives. I’m guessing that the thin air reduces a pitch’s movement so it’s simply easier to square up. Though Globe Life hasn’t been too shabby in the liner department itself, but there’s no obvious explanation for its line drive boosting powers. One of the drivers of Lucroy’s down season is a career low BABIP. His line drive rate has hit a career low and just the second time it’s been below 21%. So this move should help his batting average.
Both park suppress strikeouts, but Globe Life has done so slightly better than Coors this year. Lucroy has actually struck out at a career low clip, and has also posted a career low SwStk%. That’s about the only positives in his statistical profile so far. But the consistent contact will allow him to benefit more from the park switch with all those balls in play.
Globe Life has boosted walks, while Coors has reduced them, but that’s not all that important unless you’re in an OBP league. Obviously, walks could result in more runs scored, but there are more issues here to worry about his walk rate.
Coors enjoys a clean sweep in the hit type park factors, boosting singles, doubles, and homers. Some of the singles and doubles increase is due to the additional line drives.
We know that Coors has always been one of, if not the, top home run park in baseball. As mentioned in the beginning, Lucroy’s home run power has gone MIA. This is the best situation he could have imagined for getting his power back on track.
Yes, Globe Life Park is a hitter friendly venue, but nothing beats Coors Field. If you’re already a Lucroy owner, smile, as things should improve. If Lucroy is sitting in free agency, pick him up!
Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.