A lot has been made of Kauffman Stadium and its home run sapping abilities. The biggest deal was last year’s hitting coach, Jack Maloof, being fired after blaming problems hitting homers on the home field, and Eric Hosmer talked about it with Soren Petro on the radio Wednesday. Why don’t we look at just how good The K is at keeping the ball in the yard.
Using baseball-reference game team game logs I went and pulled 2013 home data for the Royal pitchers. They gave up home runs on 2.47% of ABs at home last year and on the road they gave up homers at a 3.22% rate. The pitching staff seemed to benefit quite a lot from the dimensions of Kauffman.
To see how the teams that faced the Royals in Kansas City typically fared, I calculated a weighted average composite HR rate for them (Detroit played 9 games in KC so they get a weight of 9/81 or 11.11% of the average) and found it was 2.96%. That means that all of the teams combined had their rate drop about half a percent from their typical home run production. In other words, it is not just the Royals who can’t hit it out in KC. Just for reference all of baseball last year hit homers at a 2.81% clip just slightly below what the Royals faced at home.
At this point you might be feeling a little bad for Jack Maloof being canned after his comments last year, hold on just a bit. The Royals are probably not hitting a lot of home runs at home because of the field, but they don’t really hit out on the road either.
Last year the Royals hit 112 home runs at a rate of 2.02% of ABs. At home they hit basically the same at 2.05%, so they were actually worse at hitting home runs on the road by a tiny margin. You could chalk it up to being comfortable with home cooking, but if that’s the case they need to get much better at home and hope it carries over to the road too.
So there you have it, Kauffman is hard on road teams who have their home run rate drop by almost 17% of their average when they come to KC. It is a tough homer park. Eric Hosmer said something along the lines of there is no where in The K to get a cheap home run.