Saturday, February 4, 2012

Does Camden Yards Affect CF Defensive Metrics?

   Camden Yards is one of the best baseball parks in my honest and slightly homeristic opinion. As a fan growing up, there was not one place I would have rather been in Baltimore over Camden Yards. However, deep inside the walls of the luxurious stadium is a strange and dark mystery. It's been a running myth ever since the stadiums' inception in 1992 that defense is not accurately measured; specifically in Center Field. (Not Really, but for the sake of this blog, let's just act like it has been).

   So what could there possibly be to unravel this myth of defensive metric abuse in Camden Yards? It seems like a simple task to solve, but there are a few obstacles in the way:

1. Camden Yards has not been around for THAT long. The first 8-10 years of its existence were primarily all Brady Anderson era. During this time, UZR and advanced defensive metrics did not exist yet.

2. After Brady's time, the Orioles had a disastrous group in CF. 2001 was the year of Melvin Mora (Yes, he played CF primarily in 2001). 2002 was the time of Chris Singleton. 2003-2005 was the time of Luis Matos. 2006 belonged to Corey Patterson for the most part. Finally in 2007, Adam Jones took over.

   The problem with this is that none of these players have an extensive amount of time in CF at Camden Yards to truly diagnose whether they played worse there. Mora's first season was the YEAR BEFORE advanced defensive statistics were documented. Singleton and Patterson essentially had one season under their belt for the Orioles in CF.
   Another reason that Singleton and Patterson's statistics are useless is because their career stats have other home stadiums' numbers mixed in. For example, Patterson obviously played with the Cubs before the Orioles. There are no home/away splits for advanced defensive metrics per single team or stadium.
   This means that the only two players that could possibly be looked at are Luis Matos and Adam Jones. Matos started 400 games in CF from 2003-05,while Jones has started in 544 since 2007. Below are the advanced defensive metrics of their home/away splits.

           Adam Jones
Home                     Away
-15.7       RngR      -2.9       
 -0.9         ErrR      -1.3   
  9.0         Arm        5.5  
-7.6         UZR        1.3
-5.1      UZR/150    0.9

           Luis Matos

Home                     Away
-6.7       RngR          5.5      
 -0.1         ErrR       -1.4  
 -2.5        Arm         -3.3 
-9.2         UZR         0.8
-8.4     UZR/150      0.8

   As you can see, both players do significantly better defensively away from Camden Yards. Only the Arm and ErrR ratings are better at Camden Yards. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see how the statistics DO fluctuate from when Jones and Matos both play away from Camden Yards. Their UZR ratings significantly improved. Since both players played three plus years with the Orioles, it is probably safe to say that this is a close-to-accurate-rating.
  In the end, are these ratings proof that Camden Yards is a hell-house for anyone playing CF? I would say no, because there is simply not enough evidence. Although in the future, maybe when the Orioles have another CF or two who plays three plus years, we may finally be able to crack this strange and dark mystery that has been bothering everyone (not really) for so long.

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