Dome Sweet Dome! – Jays Home/ Away Splits
Apr 15, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista follows the flight of the ball as he hits a two-run home run against Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
We have always thought that the Blue Jays have had an advantage playing in the Sky Dome I mean Rogers Centre over the years but after diving into the stats I found some odd facts. Offense has always been a plus in the Rogers Centre. It is consistently ranked one of the higher offensive ballparks in baseball according to ESPN’s Park Factors. Last season the Rogers Centre ranked 9th in runs and 3rd in home runs on the Park Factor list. So far this season there are some interesting things going on between the Jays home and away splits. Lets dive in and take a look at it.
The Jays have had solid performance on offense this year period. They rank highly in all the major categories so far in all of baseball. Scoring 223 runs will usually propel your team to first place but our pitching has been lack luster thus far. Knowing that that Rogers Centre is a launch pad you would think that the Jays are taking full advantage of their offensive ballpark. This season however shows that their output is nearly identical to how they perform on the road. The below chart shows the comparisons. The typical stats are very similar but batting average, OPS, and strike out rates are rather different.
Looking at the other ballparks in the AL East I can understand the offensive rates for the road. Our division rivals also have very friendly hitting ballparks. What really stood out to me was the strikeout rates. This lead me to believe that the hitters eye in the Rogers Centre must give the batters a better chance at picking up the pitches. For example the Rogers Centre has a very open center field with a solid black background above the blue wall, were Baltimore’s Camden Yards has a rather tight batters eye that is covered in ivy. Do these seemingly subtle cosmetic ballpark differences really make such a difference? From the Jays aspect it looks like a valid argument when they are striking out 203 times away from the home vs 123 at the Dome.
Another stat I found interesting was the drop in batting average and OPS. Could this be due to the artificial surface allowing every day singles to turn into doubles? Currently the Jays batting average at home is .278 versus .240 and their OPS is .820 home versus a .697 away. This should indicate that we are having more extra base hits and walking a lot more. Looking at the chart however the splits in extra base hits and walks are rather similar. These numbers hopefully will show that the offense could get on base some more when away from Rogers Centre.
Next: Our pitching is actually good at home?