T-Mobile Park is back to being a pitcher’s paradise

In 2022, the Seattle Mariners They played their 24th season at T-Mobile Park, née Safeco Field. It was one of the club’s most successful campaigns ever, but it was also another triumph for the park itself in re-establishing its reputation as one of Major League Baseball’s premier pitchers’ parks. At the end of the winter season, I’m still here, waiting for the warm embrace of spring training, curious if there’s a particular reason for this offensive retreat by all the guys when they set foot at Magenta Center. I’m also inclined to believe that the park plays at least some role in Seattle’s efforts (or lack thereof) to attract high-quality free agent hitters to Seattle. And I suspect that the club has recognized these same problems, and has realized that the “real three hits” style hitters who walk, hit the ball, or homer more often will eventually have more success than most in their current stadium.

by Lawn factors from Baseball Savant using Statcast dataT-Mobile Park was for the second consecutive season, The most accessible park in all of MLB. other sites, Like ESPNAlso keep park worker data; However, Savant’s shows more depth in analyzing the parks themselves, while ESPN simply compares runs scored by a team on the road versus at home (T-Mobile Park ranks 28th). The graph below (and link) will show you the same Statcast data from Baseball Savant in more detail, and a few points stand out.

100 is the league average, and a point above or below is a more or less friendly percentage for offense. The data includes all hitters, not just home hitters. For BBs and SOs, a higher number means the event is more likely, ergo SOs are more likely to be at T-Mobile Park, while BBs are less likely.
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Down in the basement overall as an offensive environment, T-Mobile Park is 9% more offensively suppressive than the average league park, 20% tougher to get into than Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, the second-most brutal-friendly boundary in The league behind the height-supported Coors Stadium will forever prevail until MLB expands to Bogota or Mexico City. But despite its apparent low attack design, as it has been since the team I moved in the fences in the field left and center Prior to the 2013 season (outside of 2013 itself), the park was actually a perfectly reasonable environment for hitting a home run. T-Mobile Park actually rated a mark above average in terms of home runs in 2022, Damn the marine layer. In every other category, however, it was a nightmare to try to make hay to the plate, as Seattle’s home stadium was one of the hardest places to land hits of any kind on the field of play, and in particular the hardest place to triple in all of MLB.

the lesson? If you want to score in Seattle, it seems, you have to put the ball over the fence, because any less contact will be less successful here than anywhere else.

If we expand the data to a three-year scalable sample from 2020-2022, it shows the same conclusion for T-Mobile Park: 30 out of 30, and much more.

2020-2022 data
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The three-year sample is the best practice for evaluating this type of impact because it provides a sample size of 16 to 17,000 plate appearances and helps take some of the impact out of any hard hitting individual hitter or season. However, there is one important data point for 2022 in particular. In 2022, every MLB club and ballpark was required to use a humidifier To store baseballs before they are used for the first time, in an effort to standardize playing environments somewhat better. In parks with drier climates, a humidor should have a wetting effect, reducing the ball’s flight distance on contact. In areas that are wetter (or have water-rich air) like Seattle, the effect could actually be in theory He increases in flight distance, especially considering the balls were stored at a league-wide 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 55% relative humidity. But T-Mobile Park has had a humidor longer than most of MLB, yet Installed prior to the 2020 season.

And at least by some measures, that seems to have helped – at least for the rest of the league. Although Seattle was, as usual, the coldest park on average for the Games, and the overall sea level atmosphere was not in its favour, the humidifier seemed to have improved the balls’ ability to fly by more than two feet. From 2019 (pre-moisturizing) Through 2022, he moved T-Mobile Park from 30th in extra ball flight distance to just 24. Of course, in the case of T-Mobile, the ball’s average flight distance is still about 4.3 feet on average, although down from 6.4 feet in 2019. And all this compared to the “league average,” which was far from Stillness.

back in 2018, Jake Mailhot looked at How a seemingly dead baseball game helped the Seattle Mariners achieve greater success after a devastating 2017 bunnyball hits the slanted flyby. Then in 2019, things got exciting again, so much so that the league He began to make the secret (And the Eventually it was revealed publicly made efforts to change the ball to reduce home runs. While research by Dr. Meredith Wells and Bradford William Davis of Insider found this to be the case Secretly three Types of primary balls used in 2022, the overall lethal effect was the most prevalent. Below we can see the impact on flyballs at T-Mobile Park, and what the overall impact of this variety of factors has actually been.

T-Mobile Park data on flyballs
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During the same time period, major league MLB experienced serious fluctuations in volleyball distances as well; However, T-Mobile Park has been right in line with most of the highs and lows.

League data on volleyballs
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Therefore, T-Mobile Park has seen changes roughly in line with the rest of MLB due to modifications to the ball, and the improvements to the ball’s flight out of the humidor weren’t enough to counteract the temperature and other environmental factors to bring it closer to the league average. Over the past three years, T-Mobile Park has hosted an operating environment that’s 17% below league average, 5% worse than San Diego’s lowest and It’s almost equivalent to issuing a shadow that prevents playback From Coors, GABP or Fenway Park. The park factors in the stats like wRC+/OPS+/DRC+ and ERA+/FIP-/DRA- (it’s what the +/- stands for), but to determine how much lower-scoring games are likely to be on T-Mobile Park A mid-league park, it’s the gap between Cal Raleigh (121 wRC+) and JP Crawford (104) wRC+.

And where exactly do these offensive holes come from? As shown in the graphs above, home runs are still reasonably common compared to the rest of the league at T-Mobile Park, something that is reflected in the wOBA’s 17th-ranked on fly balls (excluding pops) (.417), albeit With a .104 BABIP (XXIV) that reaffirms what we pointed out: If it doesn’t get over the fence, it always goes down in a gauntlet. There is little variance in Seattle’s ground ball scores, as would be expected given the lower variability in field surfaces and the extremely streamlined field dimensions at T-Mobile Park, resulting in a WOBA rating of 13 (.219) and BABIP (.237) on grounding. (.219). Pop-ups are almost guaranteed everywhere, leaving us with the holy grail of communication: font engines. What you’re encouraged to hit at every level of baseball from T-ball to senior was worse at T-Mobile Park than anywhere else in 2022.

The drives are clearly still a good connection here as they are everywhere, just not as resoundingly as you’d expect. In fact, Boston’s volley was more likely to be a hit than Seattle’s homer. This is clearly aided by the Green Monster, but some combination of environmental factors, the small-sized outfield, and the relatively hard and shallow outfield walls on the right and left field straights seem to make T-Mobile Park a difficult place to find outdoor turf. So while a 250-foot laser like this can still find buys, albeit one-on-ones with ease by quickly squeezing defense players…

… 249 feet of darts can be quickly stopped or snagged despite what could be easy or double elsewhere:

Essentially, T-Mobile Park has become the complete opposite of Coors Field. Little relative To a large portion of the league in terms of total potential real estate, being at sea level, in a cold, damp environment that prevents the ball from flying further all conspire to reward bouncing or hitting the ball. This is in direct contrast to the Coors’ opulent outdoor spaces, designed in hopes of curbing massive home run potential, but in return allow doubles and triples to bloom in the warm summers of Denver’s thin, dry mountain air, encouraging hitters to simply set their bats on the ball and let Things fall as they should.

So for review, we have Park in last place for the running back and general offense, where triple hits and extra base hits are extremely rare relative to the rest of the league. Specifically, while ground balls and fly balls turn out average for MLB at T-Mobile Park, the best kind of connection — line drives — is much worse in Seattle than anywhere else, both from a turnover standpoint To extra- base hits and even turn into hits at all. Seattle has built a roster relatively successfully around this fact, with a The pitching team that had the highest average batting average in MLB last year And one of the lowest walking rates, which makes contact in play come out considerably. It is, in essence, a triumph of the “zone control” philosophy, in which by minimizing free passes and giving batters more opportunities to make contact early in the count and either force a punt or put the ball into play, the pitcher will ultimately benefit more.

At least this will likely run some Her part in Seattle’s woes spur free bats to Puget Sound, though money talks and M’s have been startlingly mum all winter. On the contrary, the club must be able to continue to attract bowlers to their shores, if they wish to do so. It’s also important to consider their current roster, and with good reason that players like Eugenio Suárez and Cal Raleigh are well-suited for success, while heavy contact hitters with more line drives in their contact profile, while still clearly-suited for success Overall, it may not be as successful as expected in Seattle. I’m not quite sure how to parse this, or if M should even encourage hitters to do anything different, as line drives are still the best contact in terms of a positive score, but for players like Ty France and Julio Rodríguez who have the ability Both the loft and the bat control to make a lot of contact, more loft means more runs produced. Conversely, this continues to isolate players like Marco Gonzales and Chris Flexen, who can get plentiful contact that could drown them out in other parks. Next year, it should run out of exciting M slate that could compete for the playoffs again. Just remember how their yard affects their numbers when you think about their play.

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