Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Coors Effect 8/13/20

Hey baseball fans!

Thus far into the abridged 2020 MLB season, it seems that former and present members of the Colorado Rockies (DJ LeMahieu and Charlie Blackmon) are some of the best hitters in baseball in terms of batting average. DJ is now on the Yankees, but when he played a mile above sea level, he did, in fact, win a batting title. But why are hitters on the Rockies so good? The answer is simple, and I kind of already hinted at it when I said "a mile above sea level." That's right: it's the Coors Effect. 

Denver, Colorado is one of the highest cities in the United States and is also where the Colorado Rockies home ballpark, Coors Field, is situated. This high altitude means that balls hit within the confines of the field travel farther, due to less air density. When Coors Field opened in 1995, the builders were aware of this natural phenomenon, so the field was made with some wide dimensions. But if anything, this just keeps the caverns in between the outfielders open for business. In 2019, Coors Field had the highest park factors in terms of hits, runs, and home runs, meaning that when pitchers pitch there, the ballpark has more to do with their failures than at any other stadium. This works both for and against the Rockies, and here's how. The Rockies lineup has always been full of All Stars. LeMahieu and Blackmon are just the tips of the iceberg, because the current lineup also has hitters like Trevor Story, David Dahl, and my favorite player in baseball, Nolan Arenado. Historically, it doesn't stop there. Todd Helton was a longtime great first baseman in Denver; recently-elected Hall of Fame outfielder Larry Walker made a name for himself in a Rockies uniform; and Andres Galarraga was one of the best hitters in baseball at the turn of the millennium. 

But what about the pitching? Well, while the Rockies rank as one of the best-hitting teams in the modern era, they have had some astronomically terrible pitching seasons. Last season, the Rox ranked dead last in the National League in terms of team ERA (5.56) and have never had a seasonal ERA below 4 in the team's entire history. That's why the Rockies have never won a division title in their 28-year existence. Sure, they've been a Wild Card team a couple of times and even made a World Series in 2007 (which was a sweep by the Red Sox), but they can't keep up in the pitching department because of their ballpark. So, in order for the Rockies to win a World Series, they will have to have one of the best run-producing seasons ever to compensate for the Coors Effect. I, for one, can't wait to see Nolan Arenado hit 60 bombs on the way to the Fall Classic, if it ever happens. 

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

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