Getting James Loney, In ScatterPlot

December 16, 2010

Yesterday I went over a cast of LH first basemen, in order to discover and report who might be available through free agency or trade. One of the things that surprised me while doing this was that James Loney, the 24 year old lefty manning first base for the Dodgers, hit so well outside of his home park.

Over his career, he’s only hit .268/.334/.377 at home, while he’s hit .307/.361/.493 away. That’s not just a little difference, it’s a 143-point OPS difference. I wondered, was this all about the home park? LA is known as a pitchers park, perhaps that’s what taking him down. So I decided to do a simple analysis. I’d take Baseball Reference’s Multi-Year Park Factor and plot it against OPS. Let’s not worry too much about the sausage inside of Park Factor. Instead, just keep in mind that 100 is in the middle, anything below 100 is considered better for pitchers, anything above 100 is better for hitters.

The chart below is Loney’s OPS plotted on the y-axis against the park factor at every park he’s played at and had at least 50 PAs. I figured anywhere lower than that is just too small. Sure, it’s a bit of an arbitrary point, but I don’t have a better way to do it, and anything below 50 seemed EXTREMELY low to me. So that is where I started:

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