San Diego Padres Struggle With Petco Effect
No one is arguing that the San Diego Padres are ripe with offensive talent. Though 3B Chase Headley is a superstar, the remainder of their regular lineup consists of few big-league regulars, mixed with some who belong on a bench or a platoon role.
However, their biggest offensive restriction does not lie in talent — it lies in their ballpark. Petco Park is widely considered the greatest pitchers’ park in baseball today. As such, it is interesting to look at the Padres’ raw offensive numbers juxtaposed with their metrics that are adjusted for ballpark.
The Padres rank 21st, 20th, and 21st in batting average, OBP, and runs scored respectively. These numbers are inflated slightly by an above-average team BABIP, but the Padres have good team speed, so this seems likely to be a sustainable level of production.
There are two main stats that account for ballpark and league factors, and these numbers indicate that the Padres’ numbers are not really lowered by those factors. The Padres rank 25th and 15th in wOBA and wRC+. Their 15th-ranked wRC+ is 97, which is actually considered to be a below-average figure.
Many evaluators insist that Padres hitters are often undervalued in free agency and trades because their numbers are hampered by the Petco effect. Using the one-fifth on the season that has elapsed thus far in 2013, this seems to be relatively false. Though there are surely many factors that cannot be adequately summarized in the data, those factors that we can account for seem to allow for an interesting conclusion: the Padres’ numbers are not inhibited by playing half of their games in Petco.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.