All three versions of Yankee Stadium have had a short right-field porch. But since the new version opened in 2009, the criticism has mounted and this new park does seem to allow the ball to travel further. Where a 100 score is considered neutral for park factor, Yankee Stadium III is currently rated at 106, a figure that does favor batters. But is the Yankees’ success dependent upon the configurations of their home ballpark? Hardly.
The figures show that the Yankees are more apt to hit a homer at home. But it is not a factor as big as people would lead you to believe. At home, the Yankees’ batters hit homers in 5.2 percent of their at bats. On the road, that figure goes down to 4.1 percent. That seems somewhat significant. But it doesn’t necessarily lead to more runs. The Yankees have scored 186 runs at home in 40 games and 183 in 37 games on the road. There is no major breakdown in the team’s OPS on the road (compare that with the Rockies). The Yankees have a team OPS of .799 at home and .780 on the road. The slugging percentage portion of that OPS is just 23 points different at home than on the road (.467 to .444).
And if this is such a great advantage for the Yankees, why is it that the team has a higher winning percentage on the road (.622) than at home (.600)? And yet, the constant dialogue is that the Yankees are uniquely suited for their home ballpark and have an unfair advantage there. And how come there is never a corresponding dialogue about the Yankee pitchers facing the same problem as opposing pitchers? Probably because Yankee pitchers have allowed a higher slugging percentage on the road! Yankee pitchers have given up only six more homers at home than on the road in three more games played.
It all gets a bit tiresome. But more than that, it denigrates the Yankee batters. They have high home run totals because of their home ballpark. That is only slightly true. But the truth is, the Yankees would have a lot of homers even if their home ballpark was neutral. One player that merits a lot of this discussion is Curtis Granderson. Boy, his swing is uniquely built for Yankee Stadium. But look at his spray chart below captured from TexasLeaguers.com:
Perhaps five of Granderson’s homers have been of the “cheap” variety. But there are a whole lot of them that were bombs too.
There is not much you can do when you are the New York Yankees. The team is good because they spend the most money. They are good because their ballpark favors them. They score all their runs because of homers. They hit homers because of the jet stream to right field. And yada, yada, yada. Success is the best revenge they say. But all this constant talk gets really old after a while.