Splitting Salt Lake
Peter Bourjos at fall instructional league in Mesa, Arizona, October 15, 2005.
Back on May 28, we took a look at split numbers for four Salt Lake Bees hitters — Peter Bourjos, Hank Conger, Terry Evans and Mark Trumbo.
Two months have passed by, and if you believe media rumors Bourjos is about to join the Angels in Baltimore for his major league debut. So it would seem a good time to revisit these four players to see how they’re doing.
The Salt Lake splits I do are different from the normal home/away splits used to neutrally evaluate a player’s performance. The Pacific Coast League has five super-hitter friendly ballparks — Salt Lake, Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, Las Vegas and Reno. I lump those five together and calculate AVG/OBP/SLG against the rest of the league. It’s been a fairly handy measurement over the years.
Peter Bourjos AVG/OBP/SLG
OVERALL: .314/.364/.498 (414 AB)
HITTER-FRIENDLY: .350/.393/.557 (280 AB)
NEUTRAL: .239/.301/.373 (134 AB)
Hank Conger AVG/OBP/SLG
OVERALL: .266/.364/.399 (263 AB)
HITTER-FRIENDLY: .237/.348/.355 (169 AB)
NEUTRAL: .319/.393/.479 (94 AB)
Terry Evans AVG/OBP/SLG
OVERALL: .254/.300/.423 (338 AB)
HITTER-FRIENDLY: .258/.303/.423 (213 AB)
NEUTRAL: .248/.296/.424 (125 AB)
Mark Trumbo AVG/OBP/SLG
OVERALL: .295/.351/.568 (403 AB)
HITTER-FRIENDLY: .329/.391/.589 (258 AB)
NEUTRAL: .234/.277/.531 (145 AB)
The split numbers for Bourjos and Trumbo are radically different, waving two red flags not to rush these young prospects — although reportedly Bourjos will join the Angels shortly.
Conger’s numbers, oddly, are much better in the neutral/pitcher-friendly parks. Note, in particular, that his slugging percentage is much higher in neutral parks (.479) than in the hitter-friendly parks (.355). Go figure.
Evans’ numbers are consistent regardless of park.
Half of those hitter-friendly games are played at home in Salt Lake, so our population sample will always be higher for hitter-friendly than for neutral/pitcher-friendly. Each has roughly 100 at-bats, more or less, in the neutral parks. We’d like a larger sample, which we’ll have at season’s end, but at least it shows us how radically the numbers of Bourjos and Trumbo are being skewed by playing in hitter-friendly parks.