Splitting Brandon Wood

If you’ve followed my FutureAngels.com Top 10 Prospects reports over the years, you know that for Salt Lake players I’ll do an analysis you won’t find elsewhere.

You can find home/road splits for any player, but that doesn’t tell the whole story in the high-octane Pacific Coast League. Five ballparks — Salt Lake, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, and Reno — are all super hitter-friendly conditions due to high altitude or other conditions.

I retrieve a Salt Lake players’ game-by-game stats and separate out games played in those five ballparks against the rest of the league. Bees players, obviously, have half their games at home in Salt Lake City, so inevitably we have a larger sample with the “hitter-friendly” at-bats than we do with the “neutral/pitcher-friendly” at-bats. But I’ve found it gives you a more accurate picture of how a player is doing than the simple home/road split.

A sportswriter asked me to do Brandon Wood’s 2009 splits. I also looked back at 2007 and 2008 for comparison. Here’s what I found:

OVERALL: .293/.357/.557 (386 AB)
HITTER-FRIENDLY: .318/.382/.614 (280 AB)
NEUTRAL/PITCHER-FRIENDLY: .226/.291/.406 (106 AB)

OVERALL: .296/.376/.595 (395 AB)
HITTER-FRIENDLY: .296/.382/.577 (267 AB)
NEUTRAL/PITCHER-FRIENDLY: .297/.364/.633 (128 AB)

OVERALL: .272/.338/.497 (437 AB)
HITTER-FRIENDLY: .279/.352/.472 (305 AB)
NEUTRAL/PITCHER-FRIENDLY: .258/.305/.553 (132 AB)

The 2009 numbers are of particular concern. In the prior two years, his slugging percentage in neutral/pitcher-friendly parks was actually higher than in hitter-friendly parks. But in 2009 his “neutral” numbers were significantly lower across the board.

As always with statistics, you have to look at context and sampling size. In each of the three years, we’re looking at a little over 100 AB’s for “neutral.” We would expect to see “neutral” numbers lower, but in 2009 they’re drastically lower.

Brandon has his best career opportunity in 2010 to win the Anaheim third base job. But those 2009 “neutral” numbers are a cause for concern.

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