From a GM’s perspective, evaluating a Colorado player is truly a rocky and difficult task. All I can say is; be wary of acquring a Rockies’ hitter at the deadline. And be cautious also of what young promising prospects that may be dealt in order to get whoever is chosen.
Humidors or not, the Rockies are a much better offensive team at home, as they have been for many years now. I wrote about this last season, but it is continuing in 2008 also. The Colorado Rockies Home OPS is .825, second to only the Cubs of the 16 NL teams. This OPS translates into the second most runs per game also, behind the Cubs once again. But on the road they are terrible…Again!. They fall in at 15th in Road OPS (.665), ahead of only the Arizona Diamondbacks. And the Rockies are actually dead last in runs per game on the road with a miserable 3.53 runs a game. Basically, the Rockies on the road have the same OPS that Julio Lugo’s has averaged out to be during the first two years of his contract with the Red Sox.
But it gets even more interesting…The pitchers are performing close, in both their home and road numbers, for the second straight season. At home they have given up 5.15 runs/game. But on the road they have given up even more, 5.37. Either way their pitching has been terrible, but that is beside the point right now. There isn’t too much of a difference between the splits.
So what exactly are the humidors doing?
Let me take Matt Holliday and use him as an example, since he will be the most sought after position player. In Matt Holliday’s career at home his line looks like this: .364/.427/.659. That is great. Those numbers are easily worthy of the Hall of Fame. But on the road he has been a completely different hitter. Line: .277/.342/.450. That is solid but far from special. And in the past two years he has still been putting up great numbers in Colorado, but his numbers on the road have increased as well. Yet the splits are still over a difference 150 percentage points of OPS
So I admit, Matt Holliday may be a wise choice, but if I were a GM then I would make sure that I am not sacrificing the future for a player like him. But as a team, they are tremendous at home, and terrible on the road. Do they have some elaborate sign stealing scheme with cameras and satellites involved? I don’t actually buy that. What I actually buy though, is that the thin air still dictates how well the ball travels in Colorado, to some degree anyway. And acquiring Matt Holliday may very well help a team improve themselves in the short term, but I wouldn’t necessarily expect to be getting an MVP candidate either. After all, scouts said Holliday may have trouble adjusting to the tougher competition in the AL if he were to switch leagues. That is another reason to believe the humidors are not exactly what people may think they are.