Padres Editorial: What If Matt Kemp played his 2014 Home Games at Petco


Recently I decided to take a look at Justin Upton’s stats and determine what his season would have looked like if he played his home games at Petco Park. After doing this it got me thinking about how Matt Kemp’s season would have looked if he played his home games at Petco.

Kemp, like Upton, has enjoyed success at Petco slashing .322/.372/.495 with 22 extra base hits, with seven of those hits being homeruns. As reported in an article by National MLB Columnist Scott Miller Kemp has liked playing in San Diego, at the press conference introducing Kemp when asked about hitting in Petco he is quoted as saying:

“Hitting here, I’ve never had a problem. I like hitting here, it’s a beautiful ballpark.”

I decided to take a deeper look into Kemp’s 2014 stats to determine how it would look if Kemp had played his 2014 home games at Petco. First by looking at the homeruns he hit in Dodger stadium to determine if any he hit wouldn’t be homeruns at Petco and secondly by adjusting his stats for park factors.

In 2014, Kemp hit 25 homeruns, of the 25 a shocking 18 were hit at Kemp’s home address. After reviewing ESPN’s home run tracker I was able to determine that three of the 25 home runs would not have gone out at Petco based on distance. This would lower Kemp’s season total to 22 which is nothing to scoff at when you consider Yasmani Grandal led the team last year with 15. While this helps to show that Kemp’s power should translate to Petco, it may not tell the whole story.

In order to quantify Petco Park’s power zapping atmosphere will affect Kemp, I decided to adjust his stats using park factors. Park factors allow statisticians a way to determine which ball parks favor hitters and which parks favor pitchers additionally giving us a way to predict how a player would have performed if he played in a different park. A ball park’s park factor places a neutral field’s park factor at 100. So if the park factor is above 100 it is a batter friendly ball park and if it is below 100 it is a pitcher friendly ball park.

Dodger Stadium has a park factor of 97 meaning it gives the pitcher a slight advantage but plays fairly close to neutral. While Petco Park has a park factor of 82 meaning it gives the pitcher an extreme advantage. With these two numbers we can adjust Kemp’s stats to see what they would look like if he played his home games at Petco in 2014. If you are interested in the math behind these numbers you can check out this article on baseball reference.

Before determining Kemp’s stats at Petco first you must take a look at what he would have hit at a neutral field. After doing the math I found that he would have slashed a .292/.351/.512 and hit 25 homeruns at a neutral park, fairly close to his actual stats in 2014. However, I was very surprised to find that his power was not zapped when adjusting for Petco; he would have slashed .280/.338/.494 and hit 24 homeruns.

While we should expect some regression next year, I for one am excited to see Kemp hitting at Petco. With Upton and Kemp in the lineup the Padres have two legitimate homerun threats making this a season to look forward to for Padres fans.

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