Sullivan: When position players get away from Coors Field

From Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs on March 11, 2014:

There’s nothing at all strange about a city the size of Denver having a major-league baseball team. I’ve been to Denver. Not only is it big enough to have multiple gas stations — it’s big enough to have multiple kinds of gas stations. Where things do get strange is in the details. Denver, of course, is really high up, relative to where sea level is, and that makes for an unavoidably different baseballing experience. There’s nothing, really, to be done about it. Baseball in Denver’s played at altitude, so baseball in Denver’s a different sort of baseball.

Things happen differently there, and for that reason Denver’s a perfect case for why park factors have to exist for analysts to get anywhere. It’s simply an extreme hitter-friendly run environment. Now, when it comes to games in Denver, everyone, at least, is on a level playing field (literally!) (figuratively too). But there are games played outside of Denver, and additionally, there are players who are removed from Denver. Whenever a position player leaves the Rockies, people get worried that he’s going to fall apart, because he’ll miss the lopsided circumstances. With players who used to play in Colorado, there’s a tendency to be cautious, and perhaps even skeptical.

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Originally published: March 11, 2014. Last Updated: March 11, 2014.