Colorado Rockies: The effect of and fixes for the “Coors Field hangover”
The Rockies record isn’t the only issue when they go from Coors to sea level.
Most teams are worse on the road than away, but for Rockies batters and pitchers, the story only gets worse.
First, the batters absolutely plummet on the Coors-to-sea-level games dropping to an average of 3.59 per game. Compare this to middle elevation games where the total runs jumps to 4.56 runs per game, higher than the average away game run total of 4.13 runs per game.
As stated before, it is a surprise how bad Colorado pitchers have been at sea level. Some of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the league, yet the Rockies pitchers often can’t perform at the level of their counterparts.
I know I have used very base-level stats for this, but let’s dip our toes in the analytics for a minute to help explain why. Spin rate has become an important statistic in the past few years. It dictates how and by how much a pitch moves on its way to the plate. The higher the spin rate, the more movement on the baseball, something very useful for a pitcher. I have discussed how low most of the Rockies’ pitching staff’s spin rate is before. Some people have even suggested that a lower spin rate is more effective at Coors Field, hence another reason the “Superpen experiment” failed.
The point to all of this is that the lower spin rate drastically changes pitcher effectiveness at sea level, actually hurting Rockies pitchers instead of helping. Doing some quick math, we see that, on average, the Rockies allow 4.73 runs per game. Another quick calculation shows that this is lower than Coors-to-sea-level games, which allow on average 5.06 runs per game. Compare this to going from Coors to mid-elevation games, the average runs allowed is a significantly lower 4.16 runs per game.