Yanks-Sox, Fly-Ball Phil Meets Arena Baseball

by Daniel Foster

Phil Hughes is currently getting beat up in Fenway Park — death by a thousand fly balls. I’ll check later whether the numbers bear this out, but it’s intuitively a terrible park for Hughes to pitch in. He’s a fly-ball pitcher (ground ball percentage 2007-2010: 40, 45, 40, 36)  whose velocity is down, meaning fewer strikeouts. Fly ball pitchers usually need relatively high strikeout rates to make up for the lack of grounders. Combine that with the fact that Fenway turns just about any hitter who can reliably hit lazy fly balls to left field into a stud. It’s arena baseball. It turned Mike Lowell from a fringe player into an all-star, and David Ortiz from a middling-slugger into a borderline hall-of-famer. Don’t believe me? Look at their home/ road splits for their best year.

Right Field

Brief chronicles of our sporting times.