Examining the Mets home record

Posted on June 8, 2010 by

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The question on everyone’s mind regarding the Mets is why the team plays so much better at home than on the road. Everyone has a theory, including manager Jerry Manuel, who recently claimed that the players are trying to pad their stats, especially their HR totals, away from Citi Field.

The Mets are 22-9 at home right now, the most wins by any team in the majors in their home park, although not every team has played an equal number of games. Overall, teams in MLB have won 56 percent of their games at home. The Mets have won 71 percent.

Let’s look at existing (not expansion) teams that opened new parks since 1990 and see how their home/overall records fared. This includes every new ballpark except Tropicana Field and Chase Field that opened since 1990. Those two were excluded because they were the first fields played in by their respective teams.

White Sox – new park opened in 1991
1990 Home: 49-31 (.613) Overall: 94-68 (.580) – .053 better at home
1991 Home: 46-35 (.568) Overall: 87-75 (.537) – .031 better at home
1992 Home: 50-32 (.610) Overall: 86-76 (.531) – .079 better at home

Orioles – new park opened in 1992
1991 Home: 33-48 (.407) Overall: 67-95 (.414) – .007 better at home
1992 Home: 43-38 (.531) Overall: 89-73 (.549) — .018 worse at home
1993 Home: 48-33 (.593) Overall: 85-77 (.525) — .068 better at home

Indians – new park opened in 1994
1993 Home: 46-35 (.568) Overall: 76-86 (.469) — .099 better at home
1994 Home: 35-16 (.686) Overall: 66-47 (.584) — .102 better at home
1995 Home: 54-18 (.750) Overall: 100-44 (.694) — .056 better at home

Rangers – new park opened in 1994
1993 Home: 50-31 (.617) Overall: 86-76 (.531) — .086 better at home
1994 Home: 31-32 (.492) Overall: 52-62 (.456) — .036 better at home
1995 Home: 41-31 (.569) Overall: 74-70 (.514) — .055 better at home

Rockies – new park opened in 1995
1994 Home: 25-32 (.439) Overall: 53-64 (.453) — .014 worse at home
1995 Home: 44-28 (.611) Overall: 77-67 (.535) — .076 better at home
1996 Home: 55-26 (.679) Overall: 83-79 (.512) — .167 better at home

Braves – new park opened in 1996
1995 Home: 44-28 (.611) Overall: 90-54 (.625) — .014 worse at home
1996 Home: 56-25 (.691) Overall: 96-66 (.593) — .098 better at home
1997 Home: 50-31 (.617) Overall: 101-61 (.623) — .006 better at home

Mariners – new park opened in 1999
1998 Home: 42-39 (.519) Overall: 76-85 (.472) — .047 better at home
1999 Home: 43-38 (.531) Overall: 79-83 (.488) — .043 better at home
2000 Home: 47-34 (.580) Overall: 91-71 (.562) — .018 better at home

Giants – new park opened in 2000
1999 Home: 49-32 (.605) Overall: 86-76 (.531) – .074 better at home
2000 Home: 55-26 (.679) Overall: 97-65 (.599) — .080 better at home
2001 Home: 49-32 (.605) Overall: 90-72 (.556) — .049 better at home

Tigers – new park opened in 2000
1999 Home: 38-43 (.469) Overall: 69-92 (.429) — .040 better at home
2000 Home: 43-38 (.531) Overall: 79-83 (.488) — .043 better at home
2001 Home: 37-44 (.457) Overall: 66-96 (.407) — .050 better at home

Astros – new park opened in 2000
1999 Home: 50-32 (.610) Overall: 97-65 (.599) — .011 better at home
2000 Home: 39-42 (.481) Overall: 72-90 (.444) — .037 better at home
2001 Home: 44-37 (.543) Overall: 93-69 (.574) — .031 worse at home

Brewers – new park opened in 2001
2000 Home: 42-39 (.519) Overall: 73-89 (.451) — .068 better at home
2001 Home: 36-45 (.444) Overall: 68-94 (.420) — .024 better at home
2002 Home: 31-50 (.383) Overall: 56-106 (.346) — .037 better at home

Pirates – new park opened in 2001
2000 Home: 37-44 (.457) Overall: 69-93 (.426) — .031 better at home
2001 Home: 38-43 (.469) Overall: 62-100 (.383) — .086 better at home
2002 Home: 38-42 (.475) Overall: 72-89 (.447) — .028 better at home

Reds – new park opened in 2003
2002 Home: 38-43 (.469) Overall: 78-84 (.481) — .012 worse at home
2003 Home: 35-46 (.432) Overall: 69-93 (.426) — .006 better at home
2004 Home: 40-41 (.494) Overall: 76-86 (.469) — .025 better at home

Padres – new park opened in 2004
2003 Home: 35-46 (.432) Overall: 64-98 (.395) — .037 better at home
2004 Home: 42-39 (.519) Overall: 87-75 (.537) — .018 better at home
2005 Home: 46-35 (.568) Overall: 82-80 (.506) — .062 better at home

Phillies – new park opened in 2004
2003 Home: 49-32 (.605) Overall: 86-76 (.531) — .074 better at home
2004 Home: 42-39 (.519) Overall: 86-76 (.531) — .012 worse at home
2005 Home: 46-35 (.568) Overall: 88-74 (.543) — .025 better at home

Cardinals – new park opened in 2006
2005 Home: 50-31 (.617) Overall: 100-62 (.617) — .000 better at home
2006 Home: 49-31 (.613) Overall: 83-78 (.516) — .097 better at home
2007 Home: 43-38 (.531) Overall: 78-84 (.481) — .050 better at home

Nationals – new park opened in 2008
2007 Home: 40-41 (.494) Overall: 73-89 (.451) — .043 better at home
2008 Home: 34-46 (.425) Overall: 59-102 (.366) — .059 better at home
2009 Home: 33-48 (.407) Overall: 59-103 (.364) — .043 better at home

Overall, we have 17 teams and here’s how the data breaks down:
Last year in old park: .533 home .499 overall — .036 better at home
First year in new park: .539 home .496 overall — .043 better at home
Second year new park: .553 home .508 overall — .045 better at home

We see that it is no surprise that a team plays noticeably better at home in its second season in a new park. The year before moving into a new park, the 17 teams in our sample played .533 at home and .461 on the road. In their second season in the new park, our 17 teams had nearly an identical road mark with a .462 winning percentage. But their home marks jumped up to .553 or a 20 percentage point increase. The difference between their home and overall records in Year Two is .045, compared to .036 in the year before moving into the new digs.

Last year the Mets were 41-40 (.506) at home and 70-92 (.432) overall for a .074 difference, which is one of the better marks around for teams playing in their new park for the first time. This year they are 22-9 (.710) at home and 30-27 (.526) overall for a .184 difference. That would be the biggest difference of all teams in our sample in the second season of a new park. The current highest is the.167 difference by the Rockies.

Logic tells us that the Mets will start playing better on the road and worse at home. Still, with over 1/3 of the season in the books the Mets are on an historic pace. The average team in our sample won 44 games at home in Year Two. Only four teams won 50 or more games and the most was the 55 by the 1996 Rockies. The Mets are on pace to win 58.

Of the four previous teams to win 50 or more at home, two (1992 White Sox and 1996 Rockies) won 83 and 86 games, respectively. The other two (1995 Indians and 1997 Braves) won 100 and 101. The Mets seem to fit in better with the former group.

The 1992 White Sox had an ace in Jack McDowell (20-10, 3.18 ERA) and then four pitchers who were essentially .500 in Kirk McCaskill, Alex Fernandez, Charlie Hough and Greg Hibbard, who combined to go 37-43, with ERAs ranging from 3.93 (Hough) to 4.40 (Hibbard). The offense featured four hitters with an OPS+ of over 100, led by Frank Thomas at 174. DH George Bell had a 99 OPS+ and the other four hitters were below average.

The 1996 Rockies had a similar offensive profile, with four hitters above average, led by Ellis Burks with a 149 OPS+. Kevin Ritz was the nominal ace, with a 17-11 record and a 5.28 ERA. Six other pitchers made at least 11 starts and they combined to go 32-40.

The 2010 Mets seem a little better situated. In Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey, they have two starters capable of providing good pitching. Those two have combined to go 12-3 with a 2.58 ERA. David Wright leads the way with a 136 OPS+ but six of their eight hitters have an OPS+ of 100 or more.

The key going forward is if hitters like Rod Barajas, Ike Davis and Jeff Francoeur can keep hitting like they have and if Jose Reyes can improve upon his 69 OPS+. Also, if John Maine and Oliver Perez can be replaced by pitchers who can go .500 that would be nice, too.

The Mets seem better than either the 1992 White Sox or the 1996 Rockies. Both of those teams finished in third place and out of the playoffs.

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Posted in: Perspectives