One of the concerns about adding any hitter to AT&T Park is how that player’s power will translate and now that the Giants have traded for Hunter Pence, I think that’s a question that’s on everyone’s mind. So, with that question in mind, let’s look at a few numbers.
First, let’s take a look at some park factors. According to StatCorner, AT&T Park has the following park factors:
PARK FACTORS (LHB / RHB) K: 104 101 nB: 92 97 gbH: 98 96 ofH: 103 102 1B: 99 100 GB: 106 106 2/3B: 98 96 FB: 96 95 HR: 66 88 LD: 96 96 Runs: 77 91 IF: 86 93
A park factor score of exactly 100 indicates a neutral park. A PF score of greater than 100 indicates a park that is favorable to hitters; below 100 indicates a park that is favorable to pitchers. As expected, AT&T Park is mighty hard on left-handed power. Running down the PF list, the Giants’ homepark largely plays at neutral for right-handed batters. The park suppresses homeruns for righties (88 PF), but not nearly as much as it does for lefties (66 PF). So, that’s the good news for the Giants: righties will see a dip in power – when using HR as our measure – but it’s nothing like lefties have to deal with.
Here’s Pence’s hit chart, years 2009-2012:
I’ve included home runs, doubles, and triples in the hit chart. As you can see, most of Pence’s power is of the pull variety; though, he does have some home runs to right field. Pence’s power is predominately to his pull field and up-the-middle. Data from Baseball-Reference confirms this.
That’s Pence’s 2B, 3B, and HR totals by hit location. Of Pence’s 131 career home runs, 58 of them (44.2%) have been pulled; 57 of them (43.5%) have been up-the-middle; and just 16 of them (12.2%) have been opposite field shots.
So, all things considered, Pence should continue to hit for power at AT&T as long as he’s pulling the ball and using the same general approach that he’s shown over his career thus far. He’s going to lose the ability to hit the ball out of the opposite field, but it was never a huge part of his game to begin with anyways. It’s also worth mentioning that Citizen Bank Park’s PF for HRs for right-handed batters is (101) – essentially a neutral park for righties to hit homers in. Pence is likely to lose a few home runs per year while playing in AT&T, but for the Giants he appears to be a good hitter-type to add into the mix: the right-handed pull hitter with power. Unlike left-handed batters, Pence is less likely to be affected by AT&T Park’s spacious dimensions.