This blog entry derived out of search entries that directed some people to ‘Uncle Popov.’ Those curious folks were interested in batting averages at Chase Field, home to tonight’s 2011 MLB All-Star Game. So, thanks curious cats!
It is difficult to get excited about a game that is an exhibition, no matter how many times Major League Baseball (and their advertisers) tells us that “this one counts.” No, it is still an exhibition game.
What really counts for MLB is that a lot of people will watch the overhyped exhibition game. And while it is an exhibition, many people are interested in seeing how batters and pitchers that do not normal face each other will do once the game begins, such as Roy Halladay versus Jose Bautista.
Playing in a different park is also worth noting. The All-Star Game gives MLB a chance to showcase its stadiums; sometimes it is a well-known stadium (as in 2008 at [old] Yankee Stadium) and sometimes it is not that well-known, as in this year’s game at Chase Field in Arizona.
Chase Field has been the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks since its inception in 1998. It has hosted college football games, a World Series, and now will host its first All-Star Game. Given that it has been around for over 13 seasons, most players — including many of the All-Stars in tonight’s game — have played at Chase Field.
So, how have they done at the stadium formerly known as BankOne Ballpark? Well, a few things to keep in mind as there are several factors in determining how often a player actually plays in Phoenix. First and most obvious, members of the Diamondbacks have the most appearances. This is typically followed by other NL West teams, then other National League teams, any American League players that have played either with Arizona or in the NL (see Jose Valverde and Carlos Quentin, for example), and lastly the rest of the American League.
In other words, the sampling is going to be varied. Nevertheless…
- NATIONAL LEAGUE ALL-STARS
Hunter Pence has the highest batting average of all NL players, going 0.364 in 55 career at-bats, with three homers and 11 RBIs. He is also 2-for-4 in stolen bases and has struck out 12 times. Of the non-Diamondback players, St. Louis’s Lance Berkman has the most home runs with 13 (far behind D’back Justin Upton’s 47), as well as the most RBIs (38). Los Angeles Dodger Andre Ethier has the most at-bats for a non-D’back (168), while Berkman is second among players not in the NL West (139).
The worst batting average at Chase Field for an NL player is Andrew McCutchen (0.200 in 30 at-bats) and starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (0.200 in 130 at-bats). Only one player has never hit a home run at Chase (Chicago Cubs phenom Starlin Castro). And in terms of the two hometown players, Justin Upton ranks eighth in Chase Field batting average (0.305), while catcher Miguel Montero is batting 0.271, good for 15th out of the 21 position players.
Here is a look at the stats for the starting lineup for the National League (in batting order):
- Rickie Weeks (Brewers, 2B) – 0.345; two HRs; five RBIs in 55 at-bats
- Carlos Beltran (Mets, DH) – 0.286; seven HRs; 18 RBIs in 70 at-bats
- Matt Kemp (Dodgers, CF) – 0.306; five HRs; 14 RBIs in 124 at-bats
- Prince Fielder (Brewers, 1B) – 0.288; four HRs; ten RBIs in 66 at-bats
- Brian McCann (Braves, C) – 0.265; one HR; 13 RBIs in 68 at-bats
- Lance Berkman (Cardinals, RF) – 0.302; 13 HRs; 38 RBIs in 139 at-bats
- Matt Holliday (Cardinals, LF) – 0.281; four HRs; 22 RBIs in 167 at-bats
- Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies, SS) – 0.200; five HRs; 14 RBIs in 130 at-bats
- Scott Rolen (Reds, 3B) – 0.256; six HRs; 23 RBIs in 125 at-bats
In terms of pitchers, there are no Diamondback pitchers on the roster. Nevertheless, in terms of ERA, Atlanta Braves reliever Jonny Venters tops everyone with 0.00 ERA in three games. However, he is only 1-0 in those three games, blowing two saves and allowing three unearned runs in his four innings at Chase Field. He is followed by San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson, who is posting a 1.62 ERA in 16.2 innings with 15 saves (only one blown save), 21 strikeouts and an NL All-Star best 0.167 batting average against.
The best starter has been Ryan Vogelsong, who is 2-1 in Phoenix with a 1.69 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in 16 innings. The NL starter Roy Halladay only has one start at Chase Field, getting the win going six innings while giving up three runs (4.50 ERA) and striking out four. Tim Lincecum has the most wins (3), Kevin Correia has the most losses (6) and strikeouts (48), and Heath Bell has the most holds (4).
The worst pitcher at Chase Field is Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel (13.50 ERA with one loss and one blown save), followed by Cliff Lee (5.14 ERA in seven innings) and Jair Jurrjens (5.09 ERA in three games).
- AMERICAN LEAGUE ALL-STARS
The American League hitters provide fewer numbers. In fact, five players — Jacoby Ellsbury, Howie Kendrick, Jhonny Peralta, Matt Wieters, and starting catcher Alex Avila have never played at Chase Field.
Nevertheless, among those that have walked out onto Chase Field, Josh Hamilton has the best batting average, hitting 0.429 with two home runs and three RBIs in seven at-bats (three games). Final vote-winner Paul Konerko is second with a 0.409 batting average. In 22 at-bats over nine games, Konerko has five home runs and seven RBIs, scoring seven runs himself. Third is Miguel Cabrera (0.393 batting average).
The AL player with the most at bats at Chase Field is former D’back Quentin, who in 209 at-bats is batting 0.287 with eight homers and 44 RBIs (the latter is the most for any AL player). Starting third-basemen Adrian Beltre has the most at-bats (193) for any AL player never affiliated with Arizona, going 0.275 with ten home runs and 29 RBIs.
The worst batting average at Chase is Matt Joyce, who in six at-bats is batting 0.167. He does have one home run, but that is his only hit. He is followed by Michael Cuddyer (0.190 in 21 at-bats) and Kevin Youkilis (0.222 in nine at-bats). Robinson Cano has the fourth-worst batting average in Phoenix, going 0.250. Ironically, the 2011 Home Run Derby champion also has zero career home runs at Chase Field. He joins Youkilis, Michael Young and David Ortiz as the only AL-players to not hit a home run at Chase Field.
Here are the stats for the AL-starters, again in batting order:
- Curtis Granderson (Yankees, CF) – 0.273; one HR; three RBIs in 22 at-bats
- Asdrubal Cabrera (Indians, SS) – 0.385; one HR; three RBIs in 13 at-bats
- Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox, 1B) – 0.314; 13 HRs; 37 RBIs in 169 at-bats
- Jose Bautista (Blue Jays, RF) – 0.265; two HRs; six RBIs in 34 at-bats
- Josh Hamilton (Rangers, LF) – 0.429; two HRs; three RBIs in seven at-bats
- Adrian Beltre (Rangers, 3B) – 0.275; ten HRs; 29 RBIs in 193 at-bats
- David Ortiz (Red Sox, DH) – 0.286; zero HRs; zero RBIs in seven at-bats
- Robinson Cano (Yankees, 2B) – 0.250; zero HRs; one RBI in 12 at-bats
- Alex Avila (Tigers, C) – never played at Chase Field
Pitching stats are scarce for the AL pitchers, as only six — Josh Beckett, Jered Weaver, David Robertson, Jose Valverde, Chris Perez, and C.J. Wilson — have actually pitched at Chase Field. Three of those six players (Beckett, Valverde, and Perez) pitched in the National League at one time.
Obviously former Diamondback Valverde will have the most games played (138), most wins (seven), most losses (nine), and most saves (51). Perez and Wilson are the only AL pitchers with a save (one) at Chase Field, while Valverde [during his days as a set-up man] is the only pitcher with any holds (nine).
Wilson has the best ERA (0.00), which was accomplished in 2.1 innings while allowing two hits. Beckett has four career starts at Chase Field, going 1-2 in those games while accumulating an AL-worst 5.16 ERA. The AL starter Jered Weaver has only one appearance, going six innings and giving up three runs (4.50 ERA) on four hits (0.182 batting average against) while picking up the win.
So, there you have it! The stats for the players in the 2011 MLB All-Star Game. Happy now?