Skip to content

Let’s not overstate the impact Yankee Stadium will have on Brian McCann

Nov 24, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

Brian McCann AP AP

As soon as the Yankees’ signing of free agent catcher Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million contract was announced, the projections started rolling in. “McCann will hit 35-40 HRs with Yankee Stadium as home ballpark,” tweeted David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Others were less bold, suggesting 35 as a ceiling for the former Brave.

It makes sense at first glance. Yankee Stadium is 314 feet down the right field line, a feature of the park that has turned a catchable deep fly ball in 29 other parks into a fourth-row dinger. According to Statcorner, Yankee Stadium allowed home runs to left-handed hitters at a rate 16 percent higher than average. It was even more garish in 2012, when Statcorner pegged Yankee Stadium at 46 percent above the league average. In 2011, it was 45 percent; 39 percent in 2010; and 14 percent in 2009. As Keith Law noted in Saturday’s column, “Sixteen of his 20 homers in 2013 were to dead right field, as were 15 of his 20 bombs in 2012.” And that was playing half his games in the comparatively much more pitcher-friendly Turner Field.

Since the new Yankee Stadium opened up in 2009, however, a Yankee has crossed the 30-homer plateau just eight times. Two were by Curtis Granderson (43, 41), three were by Mark Teixeira (39, 39, 33), one by Robinson Cano (33), and two by Alex Rodriguez (30, 30). Alfonso Soriano could also join the list if you count his 17 as a Cub and 17 as a Yankee. But with that list, you have only two natural left-handed hitters (Granderson, Cano), a switch-hitter (Teixeira), and two right-handers (Rodriguez, Soriano). About as even a split as you can get.

The lack of left-handed hitters to hit 30 or more homers hasn’t been for a lack of trying. They’ve had Hideki Matsui, Nick Swisher, Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez, and Travis Hafner, just to name a handful. Matsui hit 25 home runs as a Yankee in 2007. Swisher hit 36 as a member of the Athletics in 2006. Damon hit 24 in 2006. Ibanez hit 34 in 2009 with the Phillies. Hafner has more of an excuse as he hasn’t been a solid regular since 2007 but he hit 42 in 2006 with the Indians. If the short porch in right field is such a friend to lefties, why have only two lefties and one switch-hitter accomplished the feat in the five years of the stadium’s existence?

Let’s try some theoretical math. On FanGraphs, the Steamer projection system pegged McCann at 20 home runs prior to moving to the Bronx. If we buy that projection as realistic, and assume that 60 percent of his home runs (12) will come at home and 40 percent on the road (eight), even boosting the numbers by the highest Statcorner park factor listed above (45 percent), that would only put McCann at 25 home runs. (8 on the road + (12 home + (12 * 0.45 ))) Even if all 20 of McCann’s home runs were hit at home and we boost that by the 45 percent park factor, he only comes in at 29. It’s possible the 20-homer projection is low, but even after the most generous math, McCann still comes in under 35 home runs.

McCann solves a very obvious problem for the Yankees, and he solves it very well. His contract wasn’t outrageous, and he should be productive for them at least for the first few years of the deal. But let’s not overstate how much McCann will benefit from Yankee Stadium. It’ll help, but it won’t be his Popeye’s spinach.

Latest Posts
  1. Marlins, White Sox “have discussed” a John Danks trade

    Jul 30, 2014, 11:19 PM EDT

    john danks getty Getty Images

    From FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi comes word that the Marlins and White Sox “have discussed a possible trade” involving left-handed starter John Danks.

  2. Giants expected to release second baseman Dan Uggla

    Jul 30, 2014, 10:02 PM EDT

    uggla giants getty Getty Images

    Dan Uggla’s stay with the Giants lasted nine days. MLB.com’s Chris Haft reports that San Francisco has released the veteran second baseman, who went 0-for-11 with a walk and six strikeouts in four games after being called up from Triple-A Fresno on July 25.

  3. Video: Manny Machado makes a ridiculous throw

    Jul 30, 2014, 9:15 PM EDT

    manny machado getty Getty Images

    Albert Pujols can barely move these days and for some reason went with a pop-up slide into first base, but this throw on Wednesday night from Manny Machado was still fantastic …

  4. Rangers’ retirement gifts for Derek Jeter: Yankees cowboy boots, signed George W. Bush photo

    Jul 30, 2014, 8:22 PM EDT

    jeter getty Getty Images

    Derek Jeter’s farewell tour continued Wednesday night at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas with another set of retirement gifts.

  5. Blue Jays considering Asdrubal Cabrera for second base

    Jul 30, 2014, 7:37 PM EDT

    asdrubal cabrera getty Getty Images

    CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Blue Jays are targeting Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera — who is known to be available — and would ask him to play second base.

  6. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says he was never close to trading outfielder Oscar Taveras

    Jul 30, 2014, 6:49 PM EDT

    oscar taveras getty Getty Images

    Oscar Taveras has been mentioned as a possible centerpiece in trade talks this week for top-tier starting pitchers like David Price and Jon Lester, but if Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak is to be believed that was all speculation from the outside.

  7. Astros “looking to move” slugger Chris Carter

    Jul 30, 2014, 6:13 PM EDT

    chris carter getty Getty Images

    The 44-64 Astros could jump into this seller-friendly market before Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Houston is “looking to move” first baseman and designated hitter Chris Carter.

  8. Matt Harvey cleared to throw from a mound

    Jul 30, 2014, 5:06 PM EDT

    matt harvey getty Getty Images

    Now that it’s clear he can’t ramp up for 2014, the Mets have cleared Matt Harvey to throw.

  9. Nate Jones undergoes Tommy John surgery

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT

    nate jones getty Getty Images

    White Sox reliever Nate Jones has been on the disabled list with a back injury since the first week of the season, but now he’s got an even bigger problem.

  10. The Mariners are out on Marlon Byrd

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    Marlon Byrd Marlon Byrd

    It’s been a rumor for a good while, but now it’s going where rumors go when they die.

  11. There are reports that Jon Lester is going to the Orioles. And reports that that’s utter baloney

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Jon Lester

    The very essence of the trade deadline just played out on Twitter

  12. Eric Chavez announces retirement

    Jul 30, 2014, 3:51 PM EDT

    Eric Chavez

    Injuries derailed what was a very promising career for Chavez while with the A’s, but he bounced back and got healthy enough to thrive in part-time roles for the Yankees and Diamondbacks.

  13. Cubs acquire Felix Doubront from Red Sox

    Jul 30, 2014, 3:32 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Dodgers v Boston Red Sox Getty Images

    Felix Doubront made it clear that he wanted the Red Sox to either put him back into the starting rotation or trade him, and then he went out and had a terrible relief appearance that many took to mean he was trying to push a trade.

  14. UPDATE: OK, maybe the Marlins aren’t going to trade for John Lackey.

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT

    lackey getty Getty Images

    A few minutes ago we thought this man could soon be a Fish. Now it seems unlikely. HAPPY TRADE DEADLINE!

  15. Josh Zeid needs season-ending foot surgery

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

    Josh Zeid Astros AP

    Zeid pitched well for the Astros as a 26-year-old rookie last season, but struggled mightily this season with a 6.97 ERA in 23 appearances.

  16. The Dodgers are out on Lester, Price and Hamels

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT

    dodgers logo

    They’ve been rumored to be in on all the big names, but now it sounds as if they’re out.

  17. Cardinals acquire Justin Masterson from Indians

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT

    justin masterson getty Getty Images

    Cleveland turned down Justin Masterson’s attempted contract extension offer back in spring training–balking at what seemed to be reasonable terms at the time–and now the Indians are trading the impending free agent to the Cardinals, according to Peter Gammons of MLB.com.

  18. HBT Daily: Trade Rumor Roundup: Kemp! Hamels! Price!

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    HBT Daily Logo

    And no mention of Lester because I legit thought he’d get traded in between the time we taped this and the time it went live.

  19. Dylan Bundy is struggling in his comeback from Tommy John surgery

    Jul 30, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

    Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

    Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy would probably already be in the majors to stay if not for blowing out his elbow last season, but now the former No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball is struggling while rehabbing in the minors.

  20. The Dodgers are interested in Joaquin Benoit

    Jul 30, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Joaquin Benoit

    But the Padres may be playing hard to get.

Featured video

All the trade deadline news to know
Top 10 MLB Player Searches