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. The Reds have shut Homer Bailey down for the season

    Sep 1, 2014, 10:09 PM EDT

    Homer Bailey AP

    Bailey is currently deciding whether to undergo surgery for a flexor mass strain in his right elbow.

  2. Jorge Soler is third player in last 100 years with an extra-base hit in each of his first five games

    Sep 1, 2014, 9:11 PM EDT

    b3485beda422372e2c2a29a4fc91a053 Getty Images

    Enos Slaughter (1933) and Will Middlebrooks (2012) are the only others.

  3. VIDEO: Adam Dunn homers in first at-bat with Athletics

    Sep 1, 2014, 8:12 PM EDT

    Adam Dunn Getty Getty Images

    Acquired from the White Sox on Sunday, Adam Dunn made an instant impact in his A’s debut this afternoon.

  4. Phillies call up top prospect Maikel Franco from Triple-A

    Sep 1, 2014, 7:21 PM EDT

    Maikel Franco Getty Getty Images

    Franco got off to a slow start this season, but he has been on a tear in Triple-A since the start of July.

  5. The Cardinals have moved ahead of the Brewers for first place in the National League Central

    Sep 1, 2014, 6:31 PM EDT

    683a4a3efa2ddee3b986dcc9c8b0849c AP

    The Brewers have had at least a share of first place since April 4.

  6. The Dodgers call up Joc Pederson

    Sep 1, 2014, 5:15 PM EDT

    SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game - World Team v United States Getty Images

    The Pacific Coast League MVP is on his way to L.A.

  7. No-hitter! Four Phillies pitchers combine to blank the Braves

    Sep 1, 2014, 4:21 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 3.46.22 PM Getty Images

    Four pitchers, led by Cole Hamels, who handled six innings of it, combined to no-hit the Atlanta Braves.

  8. Henderson Alvarez leaves start with a strained oblique

    Sep 1, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 2.30.12 PM AP

    As the Marlins’ playoff chances fade.

  9. Jesus Montero suspended for the rest of the season due to the ice cream sandwich affair

    Sep 1, 2014, 1:44 PM EDT

    Jesus Montero Getty Getty Images

    He was already unofficially shut down. Now it’s all official-like.

  10. Bo Porter fired by the Astros

    Sep 1, 2014, 12:38 PM EDT

    Bo Porter AP

    Reports of strife between Porter and the front office were apparently right on the nose.

  11. The Brewers activate Matt Garza

    Sep 1, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

    Matt Garza Matt Garza

    The Brewers are tied for first place and need a boost.

  12. Ned Yost says his players tried too hard in front of large crowds

    Sep 1, 2014, 10:17 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 8.14.33 AM AP

    Maybe Yost should just tell Royals fans the exact number of people he needs in the seats for his team to play at its best.

  13. Video: Bob Melvin calls the Athletics’ play “Embarrassing. Pathetic.”

    Sep 1, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Bob Melvin Getty Images

    The A’s were, quite recently, the best team in baseball. Now they’re five back of the Angels.

  14. Wanna buy Ernie Harwell’s house?

    Sep 1, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

    Harwell House

    Well, it’s not his (or his estate’s) house anymore. Likely wasn’t for decades. But if someone wants Jon Voight’s LeBaron, someone will probably buy this, right?

  15. Settling the Score: Sunday’s results — and a reminder of what Labor Day is all about

    Sep 1, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    Labor

    And part of the reason for this reminder is that, while Major League Baseball sees fit to commemorate most other holidays that occur during the baseball season, it has always given Labor Day short shrift.

  16. Blue Jays acquire John Mayberry, Jr. from the Phillies

    Aug 31, 2014, 11:35 PM EDT

    John Mayberry Jr. John Mayberry Jr.

    The Blue Jays added an outfield bench bat, picking up John Mayberry, Jr. from the Phillies on Sunday.

  17. The Brewers made a run at David Price in July

    Aug 31, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

    David Price David Price

    The Brewers tried but ultimately failed to acquire David Price from the Rays in July because they refused to part with pitcher Jimmy Nelson.

  18. Bryce Harper logs his first multi-homer game of 2014

    Aug 31, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

    Bryce Harper Bryce Harper

    Bryce Harper entered August with numbers far below expectations. He’ll enter September with much better-looking stats thanks to a decent showing in August, including a spectacular finish on Sunday.

Featured video

Who are the favorites for Rookie of the Year?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Soler (4173)
  2. R. Castillo (3097)
  3. Y. Molina (3034)
  4. A. Rizzo (2535)
  5. M. Cabrera (2406)
  1. J. Ellsbury (2405)
  2. B. Posey (2371)
  3. A. Dunn (2350)
  4. D. Pedroia (2227)
  5. M. Wacha (2210)