The Winston-Salem Dash have been the hottest team in the White Sox organization and one of the hottest in all of the minors. The reason, for the most part, is their incredible offense. Dash hitters have the top five spots in batting average among Sox minor leaguers. They also moved to new BB&T Ballpark this year. Is the park a hitter’s haven or are these hitters just that good?
BB&T Ballpark is 323′ down the rightfield line, 315′ in left and 399′ in center. The rightfield corner has a tiny wall that Alex Vispoli told us would lead to some cheap home runs while centerfield has an about 25 foot batters’ eye wall. Dimensions and quirks like that should lead to a hitters’ park and the numbers tend to agree…
Below is a table breaking down the home and away splits for the seven regular Dash hitters entering Wednesday’s action. If you’re not familiar with ISO, here is a good explanation. The players are sorted by the difference between their home and away OPS. A negative OPS difference means the player has a higher OPS on the road.
|Name||Home Avg.||Home ISO||Away Avg.||Away ISO||OPS difference|
It’s clear that most of these players are killing the ball at home and are mediocre on the road. Greene, Garcia and Lewis all have big to massive jumps in both their batting averages and power numbers when playing at home. Gilmore doesn’t hit for power anywhere, but his average is more than 100 points higher at home.
Loman, the only true lefty of the group (Escobar and Garcia are switch hitters), actually hits for more power on the road, but has a much higher average at home. Escobar hits much better as a lefty so he is closer to Loman than Garcia who has mostly even lefty-righty splits. Escobar has hit much better when he is away from BB&T. Given the numbers of Escobar and Loman, you can see that BB&T plays great for righties, but lefties don’t have much of an edge if at all (other lefties on the roster, Jordan Cheatham and Luis Sierra, have mostly even splits in less playing time).
At least Brandon Short‘s spectacular season isn’t fueled by home field advantage. He’s raking wherever he is.
To me, it’s pretty clear that BB&T is a haven for righties. For now it appears it’s a lot closer to neutral for left-handed batters. 323′ with a short wall in right is nice for a lefty, but 315′ in left is a thing of beauty for a right-hander. Going forward we will have to be wary about right-handed batters going nuts in Winston-Salem because this park is built for them.