The New Mike Cameron

I'm not talking about some up-and-coming hotshot CF with good power and a fresh glove. I'm talking about a solid all-around player who's currently getting the royal screwjob from his home park. Between 2000-2003, Mike Cameron put up a .701 OPS in Seattle and an .884 OPS on the road. The deep left-center power alley absolutely slaughtered his offensive skillset, leaving him as a problem bat for 81 games a year. His struggles were very well publicized, and you couldn't help but get the feeling that Safeco got into his head.

Cammy moved on in December '03. Enter Khalilbot.

This is my Petco sad face.

2004-2007, home: 1093 plate appearances, .230/.292/.377, 0.72 GB/FB, 7.6% HR/FB, 17.7% LD, .272 BABIP

This is my not-Petco happy face.

2004-2007, road: 1126 plate appearances, .280/.334/.511, 0.80 GB/FB, 12.4% HR/FB, 20.7% LD, .305 BABIP

We're not dealing with small samples, here. You've got basically two full seasons' worth of data for each split, and the data's showing that Khalil loses a staggering 21% of his OPS when he's playing at home. This isn't a case of a park making a great hitter seem good, or a decent hitter seem bad; this is a park making a good hitter seem awful. That's...that's extreme is what that is, and it's the exact same thing that happened to Cammy (who also happened to lose 21% of his OPS in Seattle).

What's going on? Well, Petco might be the most pitcher-friendly ballpark in baseball, armed with a huge outfield and power alleys of doom. It reduces almost everything imaginable, including groundballs and line drives. It is not a good location for a dead-pull righty hitter like Khalil to put up big numbers.

That explains a chunk of it. But it doesn't explain all of it. None of Khalil's teammates have been ruined nearly as much. It's tough for everyone, but Khalil's the only guy that it out-and-out murders.

That's stupid. I don't know why Khalil's so much worse off than anyone else, but he is, and the evidence is right there. It's a shame, too, because he's a good defensive shortstop, and if the Padres played in a friendlier ballpark he'd probably get the same kind of fringey MVP consideration as Shannon Stewart a few years back. And we all know that in a competition that close, Khalil could win with his personality.

Khalil Greene is a better player than Mike Young, and it's criminally unjust that Young's locked up to an $80m/5yr extension while Greene will have to make do with something far less substantial. Could someone please remind me why baseball continues to tolerate extreme ballparks? Because I don't get it.

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