There’s No Place Like Home…Or is There?


Once viewed as the answer for a New York Mets team that was starved for offensive production, Amed Rosario is now viewed by many Mets fans (perhaps unfairly) as a guy that is one more mediocre season away from being a complete bust. The potential is there, no question about it, but 2019 needs to be a year where we consistently see Rosario performing at the level which made him baseball’s #1 overall prospect only a couple years back. The problem is in order to be consistent, he will have to learn to hit at Citi Field. Easy right? Well, one of the only things that Amed has been consistent with through his 2 year tenure has been NOT hitting at Citi…

amed_splits
As you can see from the splits above the difference in offensive performance between home and away games is drastic. Over 385 at bats on the road, Rosario is putting up numbers in line with the likes of Trea Turner,  Jean Segura, and Andrelton Simmons. At Citi Field he’s not much better than, well, he’s not better than anyone.  And what’s even more worrisome is that the gap in home and away split is getting worse.

Even during his hot second half last year, Rosario’s home performance was actually getting worse. He made up for it by mashing on the road, but why can’t we see that kind of hitting in Queens? It’s almost like his performance on the road and at home are inversely correlated. Look, I know Citi Field is not a hitters ballpark. I’m aware that Mets hitters generally have worse splits  at Home, but not to the level we observe with Rosario. The table below shows player’s On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS) home and away splits over the past two seasons. The only other player to even come close to experiencing such a significant home/away split was Asdrubal Cabrera.

all_splits

Given everyone knows that Citi is a tough place to hit, I thought maybe pitchers attack Amed differently when playing there as compared to being on the road. I analyzed the pitch location densities for all games in Rosario’s career. Home games are presented on the left and away games on the right. 

There appears to be a similar trend to attacking Amed down-and-in, but it actually seems as if pitchers are throwing the ball over the heart of the plate more at Citi, utilizing a “here it is, hit it” style of pitching. So is he getting blown away or is he generating contact and just having bad luck? The table below shows the percentage of at bats that he put the ball in play and the corresponding batting average for those at bats. 

babip

With similar numbers of balls put in play, but significant differences in batting averages for those balls put in play, it appears that Amed is either experiencing good fortune on the road or misfortune at Home. We can only hope it’s the latter. 

The Mets have started off the year with series wins in DC and Miami and are coming back to Citi for the home opener this afternoon. Amed has played well to start the season, supporting a .333 OBP and knocking in 5 RBIs; most of which in clutch fashion. As great as it’s been to see Amed continue his offensive success on the road to start the year, it would be equally disappointing to see him continue his struggles at home. He’ll get his first opportunity to flip the scipt when the Mets play their home opener against the Nats today at 1pm.

LGM.

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