Friday, May 13, 2011

Target Field: Where the Blue Jays Kill Baseballs

By
Image courtesy of Daylife via AP
In its short existence as a major league ballpark, Target Field has quickly garnered a reputation as a pitcher’s ballpark.

I’m not certain whether that can be attributed to the cold Minneapolis air, but something is at work in Minnesota in preventing baseballs from flying out of the park. This is, unless you’re the Toronto Blue Jays.

They wrapped up the 2010 season with a four game affair at Target Field, and the long ball was certainly on the menu that weekend. In total, the Blue Jays slugged 9 home runs in the four game series.

Target Field was the stingiest of all the ballparks in the majors in 2010 when it came to dingers, only allowing .641 home runs per game. Yet when the Blue Jays stormed into Minnesota, they hit 2.25 home runs per game.

Out of everyone on the Blue Jays roster, the two men who likely enjoyed their time the most at Target Field were Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Combining for 6 home runs total, they demolished the Twins starting pitchers and relievers.

Encarnacion hit five home runs in that series, and they were some of the most towering shots of the year at Target Field. His final home run of the season on October 3rd was the fourth furthest ball hit at Target Field, measuring 432 feet.

Jose Bautista was not too far behind, with his home run below coming in at 427 feet: the eighth furthest hit ball at Target Field in 2010. It was a mammoth shot into the third deck and gave Bautista his second grand slam of the season.

And then of course, we have Bautista’s sole opposite field shot of the season hit into the right field flower boxes at Target Field. He certainly went out with a bang, hitting his final home run of the season to the opposite field.

If there was ever a time for Edwin Encarnacion to break out, this weekend would be it. Maybe he can pick up where he left off in Minny last year, but I'm not betting on it. Heck, I've already dropped him from my fantasy team.

However, just to spite my disbelief in him, watch Encarnacion pile on the home runs this weekend. It's the Murphy's Law of fantasy baseball: the instant you give up on a player, that's when they turn on the afterburners.

Best of luck to Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and the rest of the Blue Jays hitters this weekend. May their long balls be plentiful and may their fly balls drift a few extra feet into the stands for home runs.

Home run data courtesy of Hit Tracker
Park Factors data courtesy of ESPN

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