What was speculated for several years finally was made official this week when the Arizona Diamondbacks announced through their general manager that the Major League Baseball club would store baseballs in a humidor prior to using them at Chase Field for this year’s upcoming season.
Science can be complicated, but simply put humidors will absorb the moisture and make a baseball heavier when it comes to bounce. That is, they are not likely to be hit as hard. A humidor’s use at another ball park shows the impact it has on offense.
In MLB today Coors Field is the best park for hitters, but that was even more evident prior to the 2002 season, when the Colorado Rockies first introduced the use of a humidor.
For example, during the 1999 season 1,198 runs were scored at the field during the 162-game schedule and the most hit in any other ball park that same season were 963. In 2000, the home ball park for the Colorado Rockies led the majors in runs scored with 1,164, while at the time Enron Field came in second at 1,005.
In 2001, 1,085 runs were scored at Coors Field and the next highest was in Arlington, Texas home of the Texas Rangers with 939. The differences are quite impressive.
Coors Fields remained the No. 1 run scoring park in 2002 despite using the humidor but dropped to just 989 runs scored while Arlington’s park came in second at 957.
Runs dropped each year thereafter and even fell below 900 in 2005.
The comparing of the numbers before and after the use of the humidor shows that Coors Field changed from being almost laughable related to the number of runs scored to the league’s best hitter’s park.
Chase Field in Arizona is considered a hitter friendly park but does not compare at all to Coors Field. Last season it was eighth in MLB in runs scored and was ranked 11th for home runs hit during the season.
With Chase Field not even remotely close to Coors Field as it pertains to runs scored or home runs hit, it would be reasonable to think the use of the humidor would turn the filed into a pitcher-friendly one.
One estimate says that the use of a humidor at Chase Field could reduce the number of home runs hit by between 25% and 50%.
Last season Arizona hit 122 home runs at Chase Field and batted a collective .274. On the road, the Diamondbacks hit 98 home runs and batted .235. While all teams tend to hit better at home, these differences are large.
Pitchers for Arizona gave up 93 home runs at home and only 78 on the road, while their combined ERAs were 3.79 at home and 3.55 on the road.