Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/14/14

This morning, the Rockies traded away Jason Hammel, a starter who has posted relatively high BABIPs over most of his career. While his .280 BABIP last year doesn’t look so bad, the distribution of when those hits came (.272 BABIP with bases empty, .291 BABIP with men on, .300 with RISP) – along with the .327 overall mark he posted in the prior two seasons – led to the Rockies souring on his abilities and shifting him to the bullpen in August. Hammel was just the latest in a string of pitchers who have fallen out of favor with the Rockies due to high BABIPs, as the team traded away Ubaldo Jimenez and Felipe Paulino during stretches of allowing hits last year, and had decided not to bring back Jeff Francis last winter due to his proclivity for giving up base hits.

Eventually, though, the Rockies are going to have to realize that it’s not the pitchers, it’s the park. Here are the BABIPs for all pitchers at Coors Field for each of the last 10 years, and where that ranks relative to the other parks in that specific year.

2011 – .312 (29th)
2010 – .326 (30th)
2009 – .317 (29th)
2008 – .315 (29th)
2007 – .316 (26th)
2006 – .321 (28th)
2005 – .333 (30th)
2004 – .336 (30th)
2003 – .315 (t-30th)
2002 – .321, (30th)

While the installation of the humidor before the ’02 season has reduced the amount of balls flying over the wall, it hasn’t really done anything to change the fact that Colorado is far and away the easiest park in baseball to get a base hit. The air still helps the ball carry better than it does at sea level, and the fact that Coors Field boasts an extremely spacious outfield makes it much easier for balls to fall between defenders, who are being asked to cover a massive amount of territory. In fact, the inflation of BABIP is the defining characteristic of Coors Field, and is the primary driver of higher offensive levels in the park.

The Rockies can’t keep giving up on every pitcher they have who gives up a lot of hits. It’s just part of the atmosphere they have to deal with, and they have to adjust their expectations accordingly. Getting frustrated and dumping every pitcher who posts a high BABIP in Colorado is simply going to lead to the team getting rid of a lot of good pitchers.

With Guillermo Moscoso, Jamie Moyer, and now Jeremy Guthrie, the team has now acquired three pitchers who have lower than average career BABIPs. Clearly, the team is trying to stop giving up so many base hits, and they’ve now targeted guys who have a history of keeping guys from getting hits in other cities.

Bringing in pitchers who rely on preventing hits and asking them to overcome the altitude seems like a questionable strategy at best, though. Maybe they’ve finally figured out the type of pitcher that can overcome their home park and they’ll get the last laugh, but I’d say it’s more likely that these guys see their BABIPs rise sharply due to their new environments, and the Rockies will throw more mud at the wall next year in an attempt to see what sticks.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still: Daughter has complications with transplant

Rivers denies report of problems with CP3 and Jordan

Orlando Magic hope Skiles can right sinking ship

Falcons waive Shembo over animal cruelty charges


Report: Tom Brady’s suspension appeal hearing set for June 23

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Scout: A-Rod 'looks like he doesn't give a (expletive)'

Belichick mum on Deflategate in first remarks since discipline

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

Bucs veterans missing Jameis while he's at rookie symposium

WATCH: Josh Hamilton hits first two homers of the season

Did Andrew Bogut take a shot at Mark Jackson?

$70 million Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the NBA title, the parade will be for Oakland

SEC no longer allows transfers with 'serious misconduct' issues

Klay Thompson officially diagnosed with concussion

Snoop Dogg hooks Texas A&M up with adidas cleats

WATCH: Stephen Curry rides a mini-horse

Metta World Peace gets ejected after five fouls in one minute

On satellite camps and the SEC crying over its self-protections

Four NFL quarterbacks set to take a step back in 2015

Spelling Bee co-champ wears LeBron jersey under shirt

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still's daughter has complications with transplant

$70M Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the title, the parade will be for Oakland

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

Four QBs set to take step back in 2015

Spelling Bee co-champ wears LeBron jersey under shirt

Top 10 stories from 2015 NBA Playoffs

Rangers-Lightning Game 7 preview

The can't-miss Prince Fielder

Chip Kelly: Tebow is a quarterback

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.