Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ballpark doesn’t actually play like a minor league field

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds are giving up and hitting home runs at an historical rate.

The Cincinnati Reds just set a new record for home runs allowed in a season.  Their top three starting pitchers are all among the leaders in home runs allowed in the second half of the season.  It turns out that GABP is a great place for sluggers.

Before we start to act like GABP is the same as Coors Field, we can all acknowledge the reason that GABP plays like a home run hitter’s haven.  The Cincinnati Reds have a staff of flyball pitchers.

This isn’t debatable.  No one in the National League gets more air outs than Dan Straily.  Our favorite whipping boy, Brandon Finnegan, is 8th in the league in air outs.  Anthony DeSclafani is in the top fifty even though he’s only pitched for half of the season.

The same is true of the other side of ball.  Adam Duvall is fourth in the league in ground out to air out ratio.  Another Red, Zack Cozart, is 11th in the ratio.  The Reds have two of the most heavily focused air out hitters in the NL.  It shouldn’t shock anyone that Eugenio Suarez and former Red Jay Bruce also sit on the leader board.  The Reds had four every day players that hit the ball into the air.

It should come as no surprise that Ross Ohlendorf is 7th in air outs among all relievers in the NL.  He has given up a disproportionate amount of home runs, while having an overall decent season.  Tony Cingrani, Josh Smith, Blake Wood, and Raisel Iglesias are all in the top 50 too.  That’s twice as many as average.  So the Reds have flyball pitchers in a park made for home runs.

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Louisville sees fewer home runs leave its ballpark.

What’s interesting is that Louisville, the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate has almost the exact same dimensions, but not the same problem.  The Reds’ farm team gave up fewer than Charlotte and that’s not even counting the Pacific Coast League.

There is something else that is going on to make GABP play so small.  Opposition has really been squaring up nicely on the ball this season.  The Reds are in the top half of the league in strikeouts, but also surrender the second most hits in the league.

Next: Homer Bailey needs one more start

With similar dimensions, the Louisville Bats are not hitting or allowing home runs at an epic rate.  In fact, even with Scott Schebler there most of the year, they were last in home runs.  Maybe they just need to hit the ball in the air a little bit more.