As you build your Fantasy team, it helps to fully understand and quantify external influences that could impact your players. One of these influences is known as park factors. This is determined by looking at the ratio of total runs scored (for and against) at home against total runs scored (for and against) on the road for each club. Any statistic can be analyzed this way, with runs and home runs being the most interesting. This ratio gives us an idea of how hitter-friendly or pitcher-friendly a certain ballpark is versus the league average.
With most statistical data, using a larger sample size gives a more complete picture than smaller one. This is why it is better to use a recent three-year average instead of just a single year sample. Any specific year may have experienced a heat wave or prolonged windy conditions in a certain part of the continent that may have an abnormally large impact on the data. By using a larger sample size, at the very least we can minimize these short-term shocks.
You need to make sure you do not just blindly look at park factor rankings. Magnitude is also extremely important. For example, Coors Field has a runs ratio that is greater than the second ranked stadium, Fenway Park, by an amount larger than the difference between Fenway Park and the last place ranked stadium, Dodger Stadium. At some point, stadiums with minimal differences can all be grouped into the same tier.
Understanding park factors can be helpful in a variety of ways. It is valuable to recognize any differences in a new home park for players (both pitchers and hitters) that are changing teams. Park factors are also a useful input into the decision making process regarding start/sit questions for your fringe pitchers that are not auto starts.
Let’s now find out which ballparks will have the greatest impact in terms of impacting scoring and home runs in 2017.
2017 Fantasy Baseball Park Factors
|Coors Field (Denver, Colorado)||1.44||Yankee Stadium (New York, New York)||1.37|
|Fenway Park (Boston, Massachusetts)||1.15||Coors Field (Denver, Colorado)||1.29|
|Chase Field (Phoenix, Arizona)||1.15||Miller Park (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)||1.23|
|Progressive Field (Cleveland, Ohio)||1.14||Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati, Ohio)||1.20|
|Globe Life Park in Arlington (Arlington, Texas)||1.12||Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)||1.17|
|Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri)||1.07||Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore, Maryland)||1.12|
|Target Field (Minneapolis, Minnesota)||1.05||Chase Field (Phoenix, Arizona)||1.11|
|Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore, Maryland)||1.04||Rogers Centre (Toronto, Ontario)||1.11|
|Rogers Centre (Toronto, Ontario)||1.03||Guaranteed Rate Field (Chicago, Illinois)||1.09|
|Miller Park (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)||1.03||Progressive Field (Cleveland, Ohio)||1.08|
|Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati, Ohio)||1.02||Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles, California)||1.05|
|Nationals Park (Washington, D.C.)||1.01||Safeco Field (Seattle, Washington)||1.04|
|Yankee Stadium (New York, New York)||1.00||Minute Maid Park (Houston, Texas)||1.03|
|Busch Stadium (St. Louis, Missouri)||0.98||Target Field (Minneapolis, Minnesota)||1.03|
|Turner Field (Atlanta, Georgia)||0.98||Globe Life Park in Arlington (Arlington, Texas)||1.03|
|Comerica Park (Detroit, Michigan)||0.97||Citi Field (New York, New York)||1.01|
|PNC Park (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)||0.97||Wrigley Field (Chicago, Illinois)||1.01|
|Guaranteed Rate Field (Chicago, Illinois)||0.96||Comerica Park (Detroit, Michigan)||0.98|
|Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg, Florida)||0.94||Petco Park (San Diego, California)||0.95|
|Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)||0.94||Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Anaheim, California)||0.94|
|Marlins Park (Miami, Florida)||0.93||Fenway Park (Boston, Massachusetts)||0.92|
|Oakland Coliseum (Oakland, California)||0.93||Nationals Park (Washington, D.C.)||0.92|
|AT&T Park (San Francisco, California)||0.93||Busch Stadium (St. Louis, Missouri)||0.91|
|Petco Park (San Diego, California)||0.92||Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg, Florida)||0.88|
|Wrigley Field (Chicago, Illinois)||0.92||Turner Field (Atlanta, Georgia)||0.87|
|Minute Maid Park (Houston, Texas)||0.92||PNC Park (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)||0.86|
|Citi Field (New York, New York)||0.90||Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri)||0.81|
|Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Anaheim, California)||0.90||Oakland Coliseum (Oakland, California)||0.80|
|Safeco Field (Seattle, Washington)||0.88||Marlins Park (Miami, Florida)||0.77|
|Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles, California)||0.88||AT&T Park (San Francisco, California)||0.66|
The data on the left side shows the park factors for runs scored, while the data on the right side shows the park factors for home runs. All of the data consists of the average over the past three seasons.
When you look at the charts you can see that some ballparks are clearly hitter-friendly parks, some are obviously pitcher-friendly parks, and the majority of parks lie somewhere in between. Six ballparks fall into the Top 10 in terms of both runs and home runs. We will classify these parks as hitter-friendly. They are the home of the Rockies, Diamondbacks, Indians, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Brewers. Only three parks placed in the bottom 10 of both lists. The pitcher-friendly parks are the home of the Marlins, Athletics, and Giants.
The hitter’s haven in the Mile High City easily placed first in scoring with second place so far behind you can barely see it in the rear view mirror. A little surprising is that Coors only managed a silver medal when it comes to being a home run friendly park, placing second to Yankee Stadium.
The impact of Coors Field is so great that it has a profound impact on players coming to and leaving Colorado. The result is commonly large home/road splits for both pitchers and hitters. Understanding those splits is a good way to forecast a leaving player’s production in their new, non-thin air environment. Part of the reason why some are quite high on Jon Gray’s 2017 Fantasy fortunes is due to the fact that in 2016 he posted a materially better ERA, WHIP, and FIP at home than on the road.
Marine Layer out West
Thanks to the Pacific Ocean, the marine layer out West has a material impact on scoring for all of the coastal teams. It should then not come as a huge surprise that the home of the Mariners, Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Athletics, and Giants all placed within the bottom 10 when it comes to scoring friendly parks. However, the impact seems to be partially limited to scoring and not necessarily to home runs as only the Athletics and Giants placed within the bottom 10 when it comes to homer friendly parks.
Pitchers must love the Bay Area. In fact, both the Mariners and Dodgers placed higher than the league average when it comes to home run friendly parks.
New Stadium in Atlanta
The Braves will have a new home in 2017, Sun Trust Park. It is yet to be seen if there will be a huge change when compared to Turner Field, but at first glance the impact looks like it will be minimal. Turner Field definitely fell on the pitcher-friendly side of the fence, especially with respect to home runs. The main difference is the SunTrust Park fence in right center field will be 15 feet farther from home plate, but the fence will now be 16 feet high compared to just an eight foot fence at Turner Field.
Park factors should be used as a data point in your spring Fantasy Baseball preparation. It is also helpful to have in the back of your mind throughout the season as you have to make streaming and start/sit choices for both hitters and pitchers.
Home run friendly parks should impact fly ball hitters and pitchers the most, while statistics such as ERA, runs, and RBIs will be affected more by the runs park factors. It should not be understated that magnitude plays a role here. For example, despite being ranked eight spots apart, Tropicana Field and Minute Maid Park are essentially equal when it comes to the run scoring park factor.
Make sure you stay glued to SCFE as we will continue to get you ready for the upcoming baseball season.
Data courtesy of www.espn.com
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