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Ballpark Dimensions: AL Stadiums and Fantasy Success

No matter the location, an NFL field is 360-feet long, 160-feet wide and the end zone is 30-feet deep.

If you’re transitioning into a Fantasy Baseball player, however, you may be wondering how important the MLB ballpark dimensions play into a hitter’s success.

I was curious as well.

[Check out my introductory article to learn more about my transition from Fantasy Football into Fantasy Baseball, and for new Fantasy Baseball players, my “2015 Fantasy Baseball Resources” should help get you on the right track if you’re just starting out.]

Ballpark Dimensions and Fantasy Baseball Success

As a new Fantasy Baseball player, I wanted to get a rudimentary understanding of how much of a factor a specific stadium can play into the success of an MLB hitter.

While combing the Internet for resources on this matter, I came across ESPN’s Tristan Cockcroft’s article, “Reviewing park factors,” which was a great help in shedding some light on the subject. Cockcroft featured statistics from left, center and right field, and provided a better understanding on how much the ballpark dimensions really matter.

This information is obviously useful, but how much of a role should it play on your Draft Day? Cockcroft’s closing lines sold me on how it should be implemented.

“You need the right types of players to exploit a venue’s favorable measurements, and you should never make your Draft Day or lineup decisions based primarily upon ballpark effects; consider them ‘tiebreaker’ factors rather than decision-makers.”

Now I have an understanding that this information should help to serve as a bonus, rather than something to base an entire decision upon.

I still wanted to look at the data, and see what I would find.

American League Stadiums and Home Runs

I used the information from Hit Tracker for the figures below.

Player Home Runs Stadium’s Ranking in HR Allowed for 2014
Nelson Cruz 40 3rd-most
Chris Carter 37 4th-most
Mike Trout 36 4th-least
Jose Abreu 36 5th-most
David Ortiz 35 2nd-least
Jose Bautista 35 Most
Edwin Encarnacion 34 Most
Victor Martinez 32 7th-most
Adam Jones 29 3rd-most
Josh Donaldson 29 tied for 9th-most

What stood out to me was the fact that:

[Tweet “In 2014, 2 pairs of teammates, Bautista/Encarnacion and Cruz/Jones, were top 10 in the AL in HR.”]

For Fantasy Football players, I think you can somewhat relate this information to wide receivers playing for good teams. While not every top-10 receiver will play for a team with a winning record (see Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr.), it makes sense that a good player would be able to take advantage of a favorable stadium (compared to Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb playing for the Packers).

Of course, you have players like Mike Trout and David Ortiz who didn’t play at HR-friendly ballparks in 2014, but they still ended up as top-five home run hitters in the American League.

As Cockcroft mentioned, ball parks shouldn’t be the major factors in drafting a player, but should help to serve as additional information to reach a decision.

So with this information in mind, I hope you now have another tool in your inventory to transition into a successful Fantasy Baseball player. I will also review N.L. stadiums, just to see if I find similar results.

Photo Credit: David Gonos

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