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MLB Park Factors Overview (2020 Fantasy Baseball)

MLB Park Factors Overview (2020 Fantasy Baseball)

One aspect of baseball that’s unique relative to other sports is the lack of common dimensions between ballparks. The differences in ballparks dimensions impacts how the park plays, but other factors such as temperature for the location of the ballpark — for stadiums that don’t have a roof, anyway –, proximity to bodies of water, and height above sea level can all impact the way a park plays. The result is some ballparks that play neutral, but many others that either favor pitchers or hitters. Additionally, some ballparks are easier to hit homers in than others.

Our MLB Park Factors page showcases park factors for runs, homers, singles, doubles, and triples using a three-year average. You can also toggle between how the ballpark plays overall as well as splits for left-handed and right-handed hitters. Below, I highlight a new ballpark in which we don’t have park factors for yet, a pair of ballparks that are undergoing dimension changes prior to the 2020 season, and some of the noteworthy hitter-friendly, pitcher-friendly, homer-friendly, and homer-suppressing parks.

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New Ballpark

Globe Life Field (Rangers)
One of the most offense-enhancing parks will no longer be hosting MLB games with the Rangers moving out of Globe Life Park in Arlington to their new home, Globe Life Field. Evan Grant of Dallas News wrote about the new park back in early December. Until games are actually played there, we won’t know exactly how the park will play, but the Rangers executive vice president for business operations was quoted in Grant’s piece as saying, “We think the park is going to play fair.” The park will have a retractable roof, so it’s possible if not probable the park will play differently depending on if it’s open or closed. What’s certain, however, is that fans won’t be subjected to some of the blisteringly hot conditions that helped the ball carry farther in the Rangers’ previous home. Simply put, during the hottest of summer days the roof can be expected to be closed in order to regulate the temperature and make it comfortable for fans to watch a game in. Until we have data from games, treating Globe Life Field as a neutral venue is probably the wisest move.

Ballpark Renovations

Marlins Park (Marlins)
Marlins Park appears in a couple of the tables below, but I won’t be addressing them in those sections because MLB’s second-most difficult park to score runs in and hit homers in is undergoing changes. Zach Spedden of Ballpark Digest wrote about the Marlins going from grass to synthetic turf this year as well as changes to the outfield fences and dimensions. Wells Dusenbury of the South Florida Sun Sentinel also wrote about the changes to Marlins Park and specifically noted the distance changes and height changes to the outfield walls. With the fences being moved in and the height reduced in certain areas of the outfield walls, the park will almost certainly reduce homers less than it has traditionally. Marlins Park might also reduce run-scoring less than it has in the past, too. Daily gamers should file these changes away in their memory banks and consider the potential for more offense being produced at Marlins Park. Additionally, gamers in season-long leagues might want to penalize hitters less at draft time while no longer bumping Miami’s pitchers up thanks to their home digs as one usually would.

Oracle Park (Giants)
Only one park has suppressed runs and homers more than Marlins Park, and that’s Oracle Park in San Francisco. It, too, is undergoing changes to the dimensions that should impact the way the park plays. The Giants are relocating their bullpens from foul territory to behind the center-field wall. Thomas Harrigan of wrote about the move of the bullpens and what that will mean for the dimensions in left-center field, center field, and right-center field. Kevin Reichard of Ballpark Digest also wrote about the changes, and he conveniently provided a section comparing the old dimensions to the forthcoming new dimensions of the outfield. One shouldn’t expect the toughest park in MLB to score runs and hit homer in to suddenly become a launching pad, but it’ll almost certainly play more hitter-friendly than previously. Having said that, climbing from the basement to even slightly pitcher-friendly and homer suppressing would make for a drastic change. Approach Oracle Park, Giants players, and visitors much the same way I suggested doing with Miami’s players and visitors to Marlins Park in the section above.

Run-amplifying Parks (5% or greater boost for run-scoring)

Park (Team) Park Factor (1.000 neutral)
Coors Field (Rockies) 1.348
Nationals Park (Nationals) 1.096
Comerica Park (Tigers) 1.085
Chase Field (Diamondbacks) 1.082
Great American Ball Park (Reds) 1.059
Fenway Park (Red Sox) 1.057
Citizens Bank Park (Phillies) 1.055

No surprise, Coors Field is far and away the leader in increasing run-scoring among MLB ballparks. What is somewhat surprising is it’s the only park that boosts run-scoring by more than 10%. In fact, it smashes that threshold to tiny pieces bumping scoring by 34.8% from a neutral run-scoring environment. Nationals Park is a distant second bumping scoring by 9.6%. Comerica Park and Chase Field — even with the humidor scaling scoring back a bit — are the only other parks boosting scoring by more than 8%.

Run-suppressing Parks (5% or greater reduction to run-scoring)

Park (Team) Park Factor (1.000 neutral)
Oracle Park (Giants) 0.878
Marlins Park (Marlins) 0.896
PETCO Park (Padres) 0.900
Busch Stadium (Cardinals) 0.911
Tropicana Field (Rays) 0.916
T-Mobile Park (Mariners) 0.926
PNC Park (Pirates) 0.948

The two toughest venues to score in are undergoing park changes that were discussed above. That leaves PETCO Park as the third-toughest venue to score in, and it suppresses scoring by 10%. Tropicana Field, T-Mobile Park, and PNC Park round out the other parks that depress scoring by more than 5%.

Homer-amplifying Parks (10% or greater boost for homers)

Park (Team) Park Factor (1.000 neutral)
Citizens Bank Park (Phillies) 1.252
Coors Field (Rockies) 1.251
Oriole Park at Camden Yard (Orioles) 1.223
Great American Ball Park (Reds) 1.186
Nationals Park (Nationals) 1.158
Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox) 1.136
Minute Maid Park (Astros) 1.113
Rogers Centre (Blue Jays) 1.113

In addition to being the most hitter-friendly park in MLB, Coors Field is the third-most homer-friendly. Coors Field also leads the way in left-handed batter park factor for homers at 1.312, followed by Progressive Field (Indians) at 1.262, Oriole Park at Camden Yards at 1.222, Citizens Bank Park at 1.184, and Rogers Centre rounding out the top five at 1.163.

The leader in overall park factor for homers, Citizens Bank Park, also leads the way in right-handed batter park factor for homers at 1.261. The top-five parks for right-handed park factor for homers, like the left-handed counterparts, is loaded with venues appearing in the table above. Oriole Park in Camden Yards (1.253), Coors Field (1.233), Nationals Park (1.171), and Great American Ball Park (1.162) rank second through fifth in right-handed batter park factor for homers.

Homer-suppressing Parks (10% or greater reduction for homers)

Park (Team) Park Factor (1.000 neutral)
Oracle Park (Giants) 0.683
Marlins Park (Marlins) 0.779
Kauffman Stadium (Royals) 0.808
Busch Stadium (Cardinals) 0.849
PETCO Park (Padres) 0.864
PNC Park (Pirates) 0.873
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (A’s) 0.888
Fenway Park (Red Sox) 0.893
Tropicana Field (Rays) 0.896

Oracle Park and Marlins Park were the only two venues to depress homers by more than 20%, but that’s likely to be changing with the aforementioned renovations. Kauffman Stadium is the next toughest park to hit homers in, and it holds a sizable gap over Busch Stadium, suppressing homers by 4.1% more than the home of the Red Birds. Things get a bit more tightly congested in homer suppression by the remaining teams in the table.

Interestingly, all six ballparks in this table depress homers to left-handed batters. They also represent nine of the ten parks that depress homers for left-handed batters. T-Mobile Park (Mariners) is the only other park that suppresses homers for lefties with a left-handed batter park factor for homers of 0.934.

All of these parks also reduce dingers compared to a neutral venue for right-handed batters, too. There are four other parks that depress right-handed homers. SunTrust Park (Braves) has a right-handed park factor for homers of 0.917, T-Mobile Park’s is 0.962, Target Field’s (Twins) is 0.964, and Angel Stadium of Anaheim’s (Angels) is 0.974.

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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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