MLB Park Factors Overview (2022 Fantasy Baseball)
As the baseball regular season draws near, it’s the perfect time to look at the most influential ballpark factors around Major League Baseball. The park factors in most of the tables below are from our MLB Park Factors landing page, using the last three full seasons’ worth of stats.
However, I used single-season park factors from Baseball Savant for two upcoming ballparks that underwent renovations before the 2020 season. In addition, another park has made changes in advance of this year that are worth discussing.
Finally, I analyze the most extreme park for scoring runs, suppressing runs, amplifying homers, and suppressing homers.
Pre-2020 Ballpark Renovations Recap
loanDepot park (Marlins)
Thankfully, next year, we'll have a three-year average for loanDepot's park factors since its renovations. Nevertheless, it's still a homer-suppressing venue that's a neutral to run-suppressing park. This is a park for streaming pitchers in and downgrading hitters for playing in.
Oracle Park (Giants)
I suspect the higher park factors runs and homers in 2020 were a product of the abbreviated season that began in the warmer months. Thus, I'm inclined to lean more heavily into the 2021 park factors for Oracle Park. Still, the 2020 numbers are worth keeping in mind during the second half of the season, namely if it appears more runs are scored and homers are slugged during the summer months.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Orioles)
The Orioles are drastically altering Oriole Park at Camden Yards before this season. Specifically, they're changing the left-field dimensions and wall size, pushing the fence back as much as 30 feet, and raising the wall's height from seven feet to roughly 12 feet.
Thankfully, Derek Carty took an analytical approach to break down the projected park-factor impact of the new dimensions in a Twitter thread.
/THREAD 🧠Everything you need to know about the #Orioles changing the fences at Camden Yards🧠
HEADLINE: These are the BIGGEST changes we've seen to a park in years and they will have a BIG impact
— Derek Carty (@DerekCarty) February 2, 2022
In summation, Carty surmises the park will go from one of the top hitter-friendly venues to a neutral park. So, use that information to your advantage in season-long drafts, early-season streaming, and DFS before everyone catches up.
Run-Amplifying Parks (5% or Greater Increase to Run Scoring)
The half-dozen ballparks on the table are the only ones that amplify runs by more than five percent. Moreover, only Kauffman Stadium, Great American Ball Park, Fenway Park, and Coors Field exceed a 10% boost to runs. Clearly, Coors Field remains the unchallenged top run-scoring venue in MLB, and it's not particularly close.
Run-Suppressing Parks (5% or Greater Reduction to Run Scoring)
According to our three-year average, eight ballparks have depressed runs by more than five percent. PETCO Park, Busch Stadium, Citi Field, Oakland Coliseum, and Tropicana Field are the most challenging parks to score runs in, knocking runs more than 10% below a neutral park. As a result, these are the best venues to stream pitchers in.
Homer-Amplifying Parks (10% or Greater Increase for Homers)
First, I advise erasing Oriole Park at Camden Yards' homer-friendly park factor from your memory. As I noted above, the park dimensions have been changed for this season, and Carty's analysis indicates it should play neutral.
Three parks carry over from the highest run-scoring parks to the most homer-friendly digs, Angel Stadium, Coors Field, and Great American Ball Park. Of course, Coors Field and Great American "Small" Park are the creams of the crop for offensive venues. Still, you shouldn't sleep on Angel Stadium.
Dodger Stadium is also an interesting inclusion on the table. While it depressing runs, it enhances homers. So, it's a challenging park for fly-ball pitches, despite being a run-suppressing venue.
Homer-Suppressing Parks (10% or Greater Reduction for Homers)
A whopping 10 parks have suppressed homers by more than 10%. Oracle Park and loanDepot park are both on the table. Nonetheless, looking at the two-year park factors from Baseball Savant above, they haven't depressed taters by as significant a rate since 2020 as they have in our three-year model. Still, they're far from optimal parks to chase dingers in.
Further, Kauffman Stadium is likely the new top dog for suppressing homers. However, like Dodger Stadium, it's a unique ballpark. Kauffman Stadium has been challenging to homer in, but it has been one of the top-scoring parks in MLB.
Chase Field is another ballpark I want to explicitly discuss. Clearly, the use of a humidor has impacted homers -- and runs, even though it's not on the lowest-scoring ballparks table.
Finally, there are four ballparks on this table and the lowest-scoring ballparks table, specifically Oracle Park, Oakland Coliseum, Busch Stadium, and Tropicana Field. Again, I suggest referencing the park factors from the previous two years for Oracle Park above. As a result, Oakland Coliseum, Busch Stadium, and Tropicana Field are left as the top pitcher-friendly venues.
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