Ballpark Effects (7/20/16)

By Mark Dankenbring
Ballpark Effects

With a little over half of the season finished, now is a good time to take a look at what ballparks have been most favorable to hitters and pitchers so far. Each ballpark has established a tendency to this point and the statistics show this. In order to see statistics on each ballpark in play every evening, our new Ballpark Effects page offers both batting and pitching statistics for the home and away team for every game. The Ballpark Effects page also offers inning by inning weather details that allow users to see whether the game will take place, because there's nothing worse than having a player in your lineup whose game gets postponed.

First let's take a look at what parks are the most and least favorable to allowing home runs on the season. Since each team has played a varying amount of home games heading into the break, let's compare home runs per game instead of the total number, as that will give us a better idea of how likely it is for a player to hit one on any given night. Now home runs aren't everything when looking at specific ballparks, but it's one of the easiest to measure and usually depicts an overall better offensive park.

Most Favorable

Great American Ball Park – Cincinnati Reds

Sitting atop all the stadiums in the league is GABP. The Reds' home field has allowed exactly three home runs per game so far this year, and the most in the league at 144 total. Part of this can be attributed to the Reds' historically bad pitching staff, but Great American has always been a hitter friendly park where the ball tends to fly in the heat of the summer.

Coors Field – Colorado Rockies

Coors Field comes in at number two in terms of home runs per game, but is number one in favorability for hitters. The thin air and spacious outfield allows for the Rockies' home field to boast the highest slugging percentage of any major league park, as it sits .060 points higher than the next closest park. Coors Field has averaged 11.5 runs/game so far this year, which is three runs above the average.

Safeco Field – Seattle Mariners

This is a surprise to me, as it sits third in the majors for home runs per game. Safeco is one of the few fields where home runs occur an above average amount and runs occur at a below average rate. Currently, hitters are 12.5% more likely to hit a home run at Safeco than at the average park, but the average runs scored is 6% lower than the league average. Overall, Safeco has allowed the second most home runs in the majors this season.

Yankee Stadium – New York Yankees

The Yankees' home field comes in at fourth on this list at 2.8 home runs per game. You'd think the short porch in right would offer a large advantage to left-handed hitters in the power department, but lefties have only hit one more home run than right handed batters at Yankee Stadium so far this season, and they have 34 more plate appearances. Overall, Yankee Stadium has proven to be equally favorable offensively to right and left handed batters.

Least Favorable

AT&T Park – San Francisco Giants

The Giants' home park comes in last in the major leagues in home runs. There have only been 63 hit so far this year in 46 games for a league worst 1.37 per game. In a stingy ballpark, it's even stingier towards left handed hitters. AT&T Park has only allowed 22 home runs to left handers all year, which is the lowest total amount in the league at any ballpark, for both right and left handed batters. The home run numbers are indicative of the offensive struggle there, as it sits sixth lowest in the majors for slugging percentage allowed.

Turner Field – Atlanta Braves

The league's worst slugging offense plays in a park that has allowed the second-fewest home runs per game in the majors this season. Not much of a surprise here, as the Braves have hit the fewest home runs as a team by a large margin. Turner Field has been especially tough on right handed hitters, as they have posted the worst slugging percentage of any group. Right handers in Atlanta have a .335 slugging percentage, almost .200 points behind right handers at Coors Field.

Marlins Park – Miami Marlins

Miami's home park seems to have contained everyone but Giancarlo Stanton this year. There have been 72 home runs hit at Marlins Park so far, averaging 1.67 per game. Marlins Park has favored left handers this season, as lefties are slugging .405 against the right handers mark of 3.61. The average distance of a home run sits at 406.7 feet, which is good for fifth longest in the league, showing the length a home run has to be hit to get out in Miami, as well as another stat to mention how strong Giancarlo is again.

PNC Park – Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates' home field rounds out the bottom four hitting parks in the majors, and makes it a perfect 4-4 for NL parks. PNC Park has allowed 83 home runs on the year, and is the final park in the majors to allow an average of fewer than two home runs per game. The above-average length to left and left-center has provided problems to right handed batters this season. In twice the amount of plate appearances, right handers have only hit 13 more home runs than lefties on the season, and are slugging more than .050 points below lefties. Our stats show that PNC Park is 20% less likely to allow a home run than the average park, as well as nearly one run fewer per game compared to the average park.

Looking at these parks and their advantages and disadvantages can take some time for the average fan and DFS player, but our Ballpark Effects page makes this all just a couple clicks away. I've only focused on the offensive side of things, but when choosing pitchers each night please take a look at what parks are most favorable, and which ones don't really provide an advantage one way or the other. Also, take into account the weather each and every night. If the wind is blowing out in Wrigley, you'll likely want to start some offensive players that specific night.