Fantasy Baseball has come a long way since the seventies. Long gone are the days where we would simply judge a yearly projection based on a single stat line found in a periodical, or on the back of a bubble gum card.
It’s a joke guys; admittedly a bad one.
Today we have all sorts of previews, projections, metrics, and more numbers and acronyms that even a can of Alphabets soup couldn’t compete with.
One of those tricky areas is the elusive Park Factor.
To make this quick and not digress too much, it’s very simple: Parks are either considered hitter friendly (above 1.000) or pitcher friendly (below 1.000). Now there used to be a time where the trend remained solid; constant and never changing.
But not anymore, which is where Citizen’s Bank Park sort of rests.
Before I continue, this is just one park I decided to discuss. For a more comprehensive list of ALL the parks and where they fell in 2012, click here.
Citizens’ Bank Park has always been highly regarded as a “hitter friendly” park, but through the past couple of years, the park has swayed towards a more neutral park.
Citizen's Bank Park multi-year factor is 102 for hitting and 101 for pitching.
Some will argue that this is due to an increase in pitching talent over the past three years, while others will argue that it is due to a significant drop in left-handed batter production—either way, it's become neutral for several reasons which is all you need to know.
But how hitter friendly Citizens Bank Park will be THIS year is left to be seen.
Sure, players like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are sure to provide the consistent fantasy baseball output owners have come to enjoy (no doubt about it) and to be honest, the majority of that roster should be well worth fantasy baseball draft considerations but what about the other batters that visit Philadelphia and that powerful four headed pitching monster they got?
That’s the real trick and the moral of the story.
I’ve seen a lot of owners start specific players simply because the park they are hitting in favors their apparent skill set. But you must always remember to factor in just who is on the mound, and how many days that particular hitter will be affected.
Think of it this way: If right pulling, power slugger Adam Dunn comes to town you might want to consider starting someone else if you know he will face the top of the Phillies order, despite being in a hitter friendly park. Why?
Dunn strikes out at an alarming rate, while the Phillies pitchers have a knack for throwing strikes. Dunn is a lifetime .226 hitter with just 10 homeruns and 40 strikouts in 146 plate appearences at CBP—his career stats don't get much better against Philly overall either.
This points to a three day set that probably won't offer fantasy owners of Adam Dunn anything other than a headache—the risk factor is just too high and favors the pitching even though the hitter is in a hitter-friendly environment.
Seems like no-brainer information, but there are plenty of newbies in fantasy baseball each and every year who don't even think to take this info into consideration, so this information is most valuable to them.
In the end, don’t just look at the current Park Factor rating found on the web, which will only tell you part of the story. Look at the park trend over the past two or three years, and how that could affect who you want on your team this year.
Then pay strict attention to who will be pitching in the early goings, and voila! You’ll have a very slight edge over your competition that otherwise seems not worth mentioning.
Let’s take a player by player look (the primaries) at who is favored at home and who’s not. Any player listed as 'even' simply means the stats are so close it’s like splitting hairs, ergo, there is no player devalue to worry about.
|1B Ryan Howard – EVEN: Really splitting hairs here, although he has stolen more bases at home than on the road.|
|2B Chase Utley – HOME: Not even close, Utley basically flirts with a 3-1 ratio in nearly all stats when in his own backyard.|
|3B Michael Young – HOME: Much better at Arlington (home) than on the road as to be expected. Career .304 hitter at CBP as a Ranger. Things that make you go hmmm.|
|SS Jimmy Rollins – HOME: J-Roll is a home-body for sure, but keep in mind that he is declining in his play, and does not warrant the high draft pick he once did. He is still a threat on the bases and as a hitter, just not as much as in his prime.|
|LF Domonic Brown – AWAY: Better on the road although he’ll have to improve as a hitter period to have any real value.|
|RF Jon Mayberry – HOME: Mayberry has been marginally better at home than on the road. He strikes out less, and walks more.|
|CF Ben Revere – EVEN: As a Twin, Revere’s average was better at home, but realistically, he hit pretty even across the board at home as well as on the road.|
|C Carlos Ruiz – HOME: Again, far better at home than on the road.|
Again. There are plenty of fantasy baseball participants who already know this information and use it to their advantage—they are not my tartget audience today. I am proffering this advice to those of you who are just starting out on the wonderful journey known as Fantasy Baseball. The more you know in this world of fantasy sports, the better you are. I hope this helps out a bit, and good luck to all this season.
Also, Park Factors are just one in several pieces needed to construct a dominating team. help yourself to create the perfect team by also taking a look at our current Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings, and good luck to all of you this year!
Questions? Shoot me a message below.