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Old
12-24-2012, 08:09 PM
  #1
nabbyfan
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Ballpark Effect

I wasnt sure if this warranted its own thread, but its a part of baseball that has fascinated me since I started watching games as a young boy. AFAIK, baseball is the only sport where the size of the field changes based on who is hosting the games. My question is how much park effect ACTUALLY influences the game. I ask this because many of my friends at school are Yankees fans, who seem to think that any home run that clears the short porch in Right would've cleared any fence in MLB by a mile. I distinctly remember 2 seasons ago, watching A. Rod hit a homerun against the Blue Jays that the pitcher got very upset about because it barely cleared the fence and it looked like a standard pop fly coming off the bat.

I guess my question, or at least what I want to start a discussion about, is how cheap these short fences are, and how much of a deterrent long fences are in terms of competitive fairness, and also attracting Free Agents. Why would a power hitter ever want to play in SD or HOU? How skewed are Hamilton's stats for having played in Arlington 81 times a year? I know there are easily available home/away stats, but I dont know if that tells the whole story. Will teams sort of discredit a hitter's stats coming out of CIN, NYY, or TEX?

Im an Athletics fan myself, about 330 on the lines, and a little over 400 to Center. Largest Foul territory in the league also.

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12-24-2012, 08:23 PM
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Ball parks definitely play a factor but it isn't strictly about dimensions. Balls travel more at certain parks and Yankee stadium seems to a lot.

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12-24-2012, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mapes View Post
Ball parks definitely play a factor but it isn't strictly about dimensions. Balls travel more at certain parks and Yankee stadium seems to a lot.
Yeah, if Coors Field was sea level, it'd be much worse for hitters than say, Petco or AT&t.

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12-26-2012, 01:32 AM
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I find ballpark effect in general to be very overrated.

I really don't think it affects power hitters. When a guy with power gets one, it's gone.

Using the Yankees example, when Teixeira and Swisher were hitting them into the 2nd deck in right, which is where a vast majority of their homers go, those are in fact gone in any stadium.



Here's a chart of Mark Teixeira's 24 homeruns. Not a single one traveled less than 350. Only 5 traveled lass then 375 and 4 of them are in the 135-120, or 60-45 zones, which are right down the lines. Name one park in MLB that's 375 down the line. So what does he gain playing in a "hitters" park? Maybe 1 homerun?


Last edited by Machinehead: 12-26-2012 at 01:55 AM.
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12-26-2012, 01:40 AM
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In fact, look at that chart for pretty much any player. Besides punch and judy hitters, all of them show they same characteristic: 95% of the homers are traveling 350 feet.

So these homeruns that sneak into the first row, based on the data, are actually extremely rare.

And I don't really buy the "wind tunnel" idea either.

Chase Headley's tracker shows that he's generally hitting them just as far as Teixeira.



Even more telling is the red line. The red line represents Petco Park. Chase Headley hit 31 homeruns last year. If he played every game in Petco Park, he'd still have 31.

Same tracker for Citi Field



Here he'd have 30 for sure, and one off the wall which could go either way. He loses maybe 1.


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12-26-2012, 01:56 AM
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Now there are exceptions of course. Granderson's charts show massive regression outside of Yankee Stadium. But power numbers are generally consistent from stadium to stadium using this type of data.

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12-26-2012, 11:54 AM
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I think it depends on many things. The Mariners and Padres are both moving the fences in next year, idea being to hit better and become less of a pitchers park.

If you look at someone like Ichiro last season, he hit 5 home runs with the Yankees at home in 227 at bats( i'm pretty sure all 5 were at yankee stadium), whereas, outside Yankee Stadium it took him 402 at bats to hit 4.

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12-26-2012, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topshelfie View Post
I think it depends on many things. The Mariners and Padres are both moving the fences in next year, idea being to hit better and become less of a pitchers park.

If you look at someone like Ichiro last season, he hit 5 home runs with the Yankees at home in 227 at bats( i'm pretty sure all 5 were at yankee stadium), whereas, outside Yankee Stadium it took him 402 at bats to hit 4.
Well I really don't think you guys wanna see another chart

....but 8 of his 9 of his homeruns last year are gone in Safeco, including 4 of 5 he hit at Yankee Stadium. One of the wall.

You wanna know something funny though? Only 5 of his 9 are gone in Fenway park which is rated as a park that favors hitters in terms of power.

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12-26-2012, 03:08 PM
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Not doubting any of the charts, as that's a hard, compelling case right there. However, what about factors that contribute to ballparks being hitter or pitcher friendly outside of the ballparks themselves? For example, the thin air at Coors Field? Don't the Yankees have that jet stream of wind that runs through the park going towards right field? I know being a Dodger fan and having the park be so close to the ocean, the air gets thicker at night due to moisture, so balls that clear the wall during the day, are not guaranteed to at night. That's the stuff that I always found interesting at least...

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Old
12-26-2012, 06:36 PM
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Those charts are very interesting, thanks for sharing!

One thing I will say is that most local announcers tend to be homers, so when they see that one home run that clears a short porch, but not the fence at home, maybe they get a little frustrated and start discounting all homeruns at that park.

There are definitely weather affects....but I'm not sure how big of a role they play. A couple of Yoenis Cespedes' longest home runs in Oakland last year came on very cold nights, where theoretically the ball shouldn't travel as far.

The idea that a player hitting a homerun in MLB is generally clearing the fences by a good margin might be valid, but as an Oakland fan it might just selective memory but it seems like ALOT of the homeruns to Left/Center at the Coliseum barely clear the fence. Would you be able to pull up a chart for Cespedes or Jonny Gomes at the Coliseum?

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12-26-2012, 07:35 PM
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Here are Gomes and Cespedes at the Coliseum vs Comerica which I consider to be the most brutal in the majors for homeruns.

Cespedes





Gomes





The data shows that Gomes and Cespedes have pretty much "true" power, meaning effective at most or all venues. Gomes only lost 1 in the worst park in the majors. Cespedes lost 4, but all of them were to dead center. Since most homeruns are to left or right, that's the number I consider to be most important and he didn't lose any there.

Now take Curtis Granderson.



He loses 11 at Comerica, and of those 11, 9 are in the happy zones. So he doesn't have true power relative to Cespedes and Gomes and feeds off his home stadium more so than Gomes and Cespedes do.

Granderson is an exception though. Most decent power hitters: guys who can pop at least 15 in a season, show true power tendencies. There's also parks that are exceptions. Fenway is so brutal on lefties that almost all homerun stats are skewed there for left-handed hitters.

So ballparks do have some effects, you can't deny that.

But generally speaking those effects aren't huge league wide, and much smaller than they're made out to be. The wide gap in power supply between say, the Mets and the Yankees, has much, much more to do with their respective lineups than the stadiums they play in....expect Granderson

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12-26-2012, 07:38 PM
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I couldn't really find anyone on the A's that lacks true power. Reddick, Smith, and Carter also lost very few if any homers.

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12-26-2012, 11:09 PM
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Yeah you can't just look at pure distance.

In Arlington there's a well-known jetstream effect. The prevailing winds blow in from center, hit the area behind home plate, then swirl back out through a gap in right field.

Then there's temperature. Parks that have significantly higher average temperatures (such as Arlington) are going to be more hitter-friendly as the ball carries more easily.

Then there's the less tangible effect that I believe is real when hitters say they simply feel more comfortable hitting in certain parks. Maybe a particular park has a more symmetrical outfield with an especially clear batter's eye.

Some places also play more night games than others when batters theoretically should have an easier time picking up the baseball.

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12-27-2012, 12:32 AM
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It is also not just about homeruns, if you look at the gigantic foul area in places like Oakland that can make a huge difference to players. Those fouls that in most other parks give the player another chance do not happen in places like Oakland.

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12-27-2012, 01:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piqued View Post
Yeah you can't just look at pure distance.

In Arlington there's a well-known jetstream effect. The prevailing winds blow in from center, hit the area behind home plate, then swirl back out through a gap in right field.

Then there's temperature. Parks that have significantly higher average temperatures (such as Arlington) are going to be more hitter-friendly as the ball carries more easily.

Then there's the less tangible effect that I believe is real when hitters say they simply feel more comfortable hitting in certain parks. Maybe a particular park has a more symmetrical outfield with an especially clear batter's eye.

Some places also play more night games than others when batters theoretically should have an easier time picking up the baseball.
All of this affects distance though. The very definition of a homeurn is hitting the ball a specified distance in the air.

And when you look at distances, it shows that the effects you mentioned are inconsistent. Houston is one of the warmest climates in baseball and there's supposedly a jetstream effect at Yankee Stadium.

Minute Maid Park and Yankee Stadium have the two lowest average homerun distances in the majors, so these effects exist in these stadiums, they must be on the DL.

Of course the Astros do suck which might skew that number.


Last edited by Machinehead: 12-27-2012 at 01:09 AM.
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12-27-2012, 02:12 AM
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Houston is almost always indoors...

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12-27-2012, 02:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piqued View Post
Houston is almost always indoors...


You got me there...

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12-27-2012, 08:42 AM
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You got me there...
Indoors is typically more climate controlled, so saying that Houston is in the South wouldn't mean that it's warm in the stadium

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12-27-2012, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinehead View Post
I find ballpark effect in general to be very overrated.

I really don't think it affects power hitters. When a guy with power gets one, it's gone.

Using the Yankees example, when Teixeira and Swisher were hitting them into the 2nd deck in right, which is where a vast majority of their homers go, those are in fact gone in any stadium.



Here's a chart of Mark Teixeira's 24 homeruns. Not a single one traveled less than 350. Only 5 traveled lass then 375 and 4 of them are in the 135-120, or 60-45 zones, which are right down the lines. Name one park in MLB that's 375 down the line. So what does he gain playing in a "hitters" park? Maybe 1 homerun?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinehead View Post
Now there are exceptions of course. Granderson's charts show massive regression outside of Yankee Stadium. But power numbers are generally consistent from stadium to stadium using this type of data.
Yeah, Yankee Stadium has pretty much made Granderson what he is at the present day. Guy was never a big slugger before he got there.

Overall, though, I think it's pushing it to just compare ballpark to ballpark with the overlays. Because as has been mentioned, the ball doesn't carry the same everywhere.

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12-27-2012, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by IU Hawks fan View Post
Yeah, Yankee Stadium has pretty much made Granderson what he is at the present day. Guy was never a big slugger before he got there.

Overall, though, I think it's pushing it to just compare ballpark to ballpark with the overlays. Because as has been mentioned, the ball doesn't carry the same everywhere.
True the ball doesn't carry the same everywhere, but what I'm saying is the average homerun usually travels a lengthy distance.

Does the distance lost in a park where the ball doesn't carry really effect it to the point where 375 down the line doesn't go?

It depends. Sometimes a ball gets caught in the wind and just dies, and other times it only loses a few feet. Unfortunately we can't measure individual balls.

The effects are there, no question, as I've said. I just think they're overstated, and at times falsified for the convenience of fans who just don't like a team very much.

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12-27-2012, 11:39 AM
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Instead of looking at it on an per player basis we could also look at it by ballpark.

Coors Field in Colorado

#1 in runs
#3 home runs
#1 hits

Certain parks have more hits and home runs totals at the end of the year than others.

A link to park factors in 2012:

http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/parkfactor

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12-27-2012, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IU Hawks fan View Post
Yeah, Yankee Stadium has pretty much made Granderson what he is at the present day. Guy was never a big slugger before he got there..

Except in 2011 when he hit 41 HRs and his splits were right down the middle. Only Bautista, Berkman and Pujols hit more home runs on the road that year.

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12-27-2012, 10:37 PM
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That's assuming the same pitch hit the same way travels the same distance in every ballpark.

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12-27-2012, 11:39 PM
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Except in 2011 when he hit 41 HRs and his splits were right down the middle. Only Bautista, Berkman and Pujols hit more home runs on the road that year.
Where he hit them doesn't matter, it's just the fact that he changed his approach at the plate when he stopped playing most of his games in one of, if not thee biggest parks in the game and started playing in one of the most hitter's friendly parks.

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12-27-2012, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Machinehead View Post
True the ball doesn't carry the same everywhere, but what I'm saying is the average homerun usually travels a lengthy distance.

Does the distance lost in a park where the ball doesn't carry really effect it to the point where 375 down the line doesn't go?

It depends. Sometimes a ball gets caught in the wind and just dies, and other times it only loses a few feet. Unfortunately we can't measure individual balls.

The effects are there, no question, as I've said. I just think they're overstated, and at times falsified for the convenience of fans who just don't like a team very much.


I supposed, although I found out about all the possible jet stream effects from 2 Yankee fans I went to school with.

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