Thanks for the article JiveDude! It is certainly appreciated.
Yes doctor, I am sick. Sick of those who are spineless. Sick of those who feel self-entitled. Sick of those who are hypocrites. Yes doctor, an army is forming. Yes doctor, there will be a war. Yes doctor, there will be blood.....
Absolutely Adequate wrote:The interesting thing about that article, which I've been trying to convince a friend of all season, is how Kaufman is a better hitters park than Enron. Fan-tastic. Thanks
I have that article too. They only use the runs index, but its the most important one. If you compare, and they use the same 3 year as Stats, they probably used their index, you will see KC was +18% and Houston +14%. Bingo. KC run index was 118, and Houstons was 114. With 100 neutral, you can see where the % comes from. You win. You can also add that KC played better in average 109 (9%), to Houstons 105 (5%). To be fair, MM Park wins in hr index 115 (15%), to KC 113 (13%).
Hall of Fame Hero
(Past Year: 303)
Joined: 12 Jan 2003
Home Cafe: Baseball
Location: Pearl Jam country, right next door to Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains.
Ballpark Rankings by Dave Darling February 1, 2003
For the casual baseball fan, about the only things that set apart a good ballpark from a bad one are parking, the price of beer and quantity of restrooms. OK, well, perhaps the park's overall atmosphere matters, too.
But to the more discriminating fan -- aka fantasy geek -- there's much more to consider. For where a player calls home can make or break his production.
When considering a player's value, his home certainly should not be the most important issue you consider -- bottom-line skills and potential come first. But for most major leaguers, a stadium can have a huge effect on his numbers. And knowing the difference between a pitchers and hitters park can prove to be the difference between first and second place in your league.
So as you work on your rankings list this year, pay close attention to offseason moves. For example, the values of Robert Fick, Mike Hampton, Jeff Kent, Ted Lilly, Damian Moss and Preston Wilson have risen with their moves. Conversely, players such as Ray Durham, Damian Miller, Russ Ortiz, Ivan Rodriguez, Brett Tomko and Todd Zeile could take a hit.
Some notes on the rankings:
They're based on three-year statistics, except where otherwise noted.
The runs, home runs and batting average statistics noted are calculated by comparing home and road statisics; this provides a better representation of the park's effect on any player. The numbers represent how the park would match up against an average major league park.
The number in parentheses is the park's MLB ranking (descending in all cases) for that category.
As you set your lineup each week, consider the top six or so teams on this list to be hitters parks, the bottom 10 to favor pitchers, and the 14 in between to be fairly neutral. 1. Colorado, Coors Field Runs Home runs AVG +4.40 (1) +1.10 (1) +.055 (1)
Say what you will about the humidor, it definitely had an effect on play at Coors in 2002. Nearly every offensive category -- including runs, home runs and batting average -- declined from 2001. Still, don't let this mislead you: from batting average, to homers to triples and everything in between, Coors still is by far the best hitters park in baseball. The skinny: Load up on as many Rockies hitters as possible and avoid their pitchers at all costs. Who wins: Everyone who swings a bat. Who loses: Everyone who ducks and covers.
2. Kansas City, Kauffman Stadium Runs Home runs AVG +1.67 (2) +0.36 (5) +.025 (2)
The Big K treats righthanded and lefthanded hitters equally well. It's easily the best hitting park in the AL in terms of batting average. Visiting teams batted .294 and scored 6.2 runs a game in 2002, while the Royals' pitching staff posted a 5.79 ERA, all MLB highs. The skinny: A great hitters park + weak lineup support + horrendous starting pitching = AVOID ALL ROYALS PITCHERS. Who wins: Carlos Beltran, Joe Randa Who loses: Runelvys Hernandez, James Baldwin
T3. Houston, Minutemaid Park Runs Home runs AVG +1.32 (3) +0.38 (4) +.013 (4)
Home runs dropped by 34 percent from 2001 (216 to 143), and we're not quite sure why, but Minutemaid still is one of only four parks that rank in the top five in all three categories. It's very kind to lefthanded hitters (.293 batting average and 239 homers during last three years). The skinny: It still ranks near the top in many hitting categories, but run production has decreased in each of the stadium's first three seasons (3.62 runs per game since 2000), so owners no longer should automatically bench a pitcher who is starting here. Who wins: Lance Berkman, Jeff Kent Who loses: Shane Reynolds, Wade Miller
T3. Arizona, Bank One Ballpark Runs Home runs AVG +1.24 (4) +0.24 (7) +.021 (3)
Surprised to see the BOB this high? Don't be. Its 1,090-foot elevation puts it second only to Coors Field. It treats lefthanded and righthanded hitters equally in terms of batting average and it favors righthanded power hitters. And think of what the numbers would be like if Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling weren't accounting for 35 starts here every year. The skinny: With the Diamondbacks and Rockies owning two of the best hitters parks in baseball and the Dodgers, Padres and Giants holding down the No. 28-30 spots, the NL West is a picture of contrast when it comes to parks. Who wins: Junior Spivey, Tony Womack Who loses: Miguel Batista, Elmer Dessens
T3. Texas, Ballpark in Arlington Runs Home runs AVG +1.21 (5) +0.50 (3) +.013 (4)
Another equal-opportunity hitters park, the Ballpark ranks above the AL average in every offensive category. Teams bat .287 here and have hit more homers over the past three years (624) than at any other AL park (second overall to Coors at 670). And it yielded the second-highest ERA in the majors in '02 (5.67). The skinny: It would be a fine hitters park in almost any climate, but the hot Texas summers wear down pitchers. So avoid Texas pitchers from June on. Who wins: Rafael Palmeiro, Hank Blalock Who loses: Chan Ho Park, John Thomson
T6. Pittsburgh, PNC Park Runs Home runs AVG +0.82 (6) -0.18 (22) +.008 (7)
Note: Figures represent 2001 and 2002 seasons.
After two seasons it's becoming clear that PNC is more of a friend to singles hitters than power guys. Interestingly, as deep as the park is to left field as compared to right field, lefthanded hitters don't appear to benefit greatly in the power department - and in fact they had considerably less success in 2002. It appears to have one of the worst infields in baseball (1.38 infield errors committed per game the past two seasons), which can lead to more runs scored. The skinny: It's certainly not a home run park and is just above average in batting average, but runs sure do come easy here. Who wins: Brian Giles, Kevin Young Who loses: Kris Benson, Josh Fogg
T6. Chicago (AL), U.S. Cellular Field Runs Home runs AVG +0.41 (7) +0.61 (2) +.008 (7)
Interestingly, after moving in the fences substantially down the lines in 2001, the number of homers hit on the South Side have remained nearly unchanged (198, 199, 199), though batting averages have dipped a bit (.279 in 2000 to .269 in '01 and '02). Its only drawback is that the gaps are narrow, which cuts down on doubles and triples. The skinny: The park is equally kind to lefthanded and righthanded hitters, and because the White Sox have a pretty potent lineup, you should avoid starting visiting pitchers here (5.88 ERA in 2002). Who wins: Magglio Ordonez, Frank Thomas Who loses: Bartolo Colon, Dan Wright
Olympic Stadium is much kinder to lefthanded hitters than righties (.277 vs. .260 batting average the past three seasons). But the main issue to keep in mind this season when selecting Expos players is that they will be playing 22 (27 percent) of their home games in Puerto Rico at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. And this place is a bandbox even in comparison to newer AL stadiums (averages 314 down the lines, 350 to power alleys and is 400 straight away). The skinny: Treat Olympic Stadium as a moderate hitters park, but be extra cautious when your pitchers travel to Puerto Rico because Hiram Bithorn could end up rivaling Coors in terms of offensive production. Who wins: Jose Vidro, Brad Wilkerson, Vladimir Guerrero Who loses: Expos pitchers throwing in the heat of San Juan.
Must be something in the air, because Skydome's numbers are nearly identical to its Canadian counterpart in Montreal. Skydome is a symmetrical park that treats righthanded hitters slightly better than lefthanders. The skinny: For the most part, Skydome can be considered a moderate hitters or neutral park. Who wins: Shannon Stewart, Eric Hinske Who loses: Vernon Wells
10. Cleveland, Jacobs Field Runs Home runs AVG +0.14 (11) +0.24 (7) +.001 (14)
The Jake still is one of the better power parks in baseball, but is pretty middle-of-the-road in terms of batting average and runs produced. The skinny: It shouldn't be considered a visiting pitcher's nightmare, particularly with Jim Thome no longer pummeling righthanded pitching. Who wins: Matt Lawton, Omar Vizquel Who loses: Ellis Burks, Karim Garcia
It's no longer known as a homer dome, and with good reason. During the last three seasons, only 416 home runs have been hit at the Metrodome, which makes it one of the bottom five power fields in the AL. And curiously, there was a severe drop-off in power there in 2002 compared to 2001 and 2000, particularly for lefthanded hitters. Still, those same lefthanded hitters fare pretty well in terms of batting average (.285 over the last three seasons). The skinny: Consider it a borderline hitters park, but don't be afraid to start any pitcher here. Who wins: Corey Koskie, Doug Mientkiewicz Who loses: Jacque Jones
T12. Atlanta, Turner Field Runs Home runs AVG +0.11 (12) -0.01 (17) +.006 (9)
Overall, it boosts batting averages, but hurts power. It favors lefthanded hitters, particularly in the power department (righthanded batters have averaged 94 homers here during the past three seasons). The skinny: Turner Field still is pretty neutral, but it slowly is distinguishing itself as a moderate hitters park. Who wins: Chipper Jones, Mike Hampton Who loses: Gary Sheffield, Andruw Jones
T12. Anaheim, Edison International Field Runs Home runs AVG +0.07 (13) +0.08 (12) +.003 (10)
The last park on our list with three categories in the positives, Edison might be one of the most deceiving stadiums in baseball. While the left-center field wall is one of deepest in the AL (387 feet) and the right-center wall is one of the closest to homes plate (370), righthanded hitters are far more likely to homer here than there lefthanded counterparts. It treats each about the same, average wise. It also should be noted that almost all hitting indexes were down in 2002 from 2001 and 2000 - particularly power numbers -- and we're not quite sure why, but it's something we'll continue to monitor. The skinny: It's a moderate hitters park that curtails lefthanded power. Who wins: Troy Glaus, Adam Kennedy Who loses: Tim Salmon, Jarrod Washburn
T14. New York (AL), Yankee Stadium Runs Home runs AVG +0.01 (14) +0.29 (6) -.005 (19)
Enter the neutral parks. The Stadium still is one of the best places in baseball to jack up power numbers if you're a lefthanded hitter, but it still hurts batting averages from both sides of the plate (batters hit .264 here over the past three seasons). The skinny: Despite this being a very neutral park, it's best to avoid starting visiting players here because of the Yankees' ability to score runs and the pitching staff's general excellence. Who wins: Jason Giambi, Roger Clemens Who loses: Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera
T14. Boston, Fenway Park Runs Home runs AVG +0.01 (14) -0.45 (27) +.010 (6)
Fenway easily is the most unpredictable park in baseball - and its no wonder, given its irregular dimensions. One thing is for sure: The Green Monster takes away homers but adds base hits. It's the most difficult park in the AL to hit a homer from the left side. Also, beware: it's one of the most difficult places to play in the field. The infield has the worst rating in the majors over the past three seasons (1.19 errors per game by home and visiting teams). And the irregular fence dimensions make things just as tough on outfielders to field balls. The skinny: It's baseball's box of chocolates -- but treat it indifferently. Who wins: Derek Lowe, Nomar Garciaparra. Who loses: Trot Nixon, Pedro Martinez.
(NR) Cincinnati, Great American Ball Park After playing in one of the better NL hitting parks for more than three decades, the Reds move next door to a new facility this season. The dimensions are fairly similar to what Cinergy was until two years ago (though they've avoided making this a symmetrical cookie cutter): 325, 379, 404, 370, 328 feet from left to right. The walls measure eight feet high down the lines and in center field and 12-feet high in the gaps. Also, there is six more feet of foul space from home plate to the seats, which will lead to more pop outs in foul territory. The skinny: The early speculation is it will be fairly neutral, but perhaps overall will favor pitchers and lefthanded power. Unless we tell you otherwise, treat it as a neutral field during its inaugural season. The closer fences in right field should help Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr.
17. Tampa Bay, Tropicana Field Runs Home runs AVG -0.01 (17) -0.14 (20) .000 (17)
This place is about as neutral and predictable as they come. It's a little easier to hit for average here than for power, and despite the fences being closer to home in left field, righthanders struggle in the power department. The skinny: Because the Devil Rays can't hit and have a weak rotation, this is a good place to start visiting pitchers. Who wins: Aubrey Huff, Joe Kennedy Who loses: Victor Zambrano, Ben Grieve
18. St. Louis, Busch Stadium Runs Home runs AVG -0.16 (18) +0.08 (12) -.005 (19)
That 12th overall home run rating might be a bit misleading because power numbers at Busch have been on a steady decline during the last three seasons - from 220 homers hit there in 2000, to 174 in 2001 to 143 in 2002. There have been no dimension changes, so we're a bit puzzled about the park's apparent loss of power. Meantime, batting-average and run-production indices have remained constant. The skinny: Treat it as a moderate pitchers park. Who wins: Matt Morris, Jim Edmonds Who loses: Fernando Vina
19. Milwaukee, Miller Park Runs Home runs AVG -0.29 (19) +0.12 (10) +.001 (14)
Note: Figures represent 2001 and 2002 seasons.
Is it a coincidence that the only two stadiums in baseball named after breweries have similar statistics? Probably not. Offensive numbers were down across the board during Miller's second season, so what you see above is an average of both seasons. It definitely favors lefthanded hitters in both the power and batting average categories. The skinny: Last year, we called Miller a slight hitters park. This year, we're saying it's a moderate pitchers park. In any event, it's safe to start your visiting pitchers here against a hapless Brewers team. Who wins: Richie Sexson, Ben Sheets Who loses: Mike DeJean 20. Philadelphia, Veterans Stadium Runs Home runs AVG -0.55 (20) -0.10 (19) -.015 (25)
Somehow, some way, the Vet has transformed over the last three seasons from a pretty good hitters park to a decent home for pitchers. Surprised? Well, try this: it's also the best park in the majors for fielding (an average over just over one error a game is committed here). The old park -- this is its final season -- favors lefthanded power over righthanders. It yielded an MLB-worst .237 batting average last season. The skinny: Despite its ranking here, treat the Vet pretty much as a neutral park. Who wins: Vicente Padilla, Brandon Duckworth Who loses: Pat Burrell, Mike Lieberthal
21. Florida, Pro Player Stadium Runs Home runs AVG -0.59 (21) -0.30 (24) -.008 (21)
Here's where our list really shifts to pitchers parks. While it's still one of the toughest places in baseball to homer at -- particularly for lefthanded hitters -- Pro Player is becoming an easier place to hit for average and score runs (for example, the stadium's batting average indices have climbed steadily in each of the last three years). But it still rates in the negatives in all three categories. The skinny: It's a good pitchers park because it's so long. Who wins: A.J. Burnett, Brad Penny Who loses: Derrek Lee
The Coliseum used to be one of the toughest parks in all of baseball to homer, but that has changed in recent years since the erection of "Mount Davis" over the outfield bleachers in the mid-90s. However, it's still one of the most difficult places to hit for average, particularly for righthanded batters. The skinny: This pitchers park is home to one of the best staffs in baseball, so avoid using visiting hitters here, if possible. Who wins: Mark Mulder, Keith Foulke Who loses: Jermaine Dye
23. New York (NL), Shea Stadium Runs Home runs AVG -0.87 (23) -0.15 (21) -0.013 (22)
The one thing you can say about Shea is that it's consistent. Not only are those grades consistent across the board, but the park's indices have remained nearly unchanged during the last three years. It's particularly tough on righthanded batters. The skinny: It's a safe place to start any pitcher, especially visiting pitchers if the Mets' lineup fails to produce again. Who wins: Tom Glavine, Al Leiter Who loses: Roger Cedeno, Mike Piazza
In 2002, they restored Camden Yards to its 2000 dimensions by moving the fences in, and home runs again were hit here (182 in 2002 vs. 137 in 2001). There's more room in foul territory now and the field generally is small, so we should continue to see more home runs, but lower batting averages. The skinny: Despite its reputation as a hitters park, it never has been an easy place to score runs. It treats righthanded hitters much better than lefties. Who wins: Sidney Ponson Who loses: Melvin Mora, Chris Richard
25. Chicago (NL), Wrigley Field Runs Home runs AVG -1.02 (24) -0.09 (18) -.013 (22)
I get a chuckle when I hear about the Friendly Confines being referred to as a "hitters park," because it hasn't been one for years. Folks, this place is long down the lines (355 feet) and the wind seems to blow in just as, if not more, often than it blows out. The Cubs posted an MLB-worst home batting average of .238 in '02. And it's really tough on lefthanded hitters, who batted just .240 and hit 180 homers here during the past three seasons. The skinny: Cubs pitchers won't win a ton of games because . . . oh, never mind. But they should be able to maintain relatively solid ERAs and WHIPs pitching here. Who wins: Kerry Wood, Antonio Alfonseca Who loses: Corey Patterson, Matt Clement
26. Detroit, Comerica Park Runs Home runs AVG -1.21 (26) -0.79 (29) +.001 (14)
It has yielded the fewest home runs in the majors over the past three seasons, but that should change this year when the fences are moved in 25 feet in left-center field to 370 feet. And righthanded batters, who have hit just 133 homers there in three years, must be ecstatic. The skinny: With the fences coming in this far there's good reason to believe there will be more homers this season. But it's still a safe place to start visiting pitchers, who had an MLB-best 3.22 ERA in 2002. Who wins: Shane Halter, Bobby Higginson Who loses: Dean Palmer, Carlos Pena
27. Seattle, Safeco Field Runs Home runs AVG -1.40 (27) -0.49 (28) -0.017 (27)
Note: Figures represent 2001 and 2002 seasons.
They moved the right field fences back just one foot after the 2000 season, and that seems to have cut down on home runs (149 in 2000 to an average of 127 the past two seasons). Meantime, batting averages have risen from .249 in 2000, to .255 in 2001, to .260 in 2002. The skinny: It's no friend to any hitter, and the deep left-center field fence makes it particularly tough on righthanded power hitters. Who wins: Joel Pineiro, Jamie Moyer Who loses: Mike Cameron, Ichiro Suzuki
28. San Diego, Qualcomm Stadium Runs Home runs AVG -1.75 (28) -0.37 (25) -.019 (29)
With the exception of lefthanded power, batting numbers generally went up at Qualcomm in '02. Most noticeably, the Padres and their opponents batted .265 there in 2002, compared with .241 in 2001. However, this still is one of the most difficult places in all of baseball to hit, which makes Tony Gwynn's eight batting titles even more impressive. The skinny: We pretty much consider 2002 to be a fluke; it's still an extreme pitchers park. Who wins: Trevor Hoffman, Mark Kotsay Who loses: Ryan Klesko, Bubba Trammell
29. Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium Runs Home runs AVG -1.79 (29) -0.18 (22) -.021 (30)
Pitchers get a lot of help from the expansive foul territory here, which helps make it the toughest park in baseball to hit for average. Lefties batted just .230 and punched only 37 homers at Chavez Ravine in '02. And it produced the lowest overall ERA in the majors last season (3.46). The skinny: A great place to see a game, particularly if you're standing on the mound. Who wins: Kevin Brown, Andy Ashby Who loses: Shawn Green, Adrian Beltre
30. San Francisco, Pac Bell Park Runs Home runs AVG -1.81 (30) -1.17 (30) -.018 (28)
The stats at this place are mind-boggling. Consider this: It's home to the greatest lefthanded slugger of our time, yet it's still the most difficult place in baseball for lefthanded hitters to homer (perhaps the 420-foot deep right-center field wall has something to do with this). And think of what the numbers would look like if Barry Bonds hadn't hit 81 of the total 387 homers hit here since 2000 (that's 21 percent, for those of you scoring at home). And it's nearly as tough on righthanded power hitters. It's the only park in major league baseball that has an elevation of zero; visiting teams averaged just 3.4 runs a game in 2002. The skinny: The value of pitchers gets a huge boost here, and just the opposite happens to hitters. Who wins: Jason Schmidt, Damian Moss Who loses: Benito Santiago, J.T. Snow