Fun with Road Park Factors

I had a different plan for today’s article, but as 1) my initial idea fell through and 2) I’ve been spending a good deal of time preparing for my LABR draft this weekend, I thought we’d make today a lighter day.

A few weeks ago I introduced Road Park Factors which essentially tell us the aggregate quality of all road parks a player plays in.

Today, I thought we’d play around a little bit with these park factors and see what kinds of insights we can glean. First, let’s look at teams who will be seeing a more favorable road schedule in 2009 in terms of HR/FB.

Teams

+-----------+------+
| TEAM      | DIFF |
+-----------+------+
| Phillies  | 2.2% |
| Marlins   | 1.9% |
| Rays      | 1.9% |
| Dodgers   | 1.9% |
| Pirates   | 1.6% |
| Astros    | 1.6% |
| Cardinals | 1.6% |
+-----------+------+

The Phillies will actually be going from seeing their road parks deflating homers in 2008 to inflating them in 2009. The jump of 2.2 percent leads all major league teams for 2009. While individual player rates may vary a bit, you can pretty safely add a tick of value to the power hitters on these teams.

This might be particularly bad news for Brett Myers, though, who was one of the focal points of Monday’s article. He’s doesn’t seem to be a guy who will regress to a league average HR/FB, and he would really need a beneficial road schedule to help keep it down. That’s not going to be the case in 2009.

Now let’s look at the teams who will see a less favorable road schedule in terms of HR/FB.

+-----------+-------+
| TEAM      | DIFF  |
+-----------+-------+
| Athletics | -1.3% |
| Rockies   | -1.3% |
| Royals    | -1.3% |
| Brewers   | -1.1% |
| Tigers    | -1.0% |
+-----------+-------+

The A’s, Rockies, and Royals are in a virtual tie for first here. Again, while individual rates may vary, you should be safe taking a small tick of value away from power hitters on these teams. Pitchers on these teams, obviously, will be aided.

Now let’s see who has the easiest HR/FB road schedule overall:

+-----------+------+
| TEAM      | 2009 |
+-----------+------+
| Pirates   | 6.0% |
| Padres    | 4.7% |
| Giants    | 4.1% |
| Marlins   | 4.1% |
| Astros    | 3.2% |
| Braves    | 3.2% |
| Cardinals | 3.0% |
+-----------+------+

The Pirates have the easiest schedule, although they also had a somewhat easy one last year. League-mates Houston and St. Louis also are above 3 percent, so this isn’t a big surprise. As far as teams with the most difficult schedule, that would be the White Sox and Rangers at -3.3 and -3.2 percent, respectively.

Individual players

Looking at individual players, we see that Paul Konerko, Michael Young, and Josh Hamilton played on the teams with the worst schedules and caught the worst of the luck of any player on their respective teams (seeing nearly five percent deflation each). Each should improve by at least 1 percent despite their teams still having the worst schedules in 2009.

Alex Rodriguez was the first non-Ranger or White Sox player to appear on the list, and he should improve by 2.5 percent in 2009. Teammate Robinson Cano should improve by a point-and-a-half—just one more reason why I like him this year.

Shane Victorino‘s homers should inflate by 3.5 percent, partially due to bad luck in 2008 and partially due to the Phillies’ improving schedule.

Raul Ibanez should get a 2.8 percent boost as the newest member of the Phillies, plus the associated boost of moving to the National League.

Chris B. Young will get a 1.7 percent boost out in the desert.

As for those who stand to see some deflation, Jason Bay should see one of the biggest drop-offs at 4.8 percent. Surprisingly enough, despite playing half the year for the Pirates, his inflation rate in Pittsburg was a somewhat-normal 5.4 percent. In Boston, it was an absurd 8.8 percent. Regression’s coming here.

David DeJesus should see a 2.9 percent drop, Ryan Garko should see a 2.4 percent drop, and Mark Teixeira should see a 2.3 percent drop.

Carlos Beltran should see deflation of 1.4 percent and Carlos Delgado 1.3 percent.

Mark Ellis‘s road park factor should drop by 3.9 percent and Miguel Cabrera‘s by 1.8 percent.

Concluding thoughts

While home run park factors are somewhat crude and don’t always tell the whole story for a hitter (see HitTracker’s Greg Rybarczyk’s article in the 2009 Hardball Times Annual or his article at The Baseball Analysts for some great discussion on this), hopefully this was a fun little exercise. If you have any questions, feel free to let me know.

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Comments

  1. Nick J said...

    Another excellent article, Derek.

    So then, would the next step be to average the road park factors with the home park factors and apply those to players’ projected raw stats?

  2. Derek Carty said...

    Thanks, Nick.  That would be the next step as long as the player’s projected raw stats are park-neutral (most systems don’t strip out home park).  Keep in mind, though, that home run factors for hitters are a bit crude.

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