Fantasy Baseball 2014: The Ballpark Factor

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

 

Road trip, y’all.

I often find fantasy baseball to be one of the most interesting games out of all because there are so, so many contributing factors that can impact a decision on selecting or playing a player. There’s so many advanced stats, such as BABIP, plate discipline, walk rate, strikeout rate and pace. There is also the supporting cast, because a strong batting order can drastically impact a player’s fantasy numbers. However, the one aspect of fantasy baseball that differs from any other sport is such an interesting one.

The ballparks.

Sure, in football and basketball, playing in a different venue may have some sort of effect on your player’s production, but that’s normally just if the weather happens to be bad, if it’s in a dome or the crowd. Baseball is a whole different ball game, pun absolutely, positively intended. So, with the launch of Spring Training just a few short days away, let’s take a look at some of the more hitter-friendly ballparks in the majors, and the impact they may have on your fantasy stars.

Coors Field

Year

Runs

HR

2011 1.347 (2nd) 1.354 (2nd)
2012 1.579 (1st) 1.493 (3rd)
2013 1.273 (1st) 1.169 (8th)

 

An obvious one here, as the altitude in Colorado helps the baseball travel much farther, thus, making it easier to hit it out of the park. Over the past two seasons, no venue in baseball has seen more runs scored on a per-game basis than Coors Field, benefiting the likes of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, who are both easily 30-home run caliber players if they could just stay on the field for a full season. And if you go all the way back to the 2001 season, according to ESPN’s Ballpark Raters, Coors Field ranks inside the top-10 in both runs and home runs. The people of the Rockies website say that the ball travels about nine percent farther amid the high altitude in Colorado. They also went on to say that “it is estimated that a home run hit 400 feet in sea-level Yankee Stadium would travel about 408 feet in Atlanta and as far as 440 feet in the Mile High City.”

Don’t overhype that Coors factor on draft day, but when playing daily games, it’s definitely something to consider.

Rangers Ballpark

Year

Runs

HR

2011 1.409 (1st) 1.500 (1st)
2012 1.183 (4th) 1.168 (7th)
2013 0.985 (17th) 0.903 (19th)

 

Coors Field is clearly number one, but I’m sure most hitters wouldn’t mind swinging the bat in Rangers Ballpark either. As Tristan Cockroft states, despite their rather alarming numbers in 2013, left-handed hitters are still sporting a 12.8 home run/fly ball ratio over the last three seasons, which is well above the league average of 9.9. This is terrific news for newly acquired Ranger, Prince Fielder, who I am quite fond of in 2014. Fielder has seen his home run totals drop in each of the last three seasons, but this could be the year he returns to the 30-home run range.

Great American Ballpark

Year

Runs

HR

2011 1.082 (8th) 1.314 (3rd)
2012 1.113 (8th) 1.592 (2nd)
2013 0.989 (16th) 1.338 (2nd)

 

You want home runs? No problem. Over the last three years, Great American Ballpark has ranked no worse than third in home runs per game, which could be a reason to continue believing that we will see that power return from All-Star first baseman, Joey Votto. Runs could be inside the top-five again this season, which could bode well for someone like Billy Hamilton, who sported an on-base percentage of .429 in 13 games last year, which means he can see some run potential in much extended playing time this year with Shin-Soo Choo out in Texas.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

 

 

 


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