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The trade deadline has come and gone and with it, many superstars have changed cities and ballparks. This change in circumstance comes with a variable change in lineup chemistry, teammates, and park factors. This week’s “By The Numbers” column is going to focus on these park factors and how they may impact fantasy value moving forward.
What are “park factors?” The answer can vary depending on the version of the stat you are using, but the goal remains the same. There are 30 different ballparks in major league baseball and all 30 of them impact the game in their own unique way. This can occur in obvious ways such as park dimensions, wall height, and even environmental conditions. The idea is to convert the park’s impact on batted ball results, whether that be singles, doubles, triple, home runs, or wOBAcon.
Originally park factors were more simplistic and broken down to one number for the desired metric. However, this did not tell the audience how a ballpark impacted a specific player’s skill set. If a hitter is left-handed and pulls the ball it would be ideal to isolate the park’s factors to right field or right-centerfield for the desired outcome. Adding this extra element to parks factors in recent seasons has made the process of both interpreting and using parks factors in analysis more useful and more fun.[[ad:athena]]
During this breakdown of trade deadline hitters, two different park factors will be discussed: RotoFanatic.com’s Park Factors, which break each park down into different field areas (LF, LCF, CF, RCF, RF) and better handedness, and Baseball Savant which uses Statcast data to create its own unique park factor scores. The RotoFanatic Park Factors were created by Crosby Spencer.
Now that we know what we are digging into, let’s investigate some of the top names who were moved at the trade deadline and examine who may see the largest boost or drop in value.
Rizzo, along with his super friends from Chicago, all found new homes at the trade deadline. The 31-year-old was traded to the New York Yankees in an effort to combat their right-handed heavy lineup. Rizzo will certainly help with that, batting .275 for his career against right-handed pitchers with 184 of his 245 home runs. However, the former Cubs’ first baseman is having a bit of a reverse split this season, batting just .219 against right-handers and an impressive .356 against southpaws.
The left-handed slugger is rather pull-heavy with a 48.2 percent pull rate in 2021 after he posted a 47.9 percent mark in 2020. This should play nicely into his new environment in Yankee Stadium, which is known for its generous right-field porch. Below is a spray chart showing all of Rizzo’s batted balls from this season using Yankee Stadium as a layout (Baseball Savant).
In terms of an overall landscape, Wrigley Field is a fine hitters park for power hitters and actually ranks ahead of Yankee Stadium. However, we do not really care about generalities because Anthony Rizzo is a left-handed hitter. In this regard, the stadium in the Bronx is far superior. Using RotoFanatic’s Park Factors Wrigley Field is a fantastic home run park, for right-handed hitters. Chicago ranks as the number three ballpark in left-center for righties, but as the 24th and 29th overall ballpark for left-hander’s driving the ball to right field.
Using Baseball Savant’s Park Factors, they grade Wrigley as a 116 (100 is neutral) for left-handed home run power and Yankee Stadium as a 150. Rizzo is currently slashing .245/.357/.467 over 442 at-bats with 16 home runs, but with an expected home run total of 25 at Yankee Stadium
Anthony Rizzo has already started red hot for his new team, swatting two home runs in Miami during his debut weekend. Once the former all-star star works his way back “home,” we could see a nice pump in production for the rest of the season.
Just like Anthony Rizzo, the Yankees acquired Rangers slugger Joey Gallo in order to solve their right-handed heaviness in the lineup. Unlike Anthony Rizzo, Joey Gallo is not someone who is going to take full advantage of the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium.
The 27-year-old is batting .217/.373/.478 with 25 home runs over 402 plate appearances this season. Gallo has a .261 ISO, 18.2 percent barrel rate, and a 43.2 percent hard-hit rate. All fantastic measurements for a power hitter. The major caveat here is that the gold glove outfielder likes to drive the ball to centerfield with a pull percentage of 42.2.
As you can see, Gallo stands to benefit from the move to Yankee Stadium from Globe Life Field, but not as much as you may think. The Rangers home stadium grades out at a 106 for left-handed home run power (100 is neutral) with Yankee Stadium carrying a 150 due to its short porch in right field. However, the Bronx only comes in as the 20th best ballpark for left-handed power to center field.
Should you read too much into this? No, not really. Joey Gallo is 11th in the major leagues in average home run distance at 415 feet and in the end, it may not matter where he is hitting. The former Texas outfielder is still going to see a bump in production at Yankee Stadium, but it may not be the astronomical upgrade that some have predicted.
The New York Mets decided to plug the temporary vacancy at shortstop left by Francisco Lindor (oblique) by acquiring the best defensive shortstop in baseball. Baez will be moving to second upon Lindor’s return in what should be the best double-play combination in the game, but what does the move to Citi Field mean for the infielder?
Baez boasts poor discipline but makes up for it with a dynamic combination of power and speed. The right-hander manages to make use of most of the field while at the plate, driving the ball to center 39.9 percent of the time while pulling the ball just 43.7 percent of the time.
All in all, the move from Wrigley Field to Citi Field appears to be lateral to the naked eye. Chicago graded out as a 94 (left field) and 110 (left center) to right-handed power hitters using RotoFanatic Park Factors. However, Wrigley falls to the number 13 ballpark when grading it to centerfield. A 355-foot distance down the line and wind conditions make Wrigley play not quite as well as some would think, but still solid.
Citi Field surprisingly grades out with a 105 to straight left and a 125 to left-center for right-handed powers hitters. This paints the ballpark in Queens as the 11th best location for right-handed hitters in left-center and one of the best parks to straight left field. Citi Field has a moderate 335-foot distance to straight left and a favorable 358 to left-center. The difference here is that wind patterns coming off the East River tend to favor right-handed hitters.
Using Statcast’s Park Factors, which measures the ballpark as a whole, Wrigley slides in with a rating of 119 whereas Citi Field grades out with a 95. These measurements do not measure individual metrics but give you a snapshot of what to expect overall.
What is the takeaway of a topic I have now over-complicated? There is not going to be a huge difference in fantasy value for Javier Baez. Wrigley Field is not quite the offensive upgrade many think it is over Citi Field. The 28-year-old currently has 23 home runs over 343 at-bats with an expected total of 22 home runs had he been playing in New York all season.
In 22 games at his new home in Queens before the deadline, Javier Baez has hit .257 with seven homers, 14 RBIs, 31 strikeouts, six walks, and a .907 OPS. Expect the dynamic shortstop to be the same offensive spark he has always been.
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Bryant was the last of the Cubs trio to be dealt on deadline day when he was acquired by the San Francisco Giants. The first thought of most fantasy managers to the trade would be to call it a downgrade. After all, Oracle Park does have a long track record of being a “pitchers park.” The question is whether this is still true.
The 29-year-old was already starting to trend downwards since the end of May, so you certainly do not want to make things more difficult for him. Bryant is batting .267 with 18 home runs and a .861 OPS over 326 at-bats before the trade with an expected total of 15 home runs at Oracle Park.
The same park factors apply to Kris Bryant as a right-handed power hitter than they did for Javier Baez coming out of Wrigley Field, as both hitters like the use the middle of the field quite a bit. However, most of Bryant’s power comes on the pull side.
Using the RotoFanatic Park Factors, San Francisco scores a 92 to straight left and a 99 to left-center for right-handed power, making it the 26th and 17th overall park in those areas. This is an obvious downgrade for Bryant but perhaps not the massive gamechanger some were banking on.
Baseball Savant paints an even bleaker picture, grading out Oracle Park with a score of 78 for right-handed home runs (100 is average) while Wrigley stood at a 119. Out of all of the hitters moved at the trade deadline, this may be the largest downgrade. Below is a video of the former Cubs all-star smashing a solo shot to left field during this Giants debut, that barely made it over the left-field wall. Will we see some of his power die at the warning track moving forward? We will have to wait and see.
The bottom line here is the Giants needed to make a move at the trade deadline and Kris Bryant will end up being a fantastic add due to his versatility once Evan Longoria returns. The issue is that none of those things matter in fantasy baseball.
Escobar, batting .246 with 22 home runs and 65 RBI before the trade, is one of the most underrated contributors in fantasy baseball. The infielder will now have the opportunity to move away from the humidor in Arizona to the friendly confines of whatever they call the ballpark in Milwaukee now. American Family Field? No, we are calling it Miller Park. It’s Miller Park for our purposes.
The Brewers’ new third baseman entered the trade deadline with the 17th most RBI in the majors and 18th in home runs. What should we expect moving forward?
Escobar is a pull-heavy switch-hitter who puts the ball in the air 49 percent of the time, but many of his home runs have gone to the right-field if you check out the spray chart above due to platoon splits. You will also notice that several flyouts to left-center would have vacated the yard if he were playing in Milwaukee for the entire season. This looks like a massive upgrade at first glance.
The RotoFanatic Park Factors grade Chase field in Arizona as a 92 overall for switch-hitting power bats with the following grades for each field:
- Left Field: 99 (12th)
- Left Center: 110 (9th)
- Center Field: 59 (28th)
- Right Center: 97 (18th)
- Right Field: 102 (15th)
Here are the RotoFanatic Park Factor grades for the artist formerly known as Miller Park, which graded as a 114 overall for power:
- Left Field: 72 (21st)
- Left Center: 137 (4th)
- Center Field: 124 (5th)
- Right Center: 111 (8th)
- Right Field: 109 (8th)
It’s a great thing that Escobar is not a dead pull hitter for power on the right side because that seems to be the only weak spot in Milwaukee. In fact, his new surroundings play directly into his wheelhouse as a left-handed hitter from left-center to right field.
Baseball Savant somewhat agrees with this assessment, grading Chase Field at an 84 overall while scoring Milwaukee with a 100. However, Savant has Arizona listed as the 10th most favorable park factor on the board while placing the ghost of Miller Park in the 21at slot. Most of this has to do with their harsh grading of left-handed power, which is probably due to the poor splits left-handed Brewers have at home this season, carrying a fourth-worst wRC+ in the National League.
Overall, Escobar is a fantastic fit for Milwaukee and their home ballpark. They should be able to move the 32-year-old all around the field to keep his bat in the lineup, which should continue to drive in runs. This is a situation where it may be appropriate to buy high if your league’s trade deadline has not passed.
There are very few players that are traded at the deadline to Oakland who wind up receiving a park upgrade, but Starling Marte could very well be that guy. Not that either place is a picnic in the park, but let’s dive in to see what should be expected.
Marte is batting .306/.408/.444 with seven home runs, 11 doubles, and 26 stolen bases over 274 at-bats. Playing in a large park has never been an issue for the 32-year-old because it played into his speed as an overall asset. The good news in that department is that Marte is essentially moving from one canyon to another with an expected home run total that matches his current tally.
The speedy outfielder is not leaned heavily in his spray chart and uses the entire field. This is a fantastic approach to have as a player who utilizes his legs but Marte also appears to use the entire field for his power as well from left field to right-center. Marlins Park carries a 90/99 HR/2B score from RotoFanatic for right-handed hitters, but with especially low grades of 68 and 73 out in left and left-center. This is where the slight upgrade may come for Marte as the Oakland Coliseum sees a bump up to 94 in left-center and 97 in right-center. It may not be much, but it’s the difference between the 25th park and 15th. If you go back and look at the spray chart you will notice that a couple of Marte’s home runs may have left the yard in Oakland earlier this season.
Overall this is a mostly lateral movement for Starling Marte, but he is joining a superior Athletics lineup that is sure to give a boost to his counting stats. The only downside is that Oakland simply runs less than the Marlins which could lead to fewer opportunities to earn stolen bases. The Marlins are second in the major leagues with 76 stolen bases while Oakland sits as the 14th team with 48 steals.
The Nationals had their own fire sale at the trade deadline, shipping off Trea Turner, Max Scherzer, Kyle Schwarber, Brad Hand, Daniel Hudson, Yan Gomes, Jon Lester, and Josh Harrison. Schwarber was dealt northeast to the Red Sox which was an interesting fit, to say the least. Fenway is not known for being too friendly to left-handed power hitters (Big Papi excluded) while the Boston outfield appears to have no available vacancy.
These things tend to work themselves out though and the 28-year-old is still on the injured list with a hamstring injury at the moment. Let’s assume that Boston fits Scwarber into their everyday lineup, what should you expect? The left-handed slugger had an incredible span between June 12-29 batting .348 with 16 home runs and a 1.446 OPS, but he did so at Nationals Park which draws a 111 home run score from Baseball Savant’s park factors. The move to Fenway Park drops that score all the way to 87.
If you look at Schwarber’s spray chart for the 2021 season overlayed at Fenway, there does not seem to be a major issue. If anything he looks like a prime candidate to take advantage of the Pesky Pole in right field which sits 302 feet from home plate. Not that Schwarber is a massive pull-hitter. The left-hander carried a 43.6 percent pull rate and 35.8 percent rate to center while launching a good number of his home runs to the opposite field.
According to RotoFanatic’s Park Factor’s, Fenway as a whole gets scored at an 84 for left-handed power (28th ballpark) while Nationals Park comes in at a 99 as the 14th ranked ballpark. This assumes that the hitter is going primarily to right-field (380 feet). However, Fenway does have a favorable right-center field before it’s massive 420 foot cavern in dead center.
Overll this is going to likely be a wash for Kyle Schwarber, who is tied for the 13th longest average home distance in major league baseball. Expect to see some opposite field bombs over the Green Monster and a few cheap flys jump over the right field wall, but also expect to have a few die in center at the warning track.