After diving into pitching park factors, the big park factor we all care about for hitters is homers. But we’re not just stopping at overall park factors but focusing instead on how they impact lefty and righty hitters. For pitchers, runs are more important than homers but if your hurler is homer-prone, take heed, especially with opposite side homer factors.
Let’s start with the parks that help LEFTY POWER the most, with the percentage of HR increase in that park on average the past three seasons, according to FantasyPros:
Miller (MIL): 61.7% more homers for lefties since 2014
Yankee Stadium: 50.7%
Great American (CIN): 21.8%
Camden Yards: 19.8%
U.S. Cellular (CWS): 15.7%
No other park over 15%
And here are the parks that help RIGHTY POWER the most:
Coors: 38.1% more homers for righties since 2014
Yankee Stadium: 25.8%
Citizens (PHI): 22.5%
No other park over 15%
Some parks have split personalities, where they hurt hitters on one side of the plate but not the other. Those parks are:
Just bad for LEFTIES:
Wrigley: Down 16.5% for lefties (up 16% for righties)
Fenway: Down 21.6% for lefties (up 10.2% for righties)
Target (MIN): Down 9.8% for lefties (up 10.6% for righties)
Just bad for RIGHTIES:
PNC (PIT): Down 24.2% for righties (up 1.6% for lefties)
Tropicana (TAM): Down 16% for righties (up 1.4% for lefties)
Busch (STL): Down 13.6% for righties (neutral for lefties)
Some recommendations based on this data:
Travis Shaw (CI, Brewers) is a much better value than ADP forecasts (245 on Yahoo). Steamer says 15 homers in 347 at bats. Last year, he hit 16 in 480 at bats playing at Fenway, which kills lefty power (he hit seven homers there). This year, he should hit about 80% more home homers, let’s call that plus-6. So my projection for Shaw, based on park factors, if they are predictive, is 22 homers over the same number of at bats. He should get more a-bats as well so give him 25 homers.
Scott Schebler (OF, Reds): He had nine homers in 257 at bats but is slated to be the everyday left fielder in a park where his lefty power plays great. He had 28 and 27 homer seasons in the minors. He could match that this year. Steamer is only giving him only 17 in 400 at bats.
Andrew Benintendi (OF, Red Sox): I think Steamer is right with their projection of 10 homers for him. He doesn’t have plus power and the park is going to hurt him. So the market and especially the expert market ($20 this weekend in Mixed Tout Wars) seems irrationally exuberant for Benintendi, who only has middling speed, too.
Eric Hosmer (1B, Royals): Hit 25 last year and Steamer is giving him 22. I see mid-to-high teens at best, given the park and also his ground-ball ways (1.44 grounders per fly ball, nearly twice the big-league average).
Kyle Schwarber (C/OF, Cubs): Obviously has light-tower power but some projections are for 35 homers and there is only one lefty batter in Cubs history who has smacked 35-plus homers, Hall of Famer Billy Williams (1970 and 1972). I’m with Steamer, who is giving him 27 in 463 ABs.
Greg Bird (Yankees): I am tempted to fade Bird but the reports are so glowing and I know a lot of the writers so I trust coaches and scouts comparing his swing to John Olerud’s. The projections are tightly grouped with a composite of 22 homers. But he had 11 in 157 at bats in 2015 (he missed all of 2016 with an injury). And just five of those came at Yankee Stadium. Bird has seven blasts this spring. It’s not my style, but if you try to catch some helium with him, I can’t blame you. And if someone does it cheap in a league I’m in (ADP is 230), I’m worried.