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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Ballpark Effect

Guest Post

Author - bjshumacher


I’m always looking for ways to analyze teams and their performances. I’m an engineer by trade, so I’m a numbers guy. I love playing with and analyzing statistics, looking for the next big edge. I also love sports. I guess that’s why I love baseball so much. THE best sport for statistics geeks like me.

Recently, I was curious to see which teams are performing the best so far this season - more than just looking at their current W-L records. But since each team plays their home games in different parks, this was difficult to do just by glancing at their Team OPS or ERA numbers. Playing in Albuquerque is much different than playing in Seattle. So I decided to come up with a ‘normalized’ performance rating for each team, compared to the ballparks they played in. I looked at both hitting and pitching, 83 games into the season. Here’s how things went:

The Ballparks

In order to come up with a somewhat normalized method of comparing home field performance, I first looked at the ballparks. As we know, each ballpark is rated for production in singles, doubles, triples, and home runs. Using this, I gave each park an overall rating in terms of total bases. In other words, each rating point for singles is worth 1 point, each rating point for doubles is worth 2 points, etc. I added all these together to get a total “O” Rating, or Offensive Rating. I then ranked the parks from 1 to 32 based on their O Rating. Finally, I flipped things around and ranked the parks from 1 to 32 in terms of pitcher friendliness, or “P” Rank. That is, the ballpark with the lowest O Rating is the highest ranked park for pitcher friendliness.

As you can see, with an O Rating of 53, WhatifSports Field in Santa Fe is the best park to hit in, by a fairly large margin. And contrary to what some people might think, Isotopes Park in Albuquerque is not the second best park to hit in. Durham Bulls Athletic Park gets that distinction, with an O Rating of 37. Isotopes is third.

The best park to pitch in, by far, is Mustain Stadium in Burlington, with an O Rating of -51. Burlington is followed by Wichita and Seattle as having the best ballparks to pitch in (and worst to hit in).

BALLPARKS

Ballpark

Franchise

Park O Rating

Park O Rank

Park P Rank

WhatIfSports Field

SFE Rattlers

53

1

32

Durham Bulls Athletic Park

DUR Outliers

37

2

31

Isotopes Park

ALB Albatross

28

3

30

Herschel Greer Stadium

NAS Sound

18

4

29

Ameriquest Field in Arlington

TEX Long Riders

16

5

28

Fenway Park

BOS Black Sox

14

6

27

Humphrey Metrodome

MIN Miracles

10

7

26

Volcanoes Stadium

SAL Eruption

8

8

25

Miller Park

MIL High Life

6

9

24

Turner Field

ATL Braves

5

10

23

U.S. Cellular Field

CH2 Pale Hose

2

11

22

Alliance Bank Stadium

SYR Siege

0

12

20

The Diamond

RIC Pine Riders

0

12

17

Nat Bailey Stadium

VC Wolf Eels

0

12

19

Frontier Field

ROC Red Wings

0

12

18

Waterfront Park

TRE Thunder

0

12

21

Kauffman Stadium

KC Monarchs

-2

17

15

Tropicana Field

TB Acers

-2

17

16

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

BAL YardBirds

-3

19

14

Yankee Stadium (II)

NY1 Yankees

-5

20

13

McCoy Stadium

PAW Fire Cats

-8

21

11

Conte Yard

CHY Cattle Prod

-8

21

12

Comerica Park

DET Bombers

-9

23

10

Fifth Third Field

TOL Mud Hens

-10

24

8

Angel Stadium

LAA Tiger Blood

-10

24

9

Cashman Field

LV Outlaws

-12

26

7

Aloha Stadium

HON Sharks

-13

27

6

Busch Stadium (II)

STL Cardinals

-17

28

5

Rosenblatt Stadium

OMA Oracles

-24

29

4

Safeco Field

SEA Penguins

-26

30

3

Lawrence-Dumont Stadium

WIC Learjets

-29

31

2

Mustain Stadium

BUR Northern

-51

32

1

Home Offense

Now that I’ve compared the ballparks, I can now compare the teams’ offensive production on a more level playing field. I looked at each team’s OPS, and ranked them from 1 to 32. I then compared the teams’ OPS Rank to the ballpark O Rank, and took the difference of the two. For example, for St Louis, they hit in the 28th best park for offense, but they have the 10th best team OPS. So their Team Offense Power Rating is 28 – 10, or 18.

Using this simplified method of comparing offenses, the St Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, and Wichita Learjets have the most potent offensive teams, whereas Atlanta, Trenton, and Nashville have the least potent offenses. Durham, Albuquerque, and Boston have a Team Offense Power rating of zero, which means their offenses perform exactly as any average offense should perform in their ballparks.

OFFENSIVE POWER

Franchise

Ballpark O Rank

Team OPS Rank

Team Offense Power

STL Cardinals

28

10

18

NY1 Yankees

20

5

15

WIC Learjets

31

16

15

PAW Fire Cats

21

10

11

OMA Oracles

29

19

10

HON Sharks

27

20

7

KC Monarchs

17

12

5

RIC Pine Riders

12

7

5

TEX Long Riders

5

1

4

BUR Northern

32

28

4

SYR Siege

12

9

3

LAA Tiger Blood

24

21

3

SEA Penguins

30

27

3

MIL High Life

9

8

1

DUR Outliers

2

2

0

ALB Albatross

3

3

0

BOS Black Sox

6

6

0

TOL Mud Hens

24

26

-2

ROC Red Wings

12

15

-3

SFE Rattlers

1

4

-3

SAL Eruption

8

13

-5

BAL YardBirds

19

24

-5

TB Acers

17

23

-6

LV Outlaws

26

32

-6

CH2 Pale Hose

11

18

-7

MIN Miracles

7

14

-7

DET Bombers

23

30

-7

CHY Cattle Prod

21

29

-8

VC Wolf Eels

12

22

-10

NAS Sound

4

16

-12

TRE Thunder

12

25

-13

ATL Braves

10

31

-21

Home Pitching

Now let’s look at the pitchers. Using the same method as I did for offense, I compared the ballparks’ P Rank to the home team’s pitching performance, using team ERA as the comparing statistic. Again, I took the difference between the Ballpark P Rank and the Team ERA Rank to get a Team Pitching Power rating. The Durham Outliers, playing in the second toughest ballpark to pitch in, have the league’s third-best Team ERA. This gives them an impressive Team Pitching Power rating of 28. Durham is followed by Salem and Vancouver as having the best team pitching at home, at least up to this point in the season.

And St Louis, who had the best Offensive Power Rating, has the worst Pitching Power Rating, with a score of -20. St Louis is followed by two teams in the AL North – Seattle and Detroit – as having the least effective pitching to date. New York, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe have very ‘average’ pitching staffs compared to their home ballparks.

PITCHING POWER

Franchise

Ballpark P Rank

Team ERA Rank

Team Pitching Power

DUR Outliers

31

3

28

SAL Eruption

25

4

21

VC Wolf Eels

19

1

18

SYR Siege

20

5

15

ATL Braves

23

8

15

KC Monarchs

15

2

13

RIC Pine Riders

17

10

7

TRE Thunder

21

14

7

CHY Cattle Prod

12

6

6

NAS Sound

29

23

6

TEX Long Riders

28

24

4

CH2 Pale Hose

22

18

4

ROC Red Wings

18

17

1

TB Acers

16

15

1

NY1 Yankees

13

13

0

ALB Albatross

30

30

0

SFE Rattlers

32

32

0

TOL Mud Hens

8

10

-2

MIN Miracles

26

28

-2

MIL High Life

24

27

-3

BOS Black Sox

27

31

-4

LV Outlaws

7

12

-5

BUR Northern

1

7

-6

WIC Learjets

2

9

-7

PAW Fire Cats

11

19

-8

LAA Tiger Blood

9

20

-11

OMA Oracles

4

16

-12

HON Sharks

6

21

-15

BAL YardBirds

14

29

-15

DET Bombers

10

26

-16

SEA Penguins

3

21

-18

STL Cardinals

5

25

-20

Overall Power Ratings

So as a final comparison in all of this number-crunching, I added the Team Offense Power and the Team Pitching Power to get the overall Team Power Ratings.

Durham, who has an offensive power rating of zero, more than makes up for it with their team pitching rating of 28. This gives them the best overall score, with an Overall Team Power rating of 28. Durham is followed by Syracuse and Kansas City, coming in with an overall score of 18. And I’m sorry, Detroit. Your Overall Team Power rating of -23 comes in dead last. Baltimore is not much better at -20, followed by Seattle at -15.

Who is the most ‘normal’ team in the league? Yes, it’s Albuquerque. With an offense rating of zero, and a pitching rating of zero, their Overall Team Power rating is…..zero. Albuquerque is the quintessential average team playing in that ballpark.

OVERALL TEAM POWER

Franchise

Team Offense Power

Team Pitching Power

Overall Team Power

DUR Outliers

0

28

28

SYR Siege

3

15

18

KC Monarchs

5

13

18

SAL Eruption

-5

21

16

NY1 Yankees

15

0

15

RIC Pine Riders

5

7

12

TEX Long Riders

4

4

8

VC Wolf Eels

-10

18

8

WIC Learjets

15

-7

8

PAW Fire Cats

11

-8

3

ALB Albatross

0

0

0

BUR Northern

4

-6

-2

STL Cardinals

18

-20

-2

CHY Cattle Prod

-8

6

-2

ROC Red Wings

-3

1

-2

MIL High Life

1

-3

-2

OMA Oracles

10

-12

-2

CH2 Pale Hose

-7

4

-3

SFE Rattlers

-3

0

-3

TOL Mud Hens

-2

-2

-4

BOS Black Sox

0

-4

-4

TB Acers

-6

1

-5

TRE Thunder

-13

7

-6

NAS Sound

-12

6

-6

ATL Braves

-21

15

-6

HON Sharks

7

-15

-8

LAA Tiger Blood

3

-11

-8

MIN Miracles

-7

-2

-9

LV Outlaws

-6

-5

-11

SEA Penguins

3

-18

-15

BAL YardBirds

-5

-15

-20

DET Bombers

-7

-16

-23

Summary

So how does all of this compare to the teams’ current winning percentages? Durham, who has the best Overall Team Power rating, also had the best winning percentage in the majors up to this point (83 games played), cruising along at a .675 winning percentage. Syracuse and Kansas City have winning percentages of .651 and .663, respectively, and each lead their respective divisions.

Detroit, with the lowest Overall Team Power rating, also has the lowest winning percentage, at .325. Baltimore and Seattle are winning games at a .373 clip. And Albuquerque, who leads their division, only has a record of 42-41. Very ‘average’.

How can we use all of this information? Heck, I don’t know, but it was fun to do. Like I said, I’m a numbers guy. I guess owners can look at these results to help determine where they need more help in the future, or just bask in the glow of having the best power rating in the league.

bjschumacher

Chicago Pale Hose

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