Park Factors- Is Busch Stadium a Hitters Park or Pitchers Park?

It is time to examine how Busch Stadium plays. What is meant is “how do the numbers stack up” when compared to the rest of the National League. This will tell you whether a park is favorable to hitters or to pitchers compared to the other parks. A park with an index of 100 is considered neutral and can be said to have no effect on the stat. An index above 100 means the ballpark favors the statistic. If a home run index of 118 is listed for a ballpark, it is 18% easier to hit a home run in the stadium. If it is listed as 78 for an index then it is 22% harder to smash a long ball in that park.

Today we will compare home runs, left handed batting hitting home runs, right handed batters hitting homers and batting average for all teams and then again using left or right handed batters to compare.

National League Home Runs by Park (see Index above)

TEAMS Index
Phillies 148
Reds 131
Brewers 124
Mets 112
Rockies 111
Cubs 110
Diamondbacks 99
Dodgers 98
Padres 94
Braves 94
Cardinals 87
Nationals 81
Giants 77
Pirates 68
Marlins 64

Analysis:  The Cardinals are at the top of the bottom third of all NL ballparks in frequency of home runs hit at their home ballpark. It is 13% harder than average (100%) to hit a home run at Busch Stadium. Looking at other park, in particular the NL Central, we find the Reds lead the way with Brewers in the top third and the Cubs above average in home run frequency. The Pirates are way down and as we progress through these numbers we find them relatively low in most offensive categories at PNC Park.

Left-Handed Batters Home Runs by Park

TEAMS INDEX
Phillies 153
Reds 130
Padres 130
Braves 114
Dodgers 109
Brewers 108
Mets 108
Cubs 104
Rockies 104
Diamondbacks 97
Cardinals 81
Pirates 79
Nationals 79
Giants 65
Marlins 53

Analysis:  Joey Votto and Ryan Howard should be pumped that it is easier to hit dingers when at home. Nine of the fifteen parks are above the neutral zone (100) and there is a big divide between the 97 and 81. The Cardinal left-handers have to battle for a home run.

 

Right Handed Batters Home Runs by Park

TEAMS INDEX
Phillies 144
Brewers 137
Reds 133
Rockies 115
Mets 114
Cubs 114
Diamondbacks 101
Dodgers 93
Cardinals 91
Giants 85
Braves 83
Nationals 82
Padres 77
Marlins 72
Pirates 61

Analysis: As soon as I made this chart I had two names that came to mind. The first was Ryan Braun and the high number associated with Miller Park. He may be helped by it for sure. The other is Andrew McCutchen and how difficult it is to home at PNC Park. I remember that first few weeks of the season he remarked that the new park was where “flyballs go to die”. The Cardinals edges up a bit for the righties, like Holliday and Molina and Craig. Still doesn’t get to the neutral zone.

 

National League Batting Average Comparisons by Ballparks

TEAMS INDEX
Rockies 110
Nationals 109
Cubs 109
Brewers 107
Marlins 101
Braves 100
Diamondbacks 99
Pirates 99
Dodgers 98
Reds 97
Phillies 97
Cardinals 96
Giants 96
Padres 90
Mets 89

Analysis: We have all heard about Coors Field being a hitters’ park and this doesn’t do anything to dispel that thought. What is surprising is only six parks are above the neutral zone (100) and many others hover in the high 90’s except PETCO and CITI Field. The Cardinals are in the bottom third and are last in the National League Central in batting average in their park.

 

Left Handed Batters Average Comparison by Parks

TEAMS INDEX
Cubs 117
Braves 107
Brewers 106
Nationals 104
Phillies 103
Rockies 102
Cardinals 101
Giants 101
Marlins 100
Padres 99
Dodgers 99
Diamondbacks 99
Reds 95
Pirates 94
Mets 85

Analysis: I wouldn’t want to be a left-handed hitter going to CITI Field. IT was the most difficult place to hit for average in the National League. The Cubs (Wrigley Field) was the best place (think Rizzo)for average and it was a clear 10% better than the next park(Turner Field). The Cardinals finally find a stat that puts them over the neutral zone (100). I guess that is good news for Matt Carpenter.

 

Right Handed Batters Average Comparison by Ballparks

TEAMS INDEX
Rockies 115
Nationals 114
Brewers 107
Cubs 103
Pirates 102
Marlins 102
Reds 100
Diamondbacks 99
Dodgers 96
Braves 95
Mets 93
Giants 93
Cardinals 92
Phillies 92
Padres 85

Analysis: Why is PETCO Park 15% harder for a right-hander to hit for average? The National League finds fewer parks above the neutral (100) zone that below it. The Cardinals are in the bottom three and are last in the NL Central for righties.

 

Let’s examine each National League Park for home run distance (field dimensions).

Ballpark Left Field Center Field Right Field
Chase Field- Arizona 330 407 334
Turner Field- Atlanta 335 401 330
Wrigley Field- Chicago 355 400 353
Great American Ballpark- Cincinnati 328 404 325
Coors Field- Denver 347 415 350
Dodger Stadium- LA 330 395 330
Marlins Park- Miami 340 416 335
Miller Park- Milwaukee 344 400 345
Citi Field- New York 335 408 330
Citizens Bank Park- Philadelphia 329 401 329
PNC Park- Pittsburgh 325 399 320
PETCO Park- San Diego 336 396 322
AT&T Park- San Francisco 339 399 309
Busch Stadium- STL 336 400 335
Nationals Park- Washington 336 403 335

Analysis: Dimensions are interesting to look at. I am amazed at the relatively short distances of the fences at PNC Park and yet it is next-to-last in home runs. What is causing that? I read in my research that many locals believe the new construction in the area has caused this. Wrigley Field has the deepest left field, Citi Field is deepest in center and Wrigley Field is the deepest park in right field. Yet, Wrigley Field is the 6th easiest in the National League to hit a home run. The Cardinals are rather standard in their dimensions and yet they are 11th. Will the new Ballpark Village have an effect on home runs to left field?

ll Stats used are from Bill James Handbook.