Park Factors Pt 1- How Does Busch Stadium “Play”? -Check the Stats!

Park Factors- How Does Busch Stadium “Play”? Check the Numbers! Part One

 Busch_Stadium_Panorama_Crop

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)

TEAMSIndex
Phillies148
Reds131
Brewers124
Mets112
Rockies111
Cubs110
Diamondbacks99
Dodgers98
Padres94
Braves94
Cardinals87
Nationals81
Giants77
Pirates68
Marlins64

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

TEAMSINDEX
Phillies153
Reds130
Padres130
Braves114
Dodgers109
Brewers108
Mets108
Cubs104
Rockies104
Diamondbacks97
Cardinals81
Pirates79
Nationals79
Giants65
Marlins53

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

TEAMSINDEX
Phillies144
Brewers137
Reds133
Rockies115
Mets114
Cubs114
Diamondbacks101
Dodgers93
Cardinals91
Giants85
Braves83
Nationals82
Padres77
Marlins72
Pirates61

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

TEAMSINDEX
Rockies110
Nationals109
Cubs109
Brewers107
Marlins101
Braves100
Diamondbacks99
Pirates99
Dodgers98
Reds97
Phillies97
Cardinals96
Giants96
Padres90
Mets89

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

TEAMSINDEX
Cubs117
Braves107
Brewers106
Nationals104
Phillies103
Rockies102
Cardinals101
Giants101
Marlins100
Padres99
Dodgers99
Diamondbacks99
Reds95
Pirates94
Mets85

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

TEAMSINDEX
Rockies115
Nationals114
Brewers107
Cubs103
Pirates102
Marlins102
Reds100
Diamondbacks99
Dodgers96
Braves95
Mets93
Giants93
Cardinals92
Phillies92
Padres85

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).

BallparkLeft FieldCenter FieldRight Field
Chase Field- Arizona330407334
Turner Field- Atlanta335401330
Wrigley Field- Chicago355400353
Great American Ballpark- Cincinnati328404325
Coors Field- Denver347415350
Dodger Stadium- LA330395330
Marlins Park- Miami340416335
Miller Park- Milwaukee344400345
Citi Field- New York335408330
Citizens Bank Park- Philadelphia329401329
PNC Park- Pittsburgh325399320
PETCO Park- San Diego336396322
AT&T Park- San Francisco339399309
Busch Stadium- STL336400335
Nationals Park- Washington336403335

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?

 

In Part Two, we will examine hitting doubles, triples and committing errors in the National League parks and how they “stack up” to each other.

Part Three examines which parks the hitters strikeout the most often, which one draws the most base-on-balls along with runs scored in each and which produces the most hits.

 

All Stats used are from Bill James Handbook.

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