Daily Fantasy Baseball’s most unique variable
When selecting players for our Daily Fantasy lineups, no matter the sport, we try to consider every possible factor that could lead to their success or failure. Baseball team owners in the early 1900s decided to be assholes and add a unique and unnecessary factor for us to consider. While every other sport decided to create regulation dimensions for their fields and courts, baseball went with a ‘do whatever you want’ approach. I’m sure some baseball purists love the distinct features of each park, but as a Daily Fantasy player I just see them as nuisances.
If a basketball player’s three point shot travels the appropriate path it will go in the hoop resulting in three fantasy points no matter what arena the shot takes place in. In baseball however, the necessary path for a home run changes ballpark to ballpark. The distance and height of a ballpark’s wall can result in a 400 foot fly ball to center field being an out in one stadium and a home run in another.
In addition to the design of a ballpark, each stadium’s location has it’s own unique weather factors. Unlike the consistency of indoor sports, weather can be a huge factor in baseball and the specifics of this will be a topic for future articles. Below we’ll be looking at the typical weather conditions of each ballpark as a whole. We’ll see how these conditions combined with ballpark design have affected offensive production over the last 4 MLB regular seasons.
Here is each MLB team ranked by runs scored from 2012-2015 in games played at home:
Now here is each team ranked by runs scored, this time in away games only:
Over the last 4 years the Colorado Rockies have led the league in runs in home games while simultaneously remaining dead last in the league in runs scored on the road.
The Rockies home ballpark, Coors Field, has one of the furthest walls in the MLB. So what causes the huge spike in offense at Coors? If you’re a sports fan, you’ve no doubt heard of Denver’s high altitude and it’s effects on sports. Coors Field’s altitude is nearly 4,700 feet higher than the average altitude of all MLB stadiums. This high altitude means decreased air density, resulting in less “drag” on batted balls, allowing them to travel further. According to the Rockies website “…the ball still travels 9 percent farther at 5,280 feet than at sea level”.
Combine the park affects of Coors Field with the fact that the Rockies pitching has ranked in the bottom 5 of the MLB (both at home and away), and you’ll likely conclude that targeting batters facing the Rockies at Coors Field is a great move when selecting lineups. Not surprisingly this has already been a widely implemented strategy since the inception of Daily Fantasy Baseball.
To better illustrate the positives and negatives of park factors, here’s the percentage of each teams offensive stats scored at home in 2012-2015 (again ranked by runs):
In case you somehow weren’t already sold on the benefits Coors Field provides, this data should do the trick. The Rockies have by far the biggest benefit in home splits in the MLB.
Coming in at second on the list is the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park. While the benefits of Coors Field are altitude related, Fenway Park provides benefits due to the structure of the ballpark. Most baseball fans know of the Green Monster in left field of Fenway Park. The Green Monster was an attempt to compensate for the shallow left field wall, where the closest point of the left field wall is only 310 feet. With the exception of ‘The Triangle‘, center field is also shallow. Direct center field is 390 feet, while the shortest distance to hitting a home run is the right field line at only 302 feet. Compared to league averages (L 332″, C 405″, R 328″) Fenway is very small. While The Green Monster stops some would be home runs, skewing Fenway’s overall home runs numbers, it also turns would be outs into singles and doubles.
Combine the shallow depth of Fenway Park with the often strong wind gusts of Boston, and targeting batters facing the Red Sox at Fenway can be a solid strategy.
Park factors are just one piece of the MLB Daily Fantasy puzzle. Attacking positive match ups at batter friendly parks like Coors or Fenway is a great MLB DFS strategy. Alternatively look to avoid batters in the less hitter friendly parks.
PICK BATTERS PLAYING AT COORS FIELD!