Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Citizens Bank: 2005 Park Factors
Home Runs: 119
Runs Scored: 111
Batting Average: 109
I’ve taken these numbers from the 2006 Bill James Handbook, my favored tool for park factor information because, unlike ESPN’s numbers, Bill James subtracts inter-league games that skew numbers because of the use of the DH.
The numbers essentially mean that it was 19% easier to hit a home run at Citizens than an average park, 11% easier to score a run, 9% easier to get a hit, 8% easier to get a double. James takes what teams hit at Citizens, multiplies the numbers and compares it to what they hit elsewhere. A 100 is a neutral number. 99 and below skews to the defense, 101 and above skews to the offense.
Before I compare anything else, scope out the old 2004 numbers I got from the ’05 book:
Citizens Bank: 2004 Park Factors
Home Runs: 123
Runs Scored: 109
Batting Average: 101
The thing that got me, as I chewed over the numbers, was how consistent those numbers – especially Home Runs and Runs Scored – are from 2004 to 2005.
2004 / 2005 difference:
Home Runs: -4% in ‘05
Runs: +2% in ‘05
Batting Average: +8% in ‘05
Aside from Home Runs, they all went up. Check out the rankings from 2004 and 2005 for Citizens as compared with other NL parks:
2004 vs. 2005 (of 16 parks)
Home Runs: 3rd / 3rd
Runs Scored: 3rd / 3rd
Batting Average: T-5th* / 2nd
Doubles: 13th / 6th
* tied with two other stadiums (PNC Park & Busch Stadium) for fifth.
Initially I had argued that Citizens wasn’t a hitters park so much as it was a home run hitters park: the BA factor was a negligible 101, Doubles were a pitching-friendly 90, and the 109 Run Scored Factor I chalked up to the formidable 123 Home Runs Factor the park had.
I’m willing to soften my position here because the year-two data reinforces the argument that Citizens is a pitcher-killing park. Home Runs and Runs Scored remained constant, but Batting Average and Doubles jumped in a big way. I had expected the numbers to remain constant, or to decline a little. I hadn’t expected them to move in the other direction.
To me the batting average data is the smoking gun: I chalk up runs scored to home runs, but the batting average is a killer because that doesn’t really rely on how close the fences are, or how favorable the wind is in centerfield. Batting average indicates that a place is favorable to get a hit, to get on base, to prolong an inning, to get a chance to score. Initially my argument had been that while Citizens was favorable to home run hitters, it wasn’t a “hitters park” like Coors Field where offense across-the-board benefits from the park. Sure, you can hit home runs, but regular hits and things like doubles were hard to come by.
I was wrong. So far. The two-year data indicates that Citizens is a nice place to be a hitter: the ball carries for home runs, and it drops enough for regular hits. I’m curious about what the 2006 data says, and then I think we can issue a definitive statement about Citizens effect on the Phillies offense. Until then let the debate rage on …
In other words, it makes the home/road splits look even worse.
As Tom pointed out, the fact that so many of our road games are in extreme pitchers parks skews perceptions.
Pawnking: damn straight, which is why I was going to hold off in conceding defeat here. Maybe the 3-year #s will say something different, but I doubt it. The increase in the numbers is what caught me by surprise.