In football, there is something to be said about home field advantage.
It’s one reason why teams put their million-dollar investments on the line late in the season as they jockey to host as many playoff games as possible. They want to play in front of their fans … the noise level alone can act as an extra player on the field.
In baseball, home field advantage is less about the fans and more about the dimensions.
Having a general idea of which ballparks provide a general edge to pitchers or hitters can be a useful tool while filling out your fantasy roster.
Before discussing some of the best hitters and pitchers parks, however, here is a small word of caution: Stud players will produce no matter where they’re playing. Put them in a shoebox or the Chesapeake Bay, they’ll still perform at an elite level.
For the rest, consider the following:
Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees) is epitome of a hitter’s haven. The new stadium was a fireworks display of leather baseballs in 2009 … its first season of existence. In fact, 237 homers were produced at Yankee Stadium in 2009 – a solid 22 more than the next-highest ballpark.
Rangers Ballpark (Texas Rangers) was the home of the league’s second-highest home run total in 2009. Regardless of a less-than-stellar offensive showing by the Rangers last season, their home field finished in the top three in slugging percentage, not to mention home runs.
Coors Field (Colorado Rockies) was the league’s punchline for much of the late 90s as baseballs seemed to soar in the thinner air of Mile High City. A humidor has put a sizeable dent in the home run totals, but the park still sees ample runs scored and a high slugging percentage.
Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies) is the home of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, so on the surface, it may seem that landing on this list is a foregone conclusion. However, it was the park’s third-place finish in home runs allowed and ranking seventh in slugging percentage that has made the City of Brotherly Love also the City of Big Bats.
Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles) is home to plenty of baseball history, and whether or not the Orioles woeful pitching had anything to do with it last season or not, the ballpark saw significant jumps in home runs and slugging percentage.
PETCO Park (San Diego Padres) may not boast a potential home-team offense, and somewhat inconsistent pitching at times, but was in the bottom three in home runs, runs scored and slugging percentage in 2009.
AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants) may have lost Barry Bonds, but there is much more than that at play at a stadium where it is harder to gain extra base hits than it is to find New York Yankee fans.
Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles Dodgers) is the third of three NL-West clubs on this list, even though the numbers were slightly better than the teams 30th ranking in 2008 hitters park rankings.
Target Field (Minnesota Twins) gone is the Metrodome and also the cozy indoor atmosphere. The outdoor environment and the Twins continued penchant for finding solid pitching support will keep the new Target Field a pitcher’s paradise.
Safeco Field (Seattle Mariners) is home to an improved lineup in 2010, but also a dominating Cliff pitching on the same club as Felix Hernandez. The ballpark finished last season in the bottom five in both runs scored and slugging percentage.
What are your opinions on ballparks and their affect on fantasy baseball stats? Think a ballpark should be included in one of these lists? Taken out of one of them? Make your case in the comments below.