Park effects could play a bigger part of fantasy baseball down the stretch.
Rather than discuss the merits of the White Sox's temporary carousel at designated hitter (A.J. Pierzynski and Dayan Viciedo should see the bulk of the time there with Adam Dunn subbing at first), I thought it might be more interesting/useful to take a more macro look at the rest of the season. More specifically, which parks have been the best and worst for hitters of both hands in 2012, and which teams will be visiting before the end of the season? We have reached the point in the calendar where there will be few repeat visitors, but that also means a park's effect will be less distributed the rest of the way out. Only a handful of batters will be able to take advantage of Coors' thin air, and only some select pitchers will benefit from the power-free confines on the west coast.
With only six weeks left on the season, thinking about the extremities of location can help inform your roster decisions to squeeze the potential out of every start.
Below are the top five and bottom five parks for home runs and OPS for batters from each side of the place. The calculations really are not a true "park effect," since the home team's lineup construction provide a pretty large bias, but these numbers should give you a good idea of where the hitting is good, and where it is not so much. Instead of using total home runs, I divided plate appearances by number of home runs to calculate a home run rate (or plate appearance between home runs).
COL - .835 MIL - .808 TOR - .792 MIN - .785 BOS - .781
TOR - 24.59 MIL - 25.68 CHW - 28.56 MIN - 28.81 BAL - 28.99
The Rockies play 23 more games at home this season, and no team is slated to visit for more than a series. Out-of-division foes scheduled to arrive include the Brewers, Marlins and Cubs. Every in-division foe will be in town for a three-game set.
Yankee Stadium, which boasts the best home-run rate split, will host 22 more regular season games in 2012. The Red Sox and Blue Jays will be in town for six games apiece, the Rangers will be around for four, and the Orioles, Rays and A's have three-game series scheduled.
The Twins have 23 more home games on tap, with the Tigers the lone opponent scheduled for six more games. The Mariners and Indians will both be in town for four, and the Royals, White Sox and Yankees will see three games here.
There will be 22 more games played in Milwaukee's Miller Park without a single repeat opponent. The Phillies, Braves, Mets and Padres will all visit before season's end, while the only NL Central opponents remaining are the Pirates, Cubs and Astros. That means the Cardinals and Reds will not profit from Milwaukee's hospitality for right-handed batters.
The Reds play 24 more home games in 2012, with all five NL Central opponents scheduled to visit for three game soirees. Also on the slate: the Phillies, Dodgers and Mets. Let your lefties know.
Boston missed the cut for power, but hitters of both handedness have hit well there in general. Fenway Park sits vacant this week, and the stadium will only be open 18 more times this season. All four AL East opponents will visit in September, but the Rays' series will only last two games. The Angels and Royals both visit for three-game sets in August.
Homer-happy U.S. Cellular field will host 23 more games in 2012. The Tigers will spend four evenings here, and every other AL Central foe will visit for three games each. The Rays will wrap up September here with a four-game series, and the Yankees and Mariners will also be by for three.
Arlington, Texas, will be the setting for 23 more professional baseball games in 2012. Every AL West foe will visit, but none will do so until the second week of September. Also scheduled to visit are Baltimore, Minnesota (for four), Tampa and Cleveland.
The west coast has been exceptionally hard on left-handed power this season, and the Giants' park by the bay has been absurdly difficult on those batters. AT&T park will be the host for 23 more games, with the Diamondbacks leading the way with six games over two September series. The Rockies and Braves both swing by for four, while the Nationals, Padres and Dodgers will play three each here.
Petco has also been death to would be left-handed sluggers this season, with over a 100 plate appearances lapsing between their home runs. Unfortunately, the Padres host another 24 contests before season's end. The Giants will play six games here, including a three-game set to close the year, while the Pirates, Braves, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Rockies and Dodgers have three more dates in San Diego.
Safeco has sapped the OPS of batters of both hands of their power this season, and it should continue to do so 27 more times this season. The Angels will visit for six games, and the Rangers, Orioles, A's, Red Sox, Indians, Twins and Rays will all be in Seattle for three.
Right-handed batters heading to Cleveland will be in trouble 22 more times this season. The Indians' four AL Central foes will all play three-game series here in September, and the Yankees (three games), A's (four) and Rangers (three) will precede them.
The Angels' park has been a bit rough on lefties in 2012, and teams will play 26 more games in Anaheim this summer. The Rays and A's will both visit for four, and the Indians, Red Sox, Tigers, Rangers, White Sox and Mariners will be in town for three.
PNC Park ranks in the bottom-five for right-handed batters in both OPS and home run rate, and it will continue to do so for 25 more games this season. The Brewers are the only team scheduled to drop by for more than a single series (they will play six games here), and the Dodgers will be in town this week for four. The Cardinals, Cubs, Astros, Reds and Braves will all be in town for three, with the Braves' series concluding the season.
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