Here's a look at the 30 major league parks and their respective impact on hitters and pitchers.
Included for each club are park indices (PI) for left- and right-handed batters, both for average and home run hitting. We then consider how those numbers should affect the hitters and pitchers who call that stadium home, with an emphasis on newly acquired players.
Note that a stadium with a Park Index (PI) of exactly 100 is neutral and can be said to have had no affect on that particular stat. An index above 100 means the ballpark favors that statistic. For example, if a park has a right-handed home-run index of 117 (Yankee Stadium), it was 17 percent easier for righties to hit home runs in that park than the rest of the parks in that team's league. Conversely, an index less than 100 means the park suppresses the stat in question.
All Park Indices are from The Bill James Handbook 2012 and span data from 2009 to 2011 (except Target Field, which features 2010 to 2011 figures). Parks are ordered from highest to lowest total park index, which also takes into account factors like walks, strikeouts, errors, defense, etc.
EXTREME HITTERS' PARKS (PI 111+)
Rangers Ballpark - 119
Hitters: Adrian Beltre
|LHB Avg - 104 ||RHB Avg - 109|
|LHB HR - 131 ||RHB HR - 123|
's career was revitalized in 2010 as a member of the Boston Red Sox and the comeback train continued in 2011 as a Ranger, as the 32-year-old crushed 32 home runs despite playing in only 124 games. Although Beltre's power was a bit of an afterthought in Seattle (and in Los Angeles outside of his 48 home run season), he's always had significant power, and now he gets the chance to show it in one of the league's favorite parks for hitters.
Welcome to the United States, Yu Darvish
. Your first test? Pitch in one of the toughest parks to get outs in the major leagues. It seems that Darvish should have the stuff to survive and keep the ball in the park, with his mid-90s fastball and sharp breaking stuff, but the second either pitch shows any flatness? The margin for error here is small, and Darvish will have to stay within it. Don't be surprised if a few home run issues rear their ugly heads early on in his big-league career.
Coors Field - 114
|LHB Avg - 115 ||RHB Avg - 114|
|LHB HR - 129 ||RHB HR - 121|
Tales of Casey Blake
's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Blake struggled to hit for power in 63 games as a Dodger last year, hitting just four home runs, but he did manage a .342 OBP and is only one season removed from a 17-homer season. A move out of large Chavez Ravine and onto Blake Street in Colorado should have obvious positive impacts on his power. Perhaps an unexpected boost could come with the batting average as well - the Coors outfield is surprisingly large, allowing more singles to fall in on top of the home runs leaving due to the thin air.
Pitchers: Guillermo Moscoso
could be a popular sleeper pick due to his shiny 3.38 ERA. That would have been tough for him to maintain in Oakland with just a 5.2 K/9 and a ridiculously low 26.8-percent ground ball rate. Ship that to Coors, where anybody can hit a home run? It could get extremely ugly for Moscoso, assuming he is even able to make the Rockies' Opening Day rotation.
HITTERS' PARKS (PI 110-105)
NEW YORK YANKEES
Yankee Stadium - 108
|LHB Avg - 102 ||RHB Avg - 102|
|LHB HR - 143 ||RHB HR - 117|
The Curtis Granderson
breakout was inevitable. After hitting "just" 24 home runs in 2010, Granderson took full advantage of the friendliest park to left-handed batters - yes, including Coors - for a 41-homer season. There's more where that came from - Granderson showed very solid power in Detroit, where Comerica Park tends to suppress power in left-handed batters.
The Yankees shored up their starting rotation all in one day, signing Hiroki Kruroda and trading for Michael Pineda
in the course of a few hours. Both come from cavernous parks and as right-handed pitchers they could see a big rise in home runs allowed - Yankee Stadium has an overall home run factor of 131, whereas both Dodger Stadium and Safeco Field sit less than 100.
Chase Field - 106
Hitters: Paul Goldschmidt
|LHB Avg - 105 ||RHB Avg - 106|
|LHB HR - 104 ||RHB HR - 106|
showed excellent power in his debut as a Diamondback in 2011, slugging eight home runs in just 48 games and posting an excellent .224 Isolated Power (ISO, SLG-AVG). Although Goldschmidt is a righty, don't be surprised if he uses the friendly porches on both sides of the field to his advantage. Including the postseason, four of his 10 home runs went right of center, showing he has good pop to the opposite field as well as the pull field.
New addition Trevor Cahill
has used cavernous Oakland Coliseum to his advantage over the course of his career, with his minute 0.8 HR/9 the only thing keeping his ERA from ballooning over the 4.50 mark last season. Some of the effects of dry, arid Chase Field will be mitigated by facing the pitcher in the lineup and his groundball tendencies (1.3 GB/FB), but it's hard to imagine his 7.3-percent HR/FB won't go up in his first season in Arizona.
Fenway Park - 106
|LHB Avg - 104 ||RHB Avg - 109|
|LHB HR - 81 ||RHB HR - 100|
Right field this year looks to be a two-man platoon of Cody Ross
(right-handed) and Ryan Sweeney
(left-handed), and both should be assisted in coming from unfavorable west coast parks in San Francisco and Oakland, respectively. Mike Aviles
should see a similar gain as a key platoon cog at shortstop in his first full season in Boston instead of Kansas City.
Pitchers: Andrew Bailey
came to Boston in the same deal as Sweeney, and naturally he will be vulnerable to the opposite effect, with hitters potentially taking advantage of Pesky Pole and the Green Monster against him. Still, Bailey remains a great bet to put together a fourth consecutive 24-plus save season.
NEUTRAL PARKS (PI 104-96)
Oriole Park at Camden Yards - 104
|LHB Avg -106 ||RHB Avg - 101|
|LHB HR - 122 ||RHB HR - 111|
Look out for Wilson Betemit
. It's rare enough players who qualify at third base are signed strictly to DH. It's rarer still for them to move from one of the toughest home run parks in Kauffman Stadium (77 HR index) to one of the league's friendliest in Camden Yards (116 HR index). We saw a piece of what Betemit could do in his short time as a Tiger, where he hit five homers in just 120 at-bats. With consistent playing time, don't be surprised if Betemit puts together a 20-homer season, which would have incredible value in a weak 3B crop.
What happens when you take a group of fully mediocre (or worse) pitchers, throw them in the best division in baseball, and then make their home park a homer haven? Well, 860 runs allowed - 5.31 runs per game - happen. Despite just barely falling into "Neutral" status, there is nothing happy about pitching in Baltimore, whether it's an old standby like Jeremy Guthrie
or a new import like Wei-Yin Chen
Kauffman Stadium - 104
|LHB Avg - 106 ||RHB Avg - 103|
|LHB HR - 64 ||RHB HR - 89|
Although sheltered by the miasma that surrounds the Kansas City Royals, Alex Gordon
put up an MVP-caliber season in 2011, hitting .303 with 23 home runs. When Gordon was drafted, he was supposed to be an elite power hitter, but he thrived on singles and doubles last season, hitting 113 and 45, respectively. Although he shouldn't be expected to repeat a .358 BABIP, this is how hitters have to thrive in the Big K: line drives instead of fly balls, as it's simply too tough to consistently blast balls over the fences.
Pitchers: Jonathan Sanchez
was the big major leaguer added to the Royals this offseason, as he came over in the Melky Cabrera
trade. Although the locales of his former home at AT&T Park and his new home couldn't be more different, he'll find more of the same in terms of park effects - a big outfield that's very difficult for home run hitters to thrive in. Sanchez does a mediocre job of keeping the ball out of the air, but it shouldn't be too much of an issue in KC.
Rogers Centre - 104
|LHB Avg - 98 ||RHB Avg - 102|
|LHB HR - 107 ||RHB HR - 121|
Just out of sheer probability, we probably shouldn't expect Brett Lawrie
to come out at a pace of nine home runs per 150 at-bats. However, if there were anywhere for this to be a realistic possibility, Rogers Centre in Toronto is it - right-handed batters have hit 255 home runs at Rogers Centre since 2009 and such luminaries as Aaron Hill
and Alex Gonzalez
have looked like sluggers.
The bullpen was a huge issue for the Blue Jays in 2011, so one of Alex Anthopolous's first moves of the offseason was to get Sergio Santos
from the White Sox to take over closing duties. Santos is well familiar with home run-friendly ballparks, as U.S. Cellular Field is one of the few parks in the league with home run factors higher than Rogers Centre from both sides of the plate. Santos should have little trouble finding success north of the border.
Wrigley Field - 103
Hitters: Anthony Rizzo
|LHB Avg - 103 ||RHB Avg - 103|
|LHB HR - 111 ||RHB HR - 99|
should be helped monumentally by The Friendly Confines if and when he gets the call up to Chicago this season. He struggled to hit for power in Petco, but effectively any lefty who isn't Adrian Gonzalez
struggles there - with a 63 index for left-handed home runs, Petco is the toughest park for lefties to hit for power in the majors. Especially when the wind blows, Rizzo could be able to right the ship with his new squad.
Pitchers: Travis Wood
escapes Cincinnati, one of the toughest parks for lefties to pitch in. Chicago isn't a picnic, but being left-handed should somewhat neutralize the easy porch in right field.
Comerica Park - 102
Hitters: Prince Fielder
|LHB Avg - 100 ||RHB Avg - 103|
|LHB HR - 89 ||RHB HR - 102|
took a fair amount of rage out on Miller Park's Beerpen, one of the friendlier right fields in baseball. The park factor for left-handed home runs is 27 points lower in Detroit, which means Prince could be due for more 30-homer seasons than 40-homer seasons in Motown. The good news is he made a huge step forward in terms of contact last season and should be able to maintain an average at or near .300 as a Tiger, which could mean loads of runs in front of Miguel Cabrera
The Tigers return many of the same pitchers this year, save for the potential advancement of minor leaguer Jacob Turner
to the starting rotation. He struggled with home runs in his three starts at the MLB level last season, but that shouldn't be a lasting issue - he was excellent at keeping the ball in the yard in the minors and Comerica Park is tougher than most against the fly ball.
Great American Ball Park - 101
|LHB Avg - 98 ||RHB Avg - 103|
|LHB HR - 109 ||RHB HR - 132|
Great American Ball Park is a haven for right-handed batters, and the Reds will introduce two young righties at premium positions this season: Devin Mesoraco
at catcher and Zack Cozart
at shortstop. Both are highly touted prospects who should use the extremely short left-field walls to put together more power than one would expect out of such young players.
Petco made an ace out of Mat Latos
, but now he'll perform in a much more constricting stadium. The factor for home runs in Cincinnati is 1.5 times higher than in San Diego, and though Latos will pitch about half his games in the new park, it would be surprising if he maintained his home run rate of 0.8 per nine innings.
Citizens Bank Park - 101
Hitters: Hunter Pence
|LHB Avg - 100 ||RHB Avg - 98|
|LHB HR - 109 ||RHB HR - 97|
will serve his first full season as a Phillie after spending the rest of his career in Houston. Pence will miss the Crawford boxes - although the porch in Citizens Bank Park's left field is plenty short, it can't approach Houston's left field, and Pence made good use of those boxes over the years. The deeper left field fences could cost him a couple home runs per season in Philadelphia.
Pitchers: Jonathan Papelbon
was given one of the biggest relief-pitcher contracts ever to become the Phillies' new closer this offseason. Fenway and Citizens Bank Parks both play neutral for right-handed batters, but Papelbon will have to watch out for the lefties this season: he'll face plenty of left-handed pinch hitters and the park factor for left-handed home runs is 1.33 times higher in Philadelphia than in Boston.
Marlins Ballpark - N/A
Although we don't really know what kind of a stadium Mike Stanton
and company will get to hit in this season, we do know that the one they're moving out of, Sun Life Stadium, was tough on power hitters. The Marlins hit more home runs on the road than at home the last three years. With a retractable roof to keep some humidity out, it's possible we could see Miami turn into a hitters' venue, which could mean 40-plus home runs for Stanton, not to mention good news for Logan Morrison
, et al.
Pitchers: Josh Johnson
and company could see more home runs allowed, but it's possible they could also benefit from the new park, as despite having a home run factor below 100, Sun Life Stadium had an overall runs factor of 105, partly because it allowed more doubles than the typical park and, more oddly, it allowed way more walks than the typical park. Walks aren't typically seen as a park factor, but various things, such as the batter's eye and where the sun shines on the field and other such minutiae could contribute to this discrepancy from other parks, and the move to the new digs could even things out.
PNC Park - 100
|LHB Avg - 102 ||RHB Avg - 100|
|LHB HR - 92 ||RHB HR - 84|
Much like Target Field, the big outfield in Pittsburgh has the effect of adding singles, doubles and triples while taking away home runs. For a player like new shortstop Clint Barmes
, this could be helpful - even in Colorado, he typically struggled to hit home runs, lucking into a 23-homer season in 2009 but typically settling around 12. Some of his fly balls might turn into outs in Pittsburgh, but others will turn into gap doubles and could help increase his average from the .244 he posted in Houston.
Pitchers: Erik Bedard
is the new face in Pittsburgh, and though it'll be somewhat surprising if he lasts beyond the trading deadline, he should benefit from the new digs. Pittsburgh, like both Fenway Park and Safeco Field, suppresses home runs, and with the DH out of the lineup in favor of the pitcher in the National League, Bedard should have no trouble maintaining his fine 0.84 career HR/9 rate.
Minute Maid Park - 99
Hitters: Jed Lowrie
|LHB Avg - 105 ||RHB Avg - 96|
|LHB HR - 113 ||RHB HR - 108|
slots in at shortstop for the Astros this season, and he should be a huge improvement over the dregs they've played there in recent years. However, the extremely short porch provided by the Crawford Boxes in left field might not be the blessing it seems when the switch-hitter faces lefties - for every home run the short porch adds, the ridiculously deep power alleys take away at least one, and the short porch allows left fielders to play in and steal hits on short drives.
Bretty Myers struggled mightily with the home-run ball in 2011 after doing an excellent job of keeping the ball in the yard in his first season as an Astro. Which one is real? Myers posted six seasons with a higher HR/FB than his 2011 mark of 13.3 percent during his time in Philly, a similarly homer-friendly park, so don't expect him to return to his 2010 form in 2012.
Turner Field - 98
|LHB Avg -97 ||RHB Avg - 100|
|LHB HR - 102 ||RHB HR - 88|
With Alex Gonzalez
out of town, Tyler Pastornicky
's job as a rookie starting shortstop would be tough enough without a park conniving against him. However, Turner Field is just the kind of park to kill whatever power Pastornicky might show - he never managed a slugging percentage over .388 at any minor league level despite fly-ball tendencies, and he could be doomed to a season of lazy fly balls right to outfielders at spacious Turner Field.
With Derek Lowe
shipped out, the Braves will have to rely on some subset of the Mike Minor
, Julio Teheran
and Randall Delgado
trio of youngsters. Although growing pains are inevitable, Turner Field should help mask some of these problems - to go with the extremely favorable outfield, particularly for righties, Atlanta's Turner Field sees six percent more strikeouts than the typical ballpark.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
U.S. Cellular Field - 98
Hitters: Dayan Viciedo
|LHB Avg - 99 ||RHB Avg - 98|
|LHB HR - 122 ||RHB HR - 138|
was signed out of Cuba for his power potential, but in 29 games with the White Sox last season, he managed just one home run. Don't expect that to continue this season. The right-handed Viciedo slugged 20 home runs in Triple-A in both 2010 and 2011 and should use the friendly left-field fence to approach or surpass that mark with a full-time right field job in 2012.
Pitchers: Chris Sale
has been excellent as a reliever with the White Sox despite struggling a bit with walks - he takes a 3.5 career BB/9 into his first season as a starter in 2012. Although Sale has shown excellent strikeout stuff, he's also thrived on an ability to keep the ball in the ballpark. As starters have to face the lineup multiple times over and can't go full-gas for every batter, they typically see some bumps on the road, including more home runs allowed. The short porches in Chicago could make the hurdle an even tougher one for Sale to clear.
Nationals Park - 98
|LHB Avg - 102 ||RHB Avg - 99|
|LHB HR - 104 ||RHB HR - 100|
The Nationals will stick with essentially the same lineup as last year, which means more Mike Morse
for your money. Morse never hit particularly well in Seattle and probably never could have - Safeco Field is death to right-handers. But Morse has fit in well at Nationals Park, which might just win the title as the league's most neutral field.
Pitchers: Gio Gonzalez
was the big haul for the Nationals this offseason, coming over for four solid young players and then earning himself a big four-year extension on top. Gonzalez will have a bigger challenge pitching in Washington than he did in Oakland, where the huge outfield suppresses home runs, particularly for left-handed batters, better than most parks in the league. Some of this difference will be offset by getting to face pitchers, but added home runs could cost Gonzalez more than most pitchers, considering he walked the most batters of any pitcher in the majors last season.
Progressive Field - 97
Hitters: Jason Kipnis
|LHB Avg - 97 ||RHB Avg - 98|
|LHB HR - 107 ||RHB HR - 69|
showed excellent power in his 36-game stint with the Indians last year, slugging seven homers and posting a .507 slugging percentage. Although Progressive Field has been a hard place to find power hitters recently, it is much easier on left-handed hitters, which means Kipnis could carry the momentum from his first crack at the majors toward a 20-homer season in 2012.
Pitchers: Ubaldo Jimenez
struggled in his first 11 starts in Cleveland, but much of that was due to an abnormally low baserunner strand rate of 61.9 percent. He still did a solid job of striking out batters, and if he can keep that up in his first full season as an Indian, the thicker air and similarly-sized outfield in Cleveland should offset the fact that he has to face designated hitters instead of pitchers in the American League.
Miller Park - 97
|LHB Avg - 97 ||RHB Avg - 100|
|LHB HR - 116 ||RHB HR - 109|
Milwaukee retooled its infield this winter, adding two righties in Alex Gonzalez
and Aramis Ramirez
to the left side and going with a home-grown lefty in Mat Gamel
on the right side. Gamel has corrected many of his strikeout issues in the minors but has struggled with power and could be helped by the shorter left-field porch. Gonzalez hit for tremendous power in Toronto, which is a haven for righties, but then was suppressed by Turner Field, which is its polar opposite. Milwaukee provides another solid power home, which could mean 20 home runs again for the shortstop. Ramirez hit for solid power in a neutral Wrigley Field and should see a slight gain in power up I-94.
Pitchers: Zack Greinke
struggled with the home-run ball, particularly in the early part of last season, eventually working his home run rate down to an even 1.0 per nine innings, his highest since 2006. Some of that migt have been luck, but Miller Park is a much tougher place for pitchers to keep fly balls in the yard than Kauffman Stadium, and we should probably expect at least part of that jump in HR/FB (from 9.0% career to 13.6% in 2011) to remain in 2012.
O.Co Coliseum - 96
|LHB Avg - 95 ||RHB Avg - 96|
|LHB HR - 73 ||RHB HR - 91|
The Athletics acquired a bevy of young pitchers via trade this season, but they also brought in their potential right fielder of the future in Josh Reddick
. Although Boston is a much better hitters' park than Oakland, much of the benefits in Boston favor right-handers. As a lefty, Reddick shouldn't be impacted too much - maybe a slight dip in power and average, but not nearly as significant due to the difficulty of hitting for power into the Boston right-field power alley.
The Athletics added 60 percent of their rotation in trades for youngsters this offseason, bringing in Jarrod Parker
from Arizona and Brad Peacock
and Tom Milone
from Washington. Oakland is about as friendly a park as any for a pitcher to mature, as we've seen with the original A's big three (Zito, Mulder, Hudson) through pitchers like Dan Haren
, Brett Anderson
and Trevor Cahill
. If these pitchers, particularly Parker, are as talented as expected, they should be able to produce solid seasons in Oakland.
PITCHERS' PARKS (PI 95-90)
Target Field - 95
|LHB Avg - 100 ||RHB Avg - 102|
|LHB HR - 68 ||RHB HR - 83|
Target Field plays like a typical big outfield: singles and doubles hitters can thrive, but many home-run hitters see their fly balls turn to outs. This bodes poorly for Ryan Doumit
, who as a switch hitter will take most of his at-bats from the power-punished left side at Target Field. PNC Park in Pittsburgh is noted as pitcher-friendly, but it isn't nearly as restricting to left-handed batters, and Doumit isn't well-equipped to take advantage of Target Field's huge gaps. This applies to a much lesser extent to new right-fielder Josh Willingham
arriving from Oakland.
New addition Jason Marquis
should capture the fifth spot in the starting rotation. Especially given his status as a soft-tosser, switching from neutral Washington and hitter-friendly Arizona to cavernous Target Field should be a big help. He allows a ton of contact and has a career home run rate of 1.1 per nine innings, a number that should drop as a Twin.
Busch Stadium - 92
|LHB Avg - 97 ||RHB Avg - 95|
|LHB HR - 86 ||RHB HR - 73|
Being a switch-hitter doesn't particularly help new right fielder Carlos Beltran
in St. Louis, as the park turns hits into outs from foul pole to foul pole. However, the park effects of Busch Stadium are nearly identical to those of Citi Field, where Beltran spent six-and-a-half productive seasons. Just know that 30 home runs would be asking a lot of the 35-year-old.
The Cardinals bring back the entirety of their World Series winning rotation with one exception - Adam Wainwright
returns in the place of the departed Edwin Jackson
. Wainwright put up two fantastic seasons in the third Busch Stadium's first two years as the Cardinals' home, partially on the back of home run rates below 0.7 per nine innings. In a normal stadium such rates could be considered unsustainable, but the newest instance of Busch Stadium could help Wainwright keep that going upon his return from Tommy John surgery.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Angel Stadium - 91
|LHB Avg - 106 ||RHB Avg - 103|
|LHB HR - 64 ||RHB HR - 89|
It's difficult to overstate just how incredible Albert Pujols
's career with the Cardinals was. It becomes even more impressive when it is revealed how both Busch Stadiums that The Machine played in were very pitcher friendly. Even though Angel Stadium has its own pitcher-friendly tendencies, it isn't on the same level. If Albert Pujols
could hit 16 homers at Busch Stadium in a down year, the sky should be the limit at Angel Stadium.
The most shocking part of C.J. Wilson
's career as a starting pitcher for the Rangers? He only allowed 26 home runs in 427.1 innings. The last three years, the Rangers and their opponents combined to hit 617 home runs in home games against just 482 at road games. At Angel Stadium? 462 at home against 491 on the road. That bodes extremely well for Wilson's first season as an Angel.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Dodger Stadium - 91
Hitters: Mark Ellis
|LHB Avg - 98 ||RHB Avg - 96|
|LHB HR - 104 ||RHB HR - 89|
had something of a resurgence in the second half in the thin air of Colorado, hitting .274/.317/.392 after mustering just a .244/.288/.346 line in Oakland. Now that Ellis will play in Los Angeles - a very similar park to Oakland, and one that's very tough on right-handed batters - don't be surprised if his average falls back below .250.
The Dodgers added two aging pitchers to supplement Clayton Kershaw
in Aaron Harang
and Chris Capuano
. With Harang coming from San Diego and Capuano from the Mets, both are familiar with pitcher-friendly venues. Both struggled with home runs in their original homes (Cincinnati and Milwaukee), but performed significantly better in parks that suppressed home runs, and Dodger Stadium fits that role as well.
NEW YORK METS
Citi Field - 91
|LHB Avg - 98 ||RHB Avg - 94|
|LHB HR - 90 ||RHB HR - 78|
The switch-hitting Andres Torres
will take over in center field and will see a pitchers' park that mirrors his former home in San Francisco - whereas AT&T park punished lefties and was more neutral against righties, Citi Field is the opposite. With the left-handed brand seeing the most time, this should help Torres particularly in the power department. Ruben Tejada
also takes over at short, but he likely doesn't have enough power to worry about in which park he plays.
The Mets will roll with familiar faces in the starting rotation, but the back end of the bullpen is revamped following the exit of Francisco Rodriguez
. Frank Francisco
takes over the closer's role after an unfortunate season in Toronto, where the launching pad applies not only to Jays' hitters - Francisco posted a 1.2 HR/9, his highest mark since a 7.1 inning stint in 2006. The Mets are bringing in the fences, but it's still difficult to imagine the park playing any better than neutral for hitters in 2011.
AT&T Park - 91
|LHB Avg - 98 ||RHB Avg - 100|
|LHB HR - 68 ||RHB HR - 96|
The Giants added two switch-hitting outfielders to the mix in Melky Cabrera
and Angel Pagan
via trades. Both are coming from pitchers' parks in Kauffman Stadium and Citi Field, respectively, but as switch hitters they will both be adversely affected by the huge right field in front of McCovey Cove. However, as neither player thrives on the home-run ball and instead relies on gap doubles for power, it's possible the large outfield could help (or at least not hurt too much) when they're forced to hit lefty. When turned around to hit right-handed, San Francisco plays as neutrally as any field in the league.
The Giants will roll with the same pitching staff they finished with last season, including the revelation that was Ryan Vogelsong
. Although he probably won't maintain a sub-3.00 ERA this year, the combination of his solid 45-percent ground ball rate and San Francisco's natural tendencies to keep the ball in the yard should help him be productive for a second straight season.
EXTREME PITCHERS' PARKS (PI 89-)
Safeco Field - 87
|LHB Avg - 96 ||RHB Avg - 92|
|LHB HR - 101 ||RHB HR - 75|
The big news in Seattle is the coming of Jesus Montero
, acquired in one of the bigger challenge trades in recent memory for starting pitcher Michael Pineda
. In his fourth game as a major leaguer, Montero crushed his first two career home runs to the opposite field in Yankee Stadium. He'll need to show that opposite field power to reach his full potential in Seattle, because Safeco Field is crushing to right-handed power hitters.
The Mariners rotation is essentially the same unit that finished last season except with Michael Pineda
replaced with Japanese import Hisashi Iwakuma
. It's notoriously difficult to project the performance of pitchers from foreign leagues. However, Safeco Field has helped pitchers with similar 89-91 mph fastballs (such as Jason Vargas
and Doug Fister
) post solid numbers, and we could see the same with Iwakuma in 2012.
Tropicana Field - 87
|LHB Avg - 96 ||RHB Avg - 96|
|LHB HR - 98 ||RHB HR - 91|
The Rays added a pair of left-handed veterans to man first base and designated hitter for the 2012 season in Carlos Pena
and Luke Scott
. Both are coming over from hitter-friendly parks in Wrigley Field and Camden Yards, respectively, but the impact of Tropicana Field shouldn't be too heavy - the park plays roughly neutral for lefties whereas it is tough for righties to pull home runs out of The Trop.
The Rays will stick with their home grown staff and add one of the biggest talents in baseball to the mix in Matt Moore
. Moore was solid in the postseason, making a tremendous start at Texas and shutting down the Rangers. Things will be even easier at Tropicana Field, where the spacious dome and the league's best defensive squad give the fireballing lefty plenty of margin for error.
Petco Park - 81
|LHB Avg - 88 ||RHB Avg - 88|
|LHB HR - 63 ||RHB HR - 98|
After being stuck behind Joey Votto
as a Red, first-round pick Yonder Alonso
will get his chance to shine in San Diego. He'll have his work cut out for him - only one left-handed batter has had sustained success on a significant level at Petco, and that's Adrian Gonzalez
. Alonso will have to show opposite field power, as the right-field fence in San Diego is the league's toughest to hit over.
If Edinson Volquez
and Huston Street
- two struggling veterans - could pitch anywhere to redirect their careers, it's here. Petco Park is one of the very rare parks that manages to punish hitters both in terms of batting average and power. The margin for error for each of these two pitchers will be huge, and though they won't have much backing from their teammates, don't be surprised if they keep some runs off the board this year.