When you think of hitters' parks from a fantasy baseball perspective, Coors Field automatically comes to mind.
When you do the same from a pitching standpoint, what is your initial guess? Safeco Field? The new Target Field in Minnesota?
There is actually an easy answer, a park that is as dominant from a pitching-friendly perspective as Coors is to the hitters.
Petco Park in San Diego.
The sponsor sells pet supplies. The ballpark can provide you with improved pitching options when you're setting your lineup each week.
As we have explained in this series, ESPN.com's Park Factor compares the rate of stats at home vs. on the road. A rate higher than 1.000 favors the hitter, and a rate below 1.000 is beneficial to the pitcher.
The ballparks that ranked last (or most pitcher-friendly) in 2010 in runs and home runs were Tropicana Field and Target Field, respectively. Petco ranked 26th (the fifth-most friendly of the 30 big-league parks) in runs and 22nd in home runs, but the home of the Padres has consistently been the best for pitchers since it opened in 2004.
Let's look at the most pitcher-friendly parks using the Park Factor for the two most beneficial stats for fantasy owners: Runs and home runs.
The 2010 top 10 (the best for pitchers and the worst for hitters) was as follows:
- 1. Tropicana Field (Rays) 0.800
- 2. Safeco Field (Mariners) 0.813
- 3 (tie). Angel Stadium of Anaheim 0.864
- 3 (tie). Minute Maid Park (Astros) 0.864
- 5. Petco Park (Padres) 0.882
- 6. Citi Field (Mets) 0.890
- 7. Busch Stadium (Cardinals) 0.937
- 8. Dodger Stadium 0.939
- 9. AT&T Park (Giants) 0.942
- 10. Progressive Field (Indians) 0.947
More notes from a runs perspective:
- Five ballparks have been in the top 10 for three consecutive seasons -- Petco Park, Safeco Field, Citi Field/Shea Stadium, Busch Stadium and Dodger Stadium. Petco was the most difficult park for hitters in both 2009 and '08.
- Petco and its predecessor, Qualcomm Stadium, have combined to be in the bottom 10 for batters in all 10 of the seasons you can research on the Park Factor. The next-closest is the Citi Field and Shea Stadium combination in New York, which has been in the bottom 10 for five straight years (Citi Field opened in 2009).
- Busch Stadium is next at four consecutive seasons in the top 10 for pitchers, and Dodger Stadium and Safeco Field are next at three in a row. Dodger Stadium ranked third and second for pitchers in 2009 and '08, respectively.
The 2010 top 10:
- 1. Target Field (Twins) 0.641
- 2. Safeco Field (Mariners) 0.675
- 3. Oakland Coliseum 0.701
- 4. Citi Field (Mets) 0.719
- 5. Busch Stadium (Cardinals) 0.758
- 6. PNC Park (Pirates) 0.798
- 7. Sun Life Stadium (Marlins) 0.822
- 8. Angel Stadium of Anaheim 0.825
- 9. Petco Park (Padres) 0.856
- 10. Fenway Park (Red Sox) 0.871
More notes from a home runs perspective:
- Only two parks have been in the top 10 for pitchers in this category in each of the last three years -- Petco and Fenway.
- Petco has been in the top 10 for four consecutive seasons, and was the toughest (2008) or second-toughest park (2009 and '07) for hitters from a home-run standpoint in three of the four years. Petco also was the most difficult park for hitters in 2005 and '04.
- Surprisingly, Fenway Park leads the way with five consecutive appearances in the top 10 for pitchers, and 2004, the last year Fenway wasn't in the top 10, it was 11th.
- Safeco Field just missed being in the top 10 for three straight years because of an 11th-place finish in 2008, and the Oakland Coliseum, Busch Stadium, PNC Park and Sun Life Stadium also were in the top 10 twice in the last three seasons.
- Target Field, in its first season, was the worst for home-run hitters. In 2010, the Twins hit only 52 homers in 2,683 at-bats at home, compared to 90 homers in 2,885 at-bats on the road. Minnesota's opponents had just 64 homers in 2,842 at-bats at Target Field in 2010. The Twins, however, did score 17 more runs at home than they did on the road last season (399 to 382).
We'll discuss the pitcher-friendly nature of Petco Park in the next piece in our series. Before we go, remember that these articles aren't written to advise you to load up on Padres pitchers on draft day, but you should keep these ballpark breakdowns in mind when it comes to setting your lineup and/or breaking ties when you're torn between a couple of batters or a few pitchers when it's your turn to pick.
NEXT: Petco Park analysis
More fantasy baseball tips:
- ANALYSIS: How to assign value in rotisserie formats, How to manage your fantasy team in the playoffs
- COMMISSIONERS: How to run a fantasy baseball league
- DRAFTING: Five things you can learn from a mock draft, How to prepare for a draft in one hour, Draft horror stories
- KEEPER LEAGUES: How to choose the best keepers
- SAVES: Should you punt saves in fantasy baseball?
- TRADING: How to make effective trades
- WAIVER WIRE: Five tips on how to manage the waiver wire