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Those Crazy Park Factors

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Looking to make a few bucks?  Wager a bet with your average Phillies fan friend about Citizens Bank Park.  Ask him or her how many years (of its three year existence) CBP has finished in the top 5 of MLB parks for inflating scoring.

0?  1?  2?  all 3?  I'd bet most people would say 2 or 3.  Well, most people would be wrong.

With only three years, we don't have much data.  But, it looks like 2005 might be an outlier.  Here's a chart giving ESPN's park factors for the last three years for CBP for the major offensive events.  Anything over 1 indicates an increase from the park; anything under 1 indicates a decrease.  For instance, a 1.024 (2004's run park factor) indicates a 2.4% increase from the park for runs.  (The numbers in parentheses are the MLB rank.)

Runs HR H 2B 3B BB
2004 1.024 (12) 1.134 (5) 0.981 (18) 0.865 (26) 1.36 (8) 1.009 (14)
2005 1.161 (2) 1.289 (2) 1.117 (2) 1.127 (5) 1.406 (5) 0.931 (27)
2006 1.063 (8) 1.201 (6) 1.007 (16) 1.029 (9) 0.653 (25) 0.955 (21)

Looking at the basic offensive components, 2004 and 2006 look very similar. In both, CBP was above average in increasing scoring, but not grossly so. It was in the top 20% for home runs, but just under middle of the pack for hits.

2005 looks very different. That year, the park was second in increasing all three stats -- runs, home runs, and hits.

The more detailed components of scoring are all over the place for the three years, probably from too small a sample size. So, there aren't really any conclusions to draw there.

But, if 2004 and 2006 are indications, it's very possible that we can figure out what to expect from CBP: a park that is neutral on hits, increases home runs a lot, but is only slightly higher than neutral on runs.

A hitter's park? Sure. You can say that. But, one that should scare away pitchers? Hardly.