A New Frontier in Park Effects

It may seem lame to end a silence of several weeks with a link to someone else’s work, but I’ve had a lot going on lately and I’ve got a few season previews up in the air.

I’ll whet your appetites with a piece from Tony Blengino, who’s apparently been with Fangraphs since December, but his work had eluded me until today, when I came across this fascinating piece on the 2014 Red Sox.  Less fascinating is the recap of the trade that reversed Boston’s fortunes late in the 2012 season. 

More fascinating is the section about “Building to the Ballpark”, in which Blengino breaks down park factors by field and by batted ball type.  Anyone who’s watched more than a handful of games at Fenway Park knows that it’s harder to make anything happen in the spacious right field than it is in the not-so-monstrous left, and common sense would dictate that a flyball hit to left field in Fenway has a better chance of turning into a hit than the same fly hit in, say Safeco Field.  Until today, I had never seen such things quantified, as the author does thusly:

“Let’s also look at this another way, and break down Fenway’s fly ball park factor by outfield sector:

LF = 205.4     LCF = 179.1     CF = 200.2     RCF = 89.5     RF = 81.7     OVERALL = 151.1″

Zoinks.  A fly ball to left field does two and a half times more damage at Fenway than a fly ball to right.

Blengino references work he did in the front office of a big-league team, and a Google search reveals that he was hired by the Mariners as the statistical yin to Jack Zduriencik’s scouting yang and let go amid the messy controversy in 2013.  It looks like the Mariners’ loss is the stat community’s gain.

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