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Thread: A Better Park Factor Methodology

  1. #1

    A Better Park Factor Methodology

    To the best of my knowledge there does not presently exist separate park factors for right-handers and left-handers. Am I wrong about this? If so, where are those found and in whose data are they implemented? Why are we still waiting for this as it seems to me a simple breakdown that could easily be done by, say, Baseball Reference?
    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
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    We are thinking on similar lines. I recently began to wonder about park effects being affected by the manager's decision to occasionally hold out a pitcher to pitch at home or on the road to take advantage of a park's nuances.

    It happened much more in the past than in the present, but there were many occasions where a left-handed pitcher was held out of starting in Fenway Park, especially if his team would soon by playing in old Yankee Stadium, where the lefty became worth a lot more.

    There have been occasions where the ground ball pitcher made the start in the bandbox so that the strikeout pitcher who gave up a lot of fly balls could start in the park with the Death Valley.

    It stands to reason that unless a park's dimensions change, the park itself alters the game the same way, and all the statistics gathered in the park are more noise than anything when there is any standard deviation. If one park has 5% more fair territory or 15% more foul territory than another, it is always going to have this difference until the dimensions change. There will always be more room for balls to find an open spot to be hits in the park with more fair territory, and there will always be more room for foul ball outs if there is more foul territory.

    Weather conditions are not constant, and that can affect the game. In fact, I think El Nino and La Nina years have a measurable effect on the game as much as the tightness in the winding of the seams in the baseball. As a former knuckleballer (and a lifetime knucklehead), I can tell the difference in two different balls and their seams. I wanted the highest seams possible so the ball would experience more resistance. I wanted cooler and drier air as well. I also wanted a strike zone as big as the Grand Canyon, but I usually got one as big as Howard Cosell's mouth.

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