It seems like it was just yesterday that Eno Sarris was discussing the fantasy fallout of Prince Fielder‘s move from Milwaukee to Detroit. As part of that piece, we took a look at the park factors not only of Prince’s new and old home stadiums, but of his new road destinations, as well.
So why not go at it again? This time the move isn’t as drastic – what with the not changing leagues and all – but the reputations of the parks involved has led to some speculation that Fielder should be flying up draft boards this Spring. But the data doesn’t always agree with the reputation.
Comerica Park in Detroit has a reputation as a pitchers park, but that probably is not fair. It plays pretty close to neutral, according to the Park Factors on FanGraphs, and StatCorner.com actually saw it as favoring hitters, in terms of runs scored. The Ballpark in Arlington, meanwhile, has been known to be quite friendly to the Rangers and their guests, and this reputation is definitely backed up by the numbers.
But the thing is, Prince is not just trading 81 games at Comerica for 81 at the Ballpark – he is trading 40 more games at the other AL Central parks for 40 in the AL West. And he still has to play a handful each year in the Central and the East. In fact, the table below represents 151 of the 162 games the Tigers and Rangers would each play in a typical year (the 11 missing games? Nine road interleague games and two road games within the league that rotate among non-divisional foes), along with left-handed HR park factors for each park.
|Location||LH HR PF||Ranger Games||Tiger Games|
|Avg LH HR PF||104||100|
So the weighted average HR park factor that Fielder will deal with as a Ranger is 104, compared to 100 with the Tigers. In other words, instead of hitting 25 HR, Prince would have hit…26. And had I used StatCorner.com for park factors, the result would have actually been reversed – Texas would have a weighted average LF HR Park Factor of 103 vs. 106 for Detroit.
Of course park factors are not the only thing that will impact Prince Fielder moving forward. The burly first bagger has seen his HR/FB% drop each of the last two seasons, and that has come along with a three-year trend of decreasing average HR and fly ball distance. If you look at the HR/9 allowed by opposing pitchers, the Rangers actually face slightly easier competition (1.05 vs. 1.03) than the Tigers, but the difference is not huge.
All in all, this deal, at least as far as power is concerned, shouldn’t greatly impact your projections for Prince Fielder. If you look at the declining FB distance and see a guy whose power is in decline, the trip south won’t do a ton to stem the tide. If you saw a power hitter still on the right side of 30 (until May) who was bound to bounce back, this trade shouldn’t make you any more confident.
Prince is what he is and his value is what it is and the move to Arlington is not going to change that.
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