Mike Stanton’s New Home

The Marlins finally have their new park, and now comes the hard part: filling the seats. No, that’s for them to worry about. Our difficult project of the day is attempting to project Mike Stanton‘s power in that new park.

A caveat first. Stanton has gobs of raw power and can get it out of any park in the league. But we may find a surpise, too. It doesn’t look like the new park will produce the second 50-homer season in the league since 2006, at least not without a power surge from the player. Let’s look at the numbers and then a picture to clarify.

First, let’s clear up a misconception. Sun Life stadium was not a great pitcher’s park. It’s probably much closer to average than you might think. By Statcorner.com, it plays exactly neutral for lefties and augments righty offense (by wOBA) by one percent. It does suppress righty home runs by 5% (in return it encourages righty doubles by 5% and triples by 33%). If you hit it far enough in Florida, it might be a triple and not a home run — but this is fantasy and the home run is everything.

With the same heat and sea level, and about the same humidity, the new park should play similarly to the old one in those terms. That means the dimensions are tantamount. Look at the dimensions and a pattern begins to emerge:

Sun Life New Park
Left 330 ft 340 ft
Left-Center 361 ft 384 ft
Center 404 ft 420 ft
Right-Center 361 ft 392 ft
Right 345 ft 335 ft

That’s right, the new park is bigger in every direction but down the right field line. Are fantasy players licking their chops a bit too greedily in preparation for next year’s drafts? After all, Stanton has contact problems that led to a low batting average despite a normal BABIP, and those don’t seem likely to go away. That low average led to only about a $14.50 value according to Zach Sanders’ value spreadsheet, and now his new home park is bigger than his old one.

We can be forgiven for being excited, though. Stanton’s ISO at home (450+ PAS) is .231. Away from home (520+ PAs), that zooms to .290. If the park plays better, there really could be some gravy trains departing south Florida next year.

Let’s try to overlay the images of the new park on top of Stanton’s spray charts for last year. That’s a Fox Sports hit chart on top of a Hit Tracker stadium outline (to line them up) with a new ballpark seating chart laid on top of them. Hint: the one with the wave in the outfield wall is the new park. Also: check out that one home run way out there.

Here’s the thing. Stanton will probably hit a bunch of home runs next year. But this picture should make it clear that the new ballpark is not going to be a big boost. In fact, since Stanton is a pull power hitter, and this ballpark is bigger to left-center, it may turn a few homers into doubles and triples. Be bullish about Stanton’s power because he’s a monster and only turning 22 in a week. Don’t be bullish about Stanton because he’s moving parks. Even the owner proudly declared it a pitcher’s park.




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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.


25 Responses to “Mike Stanton’s New Home”

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  1. Rob says:

    “Even the owner proudly declared it a pitcher’s park. ”

    The taxpayers of Miami-Dade County declared it a pitcher’s park?

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  2. Tim says:

    Stanton is their most bankable commodity. You’d think that they would have designed a park that plays to his strengths. On the other hand this is not a team that is going to win awards for genius in management.

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    • adohaj says:

      Why would a team design a stadium that may be used for 40+ years around a player who will play anywhere from 3-15 in it?

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      • Max says:

        Because he’s Mike Stanton and he hit 34 home runs in his age 21 season?

        It’s been known to happen.

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    • Asher says:

      Also, this park’s construction began before the 2010 season, when Stanton was just coming onto the radar. I don’t think he was even a top 50 prospect before that season (didn’t he come up from AA?), and even if he was, would the Royals have designed their stadium tailored to Alex Gordon just as he was making waves in the minors?

      I like that the Marlins specifically designed their park for pitchers, but I’m pretty sure the types of fans that Miami creates would prefer high-octane offense to pitching duels.

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  3. Deadpool says:

    Why would you build a park around one player? Best case scenario you get that benefit for 20 years (probably 5 considering its Florida).Meanwhile, pitchers hate playing there. The Mets are having all kinds of trouble getting Citi to work, and they’re in that conundrum specifically because they tried to build a park around their players.

    You build the park you want, then you put players in there. The park is the one that is going to be there the longest.

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    • joe bananas says:

      the padres built a park around one player who wasn’t on their team (barry bonds) and it hasn’t turned out so great for them, offensively anyway.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      I don’t think the Mets built their park around their players. Their park totally killed Wright’s power for a year-plus, and Jason Bay looks like a pumpkin in it too.

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  4. tedhill says:

    Two things I don’t think were taken into consideration

    1. You say the new park will have the same heat/humidity/sea level. Two thirds of that is true. The retractable roof will be closed about 75% of the time. In the hot summer months of Miami, being in a climate controlled 75 degrees will be much better than a humid outdoors 85 degrees.

    2. The fence in left and left center will be a normal height, and not the teal tower or mini green monster that was in Sun Life. Minor difference, but I do know he hit several hard off that tall wall that may go out in the new park.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      Your second point is well-taken but hard to illustrate in an exercise like this. The two parks will probably play about the same if you are correct.

      The first point? I struggled with that, but won’t the humidity be the same even if they close the roof? The concourse is still open, so it’s still the same air, right? They’re not going to close this all up are they? Temperature might be different but the humidity should be similar, I’d think.

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    • Ray says:

      good info…..thanks.

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    • Paul says:

      I was going to make the point about the wall also. In fact, I think it could actually be better for him with such a deep left field and a normal height wall, since he could expect for a few low liners over the heads of left fielders, in addition to home runs that would have gone off the high wall in Sun Life.

      For fantasy purposes, I’d call the move a toss-up and focus on his growth, which of course points to a top 5 offensive player by next year.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        Whoah! I was totally with you until that last line. He doesn’t steal bases and his strikeout rate will keep him from contributing in batting average. I don’t see how that’s a top-five offensive player.

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      • batpig says:

        he might not eve be a top 5 outfielder…..

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      • Paul says:

        Couple things. First, his SO% dropped from his first season. Look at how much Granderson’s SO% dropped from his first few seasons. The big difference is that Stanton hits a lot more ground balls, and his BA on ground balls is very high because he hits the ball so hard.

        Here’s a comparison. Ryan Braun’s wRC+ on the three types of balls in play versus Stanton on the right – last year.

        GB 47 44
        FLY 261 333
        LINE 439 423

        Stanton’s walk rate also improved a lot last year, and it was not due to a huge increase in free passes (like Billy Butler’s was). This is a guy with legitimate elite batted ball rates. One of the big differences from Braun is that Ryan had almost three times as many infield hits as Stanton. Mike is not going to be a huge base stealing threat, but he’s about to turn 22 and his batted ball rates are basically the same as an elite offensive players entering his prime years. This is the kind of profile that could produce a .300 hitter even without the SO’s coming down a lot. If he just gets that rate around 22-24, look out.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        1) 28% to 24% is a huge drop in strikeout rate. Double what he did this year.
        2) Josh Hamilton is the only player with a 13+% swSTR% over the past four years with a batting average over .260 in that time period. And Hamilton’s stirkeout rate is under 19%. And Hamilton’s lack of patience actually helps him avoid higher strikeout rates by swinging enough early in the count to avoid two-strike counts.
        3) If you strike out 25% of the time or more, there’s just not enough balls in play to have a .300 batting average in anything other than an outlier year. Set the bar at 24% K% in 1000+ PAs since 2008, and the highest batting average is Mike Napoli’s .274. And that would be asking for a larger improvement in K% than Stanton managed this year.
        4) Make that cutoff 26% (still almost a 2% improvement for Stanton) and it drops to Austin Jackson’s .271 (with a .369 BABIP).
        5) Sure, he’s good on batted balls, but he misses too many to be a first-round fantasy talent.

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      • Paul says:

        I just think you’re assuming Mark Reynolds’ progression (regression?). It’s well known that Reynolds simply refused to make adjustments. Stanton, on the other hand, worked hard on shortening his swing with two strikes and going the other way last season. Again, the fact that he improved on that a lot last year while still crushing balls to the pull side, indicates a guy with the kind of skill to improve to 22% SO rate in the short term. He also improved on not getting jammed so much by right handers, partly because he started going the other way.

        Regarding his strikeout rates in the minors, you can also say that he had adequate rates. His last year at AA he was at 22%. The rates on his first time through were high, and improved as he went along. Not to mention that it was only two years. And we’re talking about a super-raw player who just starting focusing on baseball four years ago.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        Good conversation led me to check this out further:

        Stanton’s Strikeouts Next Season

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      • Paul says:

        Like it. I agree with the notion that a Howard peak season is possible, but that the BA is more likely to stabilize in the .275 range. But I’d also expect him to stabilize around 40 HRs like Howard did for a while. Lastly, Howard was in A ball at 22. I’m not trying to get all crazy here, but I just don’t think we really have any idea what we’ve got here, unless you’re going way back in the time machine to guys like Hank Greenberg or Hack Wilson.

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  5. Salty Balty says:

    Hey Eno. Long time reader, first time commenter. Just a quick question off topic. I have a keeper decision in my “big money” (by my broke-ass standards) 5-year league and am absolutely stuck. I need to decide whether to keep J. Upton in the 2nd or Granderson in the 5th. I’m currently keeping Braun, Verlander, Bautista, and Tulo. I’m leaning Upton for the upside, but think that Grandy could have 100 r and 100 rbi even if he hit .220 next year. I don’t think 40 hrs for Grandy will happen again based on his increased HR/FB ratio, but 30 seems like a lock. J-Up is just so hard to part with though . . .

    League is 9×9 and next year is the final year (and I’m only 7 pts behind the leader).

    Thanks for any help!

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  6. Tim says:

    Eno – Stanton’s K% dropped by 3.5% from 2010 to 2011 (from 31.1 to 27.6).

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  7. Max says:

    Ok, here’s a question that assumes Stanton keeps his present BA–given the fact that power is down league-wide, is it possible Stanton’s value will be skewed by his power potential, pushing him into second-round territory? That is, will homers become more valuable, allowing you to ignore his average more?

    I’m a total Stanton homer, but I’m just not sure how he keeps up with Cabrera, Tulo, or Braun in terms of first-round talent unless homeruns become much more valuable.

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  8. David says:

    Asher,
    Stanton as a minor leaguer hit more HR than any other hitter in baseball, three years combined 2007-2009. He was on people’s radar before 2010: http://www.minorleagueball.com/2009/7/24/961747/prospect-smackdown-jason-heyward

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