Applying park factors to Pineda

Whenever a pitcher moves from a pitcher’s park to a hitter’s park, there’s a concern about how he’ll adjust. This is definitely the case with Michael Pineda, who’s moving from Seattle’s spacious Safeco to the small confines of the (new incarnation of) the “Big” Ballpark in the Bronx. This post by RLYW helped to allay those fears for Pineda. Still, that doesn’t mean the concerns aren’t legitimate or aren’t there at all. To take a closer look at how park factors may affect the new Yankee right hander, I went over to StatCorner and took a peep at the park factors for Yankee Stadium III. The factors there are set for hitters. Remember that a mark over 100 favors hitters and a mark under 100 favors pitchers. So, what am I doing with these numbers? I’m taking them and applying them to Michael Pineda’s splits to get a rough projection as to how he’ll do against righties and lefties in his new digs.

We’ll go stat-by-stat, using just the numbers in the left hand column (K; BB; 1B; 2B; 3B; HR)

Strikeouts:

Lefty hitters get a 7% boost in strikeouts in YS3, so that means a drop in strikeouts by Pineda. In 2011, he struck out 74 lefty batters in 357 PAs. To keep things simple, we’ll assume the same amount of plate appearances. I’m also going to round up with calculations. 7% of 74 is 5.18, so I’ll round up to 6. Subtracting 6 from 74 gives us 68. Assuming the same amount of PAs, that still gives Pineda a 19.05% strikeout rate against lefties, which is definitely respectable.

Righty hitters get a minimal bump, just 1%. Last year, he struck out 99 in 339 PAs. 1% of 99 is .99, so we’ll round up to 1. Taking that 1 away gives us 98 strikeouts. The drop is negligible, and leaves Pineda at 28.91% strikeouts against his same-handed counterparts. Hell yes.

Walks:

Lefty hitters see an 8% uptick in walks in YS3. Pineda walked 25 lefties last year. Applying the 8% increase and keeping with the 357 PA mark, we could expect him to walk 27 southpaw hitters, a 7.56 mark. If a hitter had that walk rate, we wouldn’t sneer, but we wouldn’t exactly be impressed either.

Righties looking to draw ball four get a smaller increase than lefties, but it’s still a 4% increase. Pineda gave up a free pass to 30 righties in 339 PAs in 2011. 4% of 30 is 1.2. Let’s round up, to get 2 and add that to 30, giving us 32. That equates to a 9.44 walk rate. That’s a little paradoxical, honestly. I’d like to see that come down, but it’s still not damning.

Singles:

Finally, something that DOESN’T benefit hitters. Both lefties (4% drop) and righties (1% drop) suffer a little in terms of singles. Michael gave up 34 singles to right handers last year in 339 PAs. Applying that tiny drop would mean 33 singles against righties. He gave up 55 singles to lefties last year in 357 PAs. Dropping that down 4% would mean 52 singles surrendered to lefties.

Doubles:

There was a drop here, too, which surprised me at first. Then, I thought about it. The RCF gap in YS3 isn’t huge and the small dimensions down the corners definitely make it hard for doubles to happen. I’m assuming you’re getting tired of me explaining my methods with each one now, so just take my word for it from here on out. Adjusted for the drops (6% LHB; 8% RHB), we get 10 doubles by righties and 12 by lefties.

Triples:

YS3 crushes triples. There is basically one spot, left-center field, to get a triple and most guys aren’t fast enough to do it even then. Pineda gave up 1 triple to each handed batter, and given the dimensions of YS3, I’m okay with projecting him to give up zero triples in the Bronx.

Home Runs:

This is where it could get ugly. Obviously, YS3 is a homer friendly park. Lefties can expect a 43% (!!) increase and righties can see a 15% increase in HR production. Assuming these increases, we could expect 12 homers by righties off of Pineda and another 12 by lefties. That would mean 24 homers surrendered by Pineda at home alone, which would be a 6 HR increase over what he gave up all of last year (18). Now, this number can definitely be countered by the chart in the RLYW past linked earlier in the post, but I think this can also reinforce our concerns of Pineda. But, as we close, another thing to ally your possible fears, given this scary HR potential: homer-happy A.J. Burnett only gave up 19 homers at YS3 in 2011, so this method may overstate the case a bit.

Check back in tomorrow for the same method being applied to Hiroki Kuroda.

7 thoughts on “Applying park factors to Pineda

  1. Out of curiosity, why would we expect park factors to affect strikeouts and walks? I understand that the numbers indicate that differences exist, but I don’t really see a mechanism (other than random variation) that would explain this difference. I understand adjusting home runs and to a lesser extent other types of hits, but adjusting walks and strikeouts (which seem pretty much entirely based on the pitcher, hitter, and umpire), seems strange.

    • How pitcher’s approach a hitter in ballpark could also have an impact. For example, pitchers may be less apt to challenge lefties in YS, leading to more walks.

      Having said that (and repeating a theme from the thread about xFIP), you have to becareful using park factors as a means of translating performance. Rather, they are meant to compare how one pitcher did in a particular environment to all others. You simply cannot assume that Pineda will pitch exactly the same in different environments. There are so many variables involved that could impact pitch selection that even something as benign as overlaying his flyball chart on YS has to be taken with a grain of salt.

    • SG

      As Piratechef says, amount of foul ground is a factor. More foul ground = fewer BBs/Ks, etc.,

      You also have the hitter’s background as a factor, and percentage of games that are played in the day or at night.

      The difference in BB/Ks is generally much smaller than other park factors, but it’s there and it can be meaningful.

  2. Piratechef

    @Eric,

    The probability of B’s and K’s is related to the % of foul territory in each park.

  3. Hawaii Dave

    You taking his stats from last season and projecting them onto Yankee stadium is fine. But it in no way helps predict what he’ll do in 2012. How do you account for him being a year older, a year wiser, and a year better? You’re comparing apples to oranges.

  4. Matthew R

    I didn’t go through the math carefully, but were you applying the YS3 factors to Pineda’s total (home plus away)stats? If so, some of the results won’t be nearly so bad – the home runs especially. M

    • Carl

      It is a little stupid to take Pineda’s total stats and apply them. He should have took Pineda’s home stats and tried to convert them into YS3 projections. LOL

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