UMEBA Ballpark Factors (2044)

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UMEBA Ballpark Factors (2044)

Post by RonCo » Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:56 am

A week or so ago, the BBA released an update on its “true” park factors. I’ve since gone back and finished a similar calculation for the UMEBA—which is pretty fun because with fewer teams—and perhaps even more eccentric approaches to ballpark designs—a casual observer can actually see lots of odd little quirks around them.

I’ve used the same Baseball Reference method for these calculations, but since the league contracted last year, chose to ignore past seasons worth of data. In other words, this report has the sample size issue of having only one season of data (I’ll note here that for the super-curious, last year’s numbers were released in the Media Guide, so you can go look them up if you want—I’m just not sure they are relevant in an 8pteam league). The way I interpret the issues that using one season as your gospel brings is that the actual players involved on each team’s rosters will perhaps skew the data—or perhaps a “random factor” like a full month of home games in a span where weather is super-cold or super-hot could warp the results. So treat these with all those grains of … um … sand.

Still, it’s interesting and fun.

So, here are the numbers for the UMEBA this year.


Taking a scan through the numbers says Bucharest (with a 1.09 overall factor) played to what is arguably one of the most offensive-minded ballparks in the world. This isn’t something you’d probably think if you just looked at their raw component factors. I mean, the park even depresses doubles and triples.

At question, though, is not what the raw factors are, but how those factors play relative to all other parks in the league. And a scan through the table says that the UMEBA champions home park is on the higher end of the league—perhaps Jerusalem’s could wind up a bit more lumber-friendly, or Athens (if one assumes they would shy away from LHB). Most of the rest of the league depresses offense—something that makes the Impalers’ park play that much higher.

Which is pretty fun to look at.

Same in Beirut, but in a different way. The Cedars’ park would look like it depresses offense a bit, but it also looks like the most prolific doubles park in the UMEBA—by a long, long distance. It’s possible that their 1.04 overall factor is s touch inflated by sample size issues, but I doubt it’s much so. Regardless, the question might be: how much did it matter? The answer is … well … maybe a little. The Cedars led the Burt League with 273 doubles (and HR, with 261, despite only a mediocre park for such). Those two stats combined to allow the team to post a well-above average .818 OPS while hitting a below-par .273 (sixth best of the eight UMEBA teams).

Of additional note is Manama’s park, whose raw doubles and triples factors are so low as to be technically non-compliant to league standards, but otherwise depresses hits on balls in play while increasing HR by considerable margins. The park played to a .98 factor last season, but I’m not sure what to expect in following years. My guess is some correction is coming, but I’m not really sure which way.

Bottom line here is that the numbers are early, so be casefile with them. But the environment is intellectually challenging for some of the ways noted above, but also in ways that might suggest roster composition approaches might change. With so few teams in the league, are handedness advantages more prevalent? I don’t know. But a club like the aforementioned Athens or the recently re-branded Libya (Tripoli) have considerable split advantages built into them. One would expect, then, that a roster that leans to one side or the other will make the park play to different values. As noted before, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, but—to me, anyway—it’s a thing of some interest.

Finally, it’s also kind of fun to look down the raw ratings columns to get a feel for how parks in the league are configured. It would be interesting, I suppose, to dig deeper into that aspect. Afterall, the league’s average park strongly depresses extra base hits, but amplifies homers, while being close to neutral on balls in play.

Interesting, right?

That, however, is a topic for another day—and perhaps even another writer. [grin]
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Re: UMEBA Ballpark Factors (2044)

Post by chicoruiz » Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:26 pm

Many thanks for this. I had been wondering whether my Hebrew Hammers were poorly constructed to take advantage of their home park, but after reading this I think it’s just that they’re poorly constructed to play the game of baseball...
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Re: UMEBA Ballpark Factors (2044)

Post by allenciox » Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:29 pm

This is very, very interesting. One thing that could affect this too was that this season there was no interleague play. It will be interesting to see what it is next season, assuming that interleague play is back.

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