Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

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Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by niles08 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:07 am

In the years since moving to Omaha, the club has taken some scrutiny from opposing teams, fans, and the media as to how any player over the age of 5 years of age could potentially hit a home run at Hawks field. Hell, some believe that any player over the age of 5 could throw a ball out of Hawks field.

This has hurt players in the eyes of some, especially Emilio Morales who just finished his 5th season with over 54 home runs hit. This scrutiny despite the fact that Morales, just like every other player has to play 81 games on the road as well as at home.

Well, the club abruptly started construction this week on the ballpark with many not knowing what was being performed. Today the club announced that they were moving the fences out a bit in order to lower the amount of balls that leave the yard in right field.

Essentially, they are making it harder for left-handed hitters to rip one out onto Warren Buffet Boulevard. And looking at the team roster why wouldn’t they?

The following player's bat left-handed for the club, followed by their home run totals from last year.

Rafael Gonzalez- 26
Gustavo Herrera- 16
Alonso Olvere- 15
Gervasio Ridder- 12

Only Jimmy Starks & Sergio Maldonado bat from both sides of the plate.

Looking at that list, Gonzalez is probably most likely to be affected. Herrera & Olvere are utility players and Ridder is unlikely to even make the team.

199 of the clubs home runs last season came from batters hitting right-handed.

Now, let’s look at it where it may make a huge difference. Literally every one of Omaha’s current rotation and bullpen staff throws right-handed with the exception of Ken Spencer. Everyone knows that Omaha is stocked up on right-handers, and if they don't they do now. This pond of right-handers however also showcases just how ineffective the club is at facing left-handed hitters.

124 home runs were hit by left-handed batters over 2,671 at-bats last season facing the Omaha staff. That is a home run percentage of 5.8%. Compare this to only 70 home runs when facing right-handed hitters in 2,134 at-bats. That is 3.2%.

Basically, you were nearly twice as likely to hit a home run if you were a left-handed batter in Omaha last season. By moving the fences out, if Omaha is able to cut that number against left-handers to match what they gave up against right-handed batters, that is a total cut of nearly 40 home runs which could be 80 runs for the season.

Now maybe all of this could be nonsense and likely is, but it’s worth a try, right?
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by 7teen » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:37 am

Anything is worth a try. Even building a gimmicky stadium in Madison. It was worth a try. Didn’t work very well as far as team results.
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by RonCo » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:16 pm

Gimmicky parks are an interesting game theory. I think a lot of guys build them in attempt to cover holes in their talent (build big pitcher's parks, in hopes they can put low movement pitchers in there and get away with it, for example). On the whole, I don't think that works particularly well--though there are cases where it will, I suppose. Everything is always relative.

Personally, when I have gimmicky parks, I tend to try to use them to accentuate a strength I already have--or will attempt to build teams with skills that are aided by the park. So, pitcher's anti-HR park? Give me a TON more movement.

In this league, for example, I've always had a park that accentuates doubles--which I admit I tend to like because they are a stat that flies under the radar. As a rule, I know my team needs to pretty much lead the league in doubles or we're going to be in trouble. Hence I have great love for the Gap rating. Give me all the Gap, man...at 351 doubles last season, we were second only to Seattle, who also plays in a Gappy park. Seattle had 364, so we were 13 doubles behind them. The next closest Frick competitor was Long Beach at 313--38 doubles behind us. So the distance between us and third was three times that of between us and first.

Another way of looking at it...my division opponents averaged 298 doubles, so we were 53 doubles better than the competition on average--that's essentially one double every third game, which doesn't maybe sound like a lot--but is. By MLB run expectancy, a double is worth .3 runs more than a single. That says those extra doubles were worth 15 runs more than the average team got, which is about 1.5 wins. :shrug:

So, yeah, that's how I've come to view oddly built parks. If I've got one, I want to leverage the heck out of it and I need to lead the league it that category in order to be a team capable of winning a division.
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by jleddy » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:44 pm

I read an analysis piece a few years ago somewhere (and I tried finding it a couple months back but came up empty) that MLB ballparks with extreme factors more often than not hurt the home team over the course of a season as much as they help the team. I can't remember the exact reasoning and conclusion, but I know the study made a point regarding Oakland's pitcher-friendly confines, Coors' expansive outfield and altitude (post humidor), and Fenway's unique set-up with the Monster, deep right center and Pesky Pole and how it didn't exactly make playing 81 games in those respective parks any more of an advantage than more conventional parks. Of course that's the MLB and we're in a whole different universe where 300 foot foul lines in Boise's 2700' altitude don't exactly result in a launch pad.
RonCo wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:16 pm
So, yeah, that's how I've come to view oddly built parks. If I've got one, I want to leverage the heck out of it and I need to lead the league it that category in order to be a team capable of winning a division.
Aside from individual sluggers putting up huge numbers in hitter parks or individual pitcher's dominating in low-scoring stadiums, I'd love to know examples of teams in the history of the BBA benefiting as a whole by tailoring their offense and/or pitching and/or defense to an extreme ballpark one way or another, as Ron alludes to. I would never try to do that but would definitely applaud a team who was able to have it payoff for them.
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by usnspecialist » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:05 pm

I do this to some extent as well. My ballpark is slightly homer friendly (although not nearly as much as people think relative to the rest of the league), but it absolutely demolishes gap power guys. I have learned to pretty much ignore that rating category all together because even if you have a 10 you are going to be completely neutered in Chico's Bail Bonds.
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by RonCo » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:51 pm

jleddy wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:44 pm
Aside from individual sluggers putting up huge numbers in hitter parks or individual pitcher's dominating in low-scoring stadiums, I'd love to know examples of teams in the history of the BBA benefiting as a whole by tailoring their offense and/or pitching and/or defense to an extreme ballpark one way or another, as Ron alludes to. I would never try to do that but would definitely applaud a team who was able to have it payoff for them.
How you would quantify that is an interesting question.

I got interested and went back pulled YS9's rank in doubles each of my seasons. One interesting bit is that we moved ballparks in the middle. Chavez Memorial was a 1.2 doubles factor, whereas our current Utopia Field is 1.1. You can see by the rankings that we pretty much dominated the league in doubles before the move, and still rank up high afterward.

No Landis thingies, though.


YS9 Doubles
YearLG RankBBA Rank
203923
203813
203711
203638
203525
203423
203311<< Utopia
203211
203111
203011
202924
202811
202712
202622
202523
If you can think of an interesting way to look at this league wide, it might make a fun media guide thing.
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by RonCo » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:57 pm

usnspecialist wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:05 pm
I do this to some extent as well. My ballpark is slightly homer friendly (although not nearly as much as people think relative to the rest of the league), but it absolutely demolishes gap power guys. I have learned to pretty much ignore that rating category all together because even if you have a 10 you are going to be completely neutered in Chico's Bail Bonds.
That's kind of the counter argument, though, isn't it?

It's like putting low movement guys in big parks is saying, "I'll use the park to blunt other teams so I can get away with shitty players in that category."
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by usnspecialist » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:02 pm

RonCo wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:57 pm
usnspecialist wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:05 pm
I do this to some extent as well. My ballpark is slightly homer friendly (although not nearly as much as people think relative to the rest of the league), but it absolutely demolishes gap power guys. I have learned to pretty much ignore that rating category all together because even if you have a 10 you are going to be completely neutered in Chico's Bail Bonds.
That's kind of the counter argument, though, isn't it?

It's like putting low movement guys in big parks is saying, "I'll use the park to blunt other teams so I can get away with shitty players in that category."
I was referencing joe saying " I'd love to know examples of teams in the history of the BBA benefiting as a whole by tailoring their offense and/or pitching and/or defense to an extreme ballpark one way or another". I dont have game access handy, but im pretty sure my park for doubles/triples is somewhere less than .900, which is why I tailor my team that way.

Not everyone is referencing your post Ron, gosh :cool: :P
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by RonCo » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:04 pm

I'm not saying anything's bad about that idea. But I'm more thinking about the right way to view a team's performance in a park in hopes of not warping your view. Omaha, for example, pre-fence move, needed to lead the league in home runs. Not just a little. In this park, they needed to DOMINATE homeruns in order to ensure they weren't just being lazy in the front office. hitting the most HR at home, but then only being 8th on the road to finish at 4th overall means something not good about the construction of the team.

It reminds me of the old Cub teams that would blast HR in Wrigley, then go dormant on the road where all the parks were cavernous valleys of astroturfed track meet parks. They had Wrigley power, but not Power.
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by RonCo » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:05 pm

usnspecialist wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:02 pm
I was referencing joe saying " I'd love to know examples of teams in the history of the BBA benefiting as a whole by tailoring their offense and/or pitching and/or defense to an extreme ballpark one way or another". I dont have game access handy, but im pretty sure my park for doubles/triples is somewhere less than .900, which is why I tailor my team that way.

Not everyone is referencing your post Ron, gosh :cool: :P
I thought we were just having a group discussion.
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by RonCo » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:07 pm

And ignoring a factor because of your park isn't really quite the same as tailoring your teams to the the strengths of your park. Which is my point there.
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by niles08 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:56 pm

I'm glad I started a big debate haha
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by RonCo » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:13 pm

Well, this is fun...

It struck me as I was making lunch that I'd read a Bill James piece on how teams interpret performance "wrong" based on park factors. So I took some time and scanned a few of my old Baseball Abstracts until I came to 1986, and this Chicago Cubs entry. He does a beautiful page and a half on how teams develop talent in ways that are counter-intuitively "wrong." He ends it with "...the Cubs have to remember one thing. If they finish second in the league in runs scored they're not going to win the pennant. They have to lead the league in runs scored to have a realistic chance to win the pennant."

Which makes me smile. I assume I'm stealing that line from some distant memory when I say Omaha has to lead the league in HR in that old park. But at least I'm stealing from one of the best. :)

If you can chase that 1986 Baseball Abstract down, it's on pages 189 and 190. Classic Bill James. Makes me smile with every sentence.
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by RonCo » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:40 pm

More fun...yes, maybe this is a media guide piece...after reading James's piece I went to our stats this year, and pulled out doubles on the road and at home. In other words, looked at how FL teams did in hitting doubles when in park factors that were not their own vs. their own. I'm not sure entirely what to make of it, but here's the data (with park factors added), sorted by road doubles...

FRICK LEAGUE DOUBLES
TM2B PFRoadHomeDif
YS91.118515530
VAL1.117412846
EDM1.0217114130
SEA1.116619832
OMA0.9516413628
DM116313528
LBC0.941611529
VAN0.915214210
MAD0.851461460
BOI0.814610145
CLG1.113715518
TWC1.1812516237
SFB0.8512411113
HAW1.212416844
CAL1.111231194
Given Randy's conversation above, this probably makes sense. SFB punts doubles completely, and has a set of guys that won't hit them anywhere. I build my teams to dominate the double category whenever possible, and so hit a bunch whether we're in our park or not. Of interest was that SFB hit only 13 more doubles on the road than at home. Of equal interest are places where the polarity reverses...but, then, this is just one year, and most folks say you need to look at, say, three years running to get a truer feel.
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by 7teen » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:21 pm

I built Madison’s around my strength and hoped to help my weakness. Madison’s new Park was high on Average, low on gap and power. Tried to highlight my love for guys with high contact and speed. Also hoped that it would at least help my poor pitching. It didn’t.
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by HoosierVic » Sat Sep 21, 2019 9:36 am

jleddy wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:44 pm

Aside from individual sluggers putting up huge numbers in hitter parks or individual pitcher's dominating in low-scoring stadiums, I'd love to know examples of teams in the history of the BBA benefiting as a whole by tailoring their offense and/or pitching and/or defense to an extreme ballpark one way or another, as Ron alludes to. I would never try to do that but would definitely applaud a team who was able to have it payoff for them.
Ron can correct me if I’m wrong, but the example of this I’ve seen cited over and over is my predecessor at Huntsville, Kyle Stever, who designed the ballpark to favor left-handed power hitters. Then he stocked the Phantoms almost exclusively with left-handed hitters (this was certainly true when I took over the team - nary a right-handed to be found) and left-handed pitchers with high movement ratings, pretty much to the exclusion of every other rating category. For years, he seemed to do well with it and even won a couple of Landis trophies pursuing that strategy.

I sort of tried to carry on that approach for the first few months of my tenure, but with little success. That’s not the kind of team I enjoy, anyway, which is why I’m going another direction.

But Kyle did seem to identify a ballpark strategy and then run with it to pretty good success.

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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by usnspecialist » Sat Sep 21, 2019 9:41 am

HoosierVic wrote:
Sat Sep 21, 2019 9:36 am
jleddy wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:44 pm

Aside from individual sluggers putting up huge numbers in hitter parks or individual pitcher's dominating in low-scoring stadiums, I'd love to know examples of teams in the history of the BBA benefiting as a whole by tailoring their offense and/or pitching and/or defense to an extreme ballpark one way or another, as Ron alludes to. I would never try to do that but would definitely applaud a team who was able to have it payoff for them.
Ron can correct me if I’m wrong, but the example of this I’ve seen cited over and over is my predecessor at Huntsville, Kyle Stever, who designed the ballpark to favor left-handed power hitters. Then he stocked the Phantoms almost exclusively with left-handed hitters (this was certainly true when I took over the team - nary a right-handed to be found) and left-handed pitchers with high movement ratings, pretty much to the exclusion of every other rating category. For years, he seemed to do well with it and even won a couple of Landis trophies pursuing that strategy.

I sort of tried to carry on that approach for the first few months of my tenure, but with little success. That’s not the kind of team I enjoy, anyway, which is why I’m going another direction.

But Kyle did seem to identify a ballpark strategy and then run with it to pretty good success.
stever was pretty much the very definition of jerry rigging a team to fit a ballpark. Works great at home, but its almost like he forgot you play only half of your games there...
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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by HoosierVic » Sat Sep 21, 2019 9:42 am

Yeah - Huntsville’s home/road splits were fairly breathtaking. That approach definitely worked for awhile, though.

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Re: Omaha quietly moves fences out.(40.2)

Post by bschr682 » Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:32 am

Based on the new heavy division schedule, if you happen to have division mates with similar parks I can see it working great...

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