Andrew Benintendi Signs With White Sox

After being acquired by the Yankees in late July and then injuring his wrist in September, ending his season early, Andrew Benintendi officially signed a five-year, $75 million contract with the White Sox on Tuesday. The 27-year-old experienced a power outage last season, but posted a career high batting average. Will the move to Guaranteed Rate Field reignite his power and return him to being a potential all-around fantasy contributor? Let’s consult the park factors.

Park Factor Comparison
Team 1B as L 2B as L 3B as L HR as L SO BB GB FB LD IFFB Basic
Kauffman Stadium (Royals) 105 107 109 92 96 99 102 100 105 97 103
Yankee Stadium (Yankees) 99 91 78 109 100 101 98 101 98 104 99
Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox) 97 87 90 111 101 101 98 103 95 104 101

I chose to include both Yankee Stadium, since that was the last field he called home, and Kauffman Stadium, as he had played for the Royals the previous year and a half. I, however, only compared his new park to Yankee. Unlike some of the recent park comparisons, this one is more of a mixed bag, which is definitely more fun to analyze.

Let’s begin with the non-home run hit type factors. Both Guaranteed and Yankee suppressed singles, but the former did so more last year. This is in stark comparison to Kauffman that inflated singles dramatically. Benintendi has been a strong BABIPer throughout his career, never posting a mark below the .301 he finished with back in 2017. His career mark stands at .324, and he’s coming off his highest full season mark of .352. We could note that he has played a majority of his career in BABIP-inflating Fenway Park, and then moved to another park that inflates BABIP, so even though he has played most of his career with two different teams, we could still check his career home/away splits.

Shockingly, he has actually posted a slightly higher BABIP on the road than at home! That is not what I expected to find. Still, with the worst home single factor he’ll be experiencing, his BABIP projection should get a slight reduction. This is even truer when considering Guarantee’s doubles factor, which is quite pitcher friendly, and well below the other two parks. His splits actually do tell this story, as he has hit far more doubles home than away. Doubles forecasts should also be taken down a notch. Triples is where Guaranteed does have an advantage over Yankee. He has hit 18 triples in his career, which isn’t a whole lot, so the new park probably isn’t going to have any impact.

Moving along to home runs, getting out of Kauffman was a big win to begin with. Amazingly, he went to a top five left-handed home run park in New York, and is now heading to the second best left-handed home run park. There aren’t many park pairs that would lead to a bigger HR/FB rate projection boost. Obviously, staying in Yankee Stadium would have been fine, so any forecast that had assumed that home park should only result in a marginal HR/FB rate boost. Still, it’s good to now get a full year in a major home run park.

The strikeout and walk rate factors are nearly identical, with Guaranteed slightly inflating strikeouts, versus a neutral effect from Yankee. Benintendi posted a career best strikeout rate this year, backed by a return to single digit SwStk%. The park should have no impact on whether he could sustain that improvement.

The batted ball type factors are mostly similar, with Guaranteed increasing fly balls moreso than Yankee, but reducing line drives. Both parks have that effect, but that’s quite a pitcher friendly LD factor for Guaranteed. Benintendi has been an amazingly consistent line drive hitter in his career, posting marks between 21% and 23.8% over his full seasons. He has posted a slightly higher mark at home. We’ll see if Guaranteed has an effect on his LD%, but I would slightly reduce his forecast there.

Finally, we arrive at the overall run scoring Basic factor. While we typically use home run park factor as a proxy for run scoring (the higher the HR factor, the higher the run scoring factor), that’s often times a mistake. We see here that Guaranteed is actually only marginally a hitter friendly park, despite sporting strong home run factors for both right-handed and left-handed hitters. Similarly, Yankee actually suppressed run scoring, despite also boosting home runs from hitters on each side of the plate. On the other hand, Kauffman is awful for home runs, yet increases run scoring! It’s bizarro world.

Guaranteed and Yankee are actually quite similar in their effects on the underlying metrics. They both suppress BABIP, but Guaranteed does so a bit more, while both increase home runs, but Guaranteed also does so a bit more. So from a projection standpoint, going from Yankee to Guaranteed should result in a slight reduction in Benintendi’s forecasted BABIP, but a slight increase in his projected HR/FB rate. So in other words, probably not enough of a difference to really impact his overall fantasy value. Obviously, the biggest question is whether his power rebounds, regardless of which park he calls home.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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1 year ago

It feels like in the early to mid-2000s Comiskey/US Cellular/Guarenteed Rate was consistently a hitters park. Now, it seems it is in the middle of the pack and maybe even slightly a pitchers park. What would cause the Park Factor to change so much over time? Is it just that fact that I’m looking at in ordinally and newer parks tend to be more hitter friendly?