On Monday, Avisaíl García signed a two-year deal with the Brewers, very clearly pushing Ryan Braun to everyday first base duties. Garcia hasn’t often been an exciting fantasy asset, but he is coming off a career best 20 homers and 10 steals, with a helpful batting average. Now he moves to the National League for the first time. Let’s see how the park switch might affect his performance.
|Team||1B as R||2B as R||3B as R||HR as R||SO||BB||GB||FB||LD||IFFB||Basic|
|Tropicana Field (Rays)||98||93||94||94||103||100||97||99||99||105||96|
|Miller Park (Brewers)||96||100||94||103||102||100||99||100||100||97||101|
Let’s begin with the hit type factors. Both parks suppress singles, but Miller does so by a slightly greater degree than Tropicana. This could marginally hurt García’s BABIP, which could be problematic given how much it has driven his fantasy value in years past. He owns a .332 carer mark and posted a .340 mark this season.
Miller makes up for it a bit with a neutral doubles factor, whereas Tropicana greatly reduced the hit type. García has never been much of a doubles hitter regardless of a park and sports a career best of just 27. That’s not terrible, it’s just nothing special. Triple factors are even and both pitcher friendly. García has hit exactly two triples in four of the past five years. Does he hit two again?!
The big difference comes in the home run park factors. Tropicana is one of the more pitcher friendly venues, holding flies inside the park at a better than league average clip. On the other hand, Miller boosts right-handed home runs. That’s a significant swing. García has consistently posted a high teen HR/FB rate in recent years, plus a mark over 20% in 2018. This move could give him a better shot of pushing his HR/FB rate back up near 20% again.
Both parks increase strikeouts, which is a negative of course, but all that matters is the difference in effects, which is tiny. Miller inflates strikeouts slightly less than Tropicana, so this is actually a minor positive.
Moving to the batted ball type factors, we find that the line drive rate factor is nearly the same, with Miller holding the slight advantage at neutral. The larger gap is in IFFB or pop-ups, where Tropicana dramatically increases them, while Miller reduces them. García has been quite good at avoiding the pop-up, so he doesn’t stand to benefit as much from the park switch as someone who has a penchant for popping up. Overall, between the batted ball type factors and the hit type factors, it would seem everything offsets each other and there shouldn’t be much of an effect on García’s BABIP.
On the whole, the Basic park factor tells us that Miller is slightly hitter friendly, while Tropicana is pitcher friendly. The only significant difference comes from the home run park factor, which is what we care most about in fantasy anyway. Given the boost he’ll enjoy from his new park, the move definitely boosts his value. The only issue is that he has been inconsistent throughout his career, alternating solid to strong offensive output with weak. In addition, he has spent some time at DH, which is no longer available. There’s a non-zero possibility he loses some playing time due to poor offense or defense. That said, the Rays loved to mix things up, so I don’t think his situation changes much. As a result, his fantasy value increases with the move.
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.