Last Wednesday, Dylan Bundy was traded to the Angels for a smattering of minor leaguers. As a fantasy owner who has been intrigued by his underlying skills and elite slider, I’m still waiting for that breakout season, as I’m sure many of you have been. He has now completed three full seasons and a fourth of just over 100 innings, and yet his best single season ERA is 4.02, which included lots of relief innings. Will the move from Baltimore to Los Angeles help accelerate his breakout path? Let’s check the 2018 park factors (2019 are not available yet).
Let’s start with the hit type factors, beginning with singles, doubles, and triples. It’s a clean sweep for Angel Stadium, though the differences between each factor aren’t significant. That said, Angel Stadium is clearly more pitcher friendly for each one of these hit types. The singles factor, in particular, is important for BABIP (in addition to team defense, of course, and the pitcher’s batted ball type distribution). For his carer, Bundy sports a BABIP at essentially the league average of .296, though as a fly ball pitcher who gets his share of easy pop-ups, that’s actually a bit disappointing of a number. The park switch should help marginally.
Home runs have a big impact on pitcher ERAs, obviously, and they have been a major bugaboo for Bundy throughout his career. In 2018, he allowed more than two homers per nine innings, which helps explain an ERA above 5.00. For his career, his HR/FB rate is a bit higher than the league average, and like the rest of the league, it was inflated this season. Interestingly, despite playing in a home park that boosts homers, his HR/FB rate in away parks has actually been higher in his career. Still, he benefits greatly from the move to a neutral home run park, especially considering the rate of fly balls he allows.
Though the differences are relatively small, Angel Stadium wins again, this time for strikeouts and walks. Bundy has actually posted a better strikeout rate in away parks, which you don’t normally see, but his walk rate is also much higher. The park switch probably won’t move the needle much on its own, but if all else were equal, this is a slightly positive move.
Line drive and pop-up park factors are hard to explain, but they do exist. The two parks here are nearly identical. Bundy has been solid in both batted ball types, as his LD% has sat just below the league average in a tight range the last three seasons, while his career IFFB% sits in the low double digits.
Lastly, we finish at the FIP and overall park factor. We note that Oriole Park boosted offense, while Angel Stadium was neutral for a pitcher’s FIP, but suppressed offense overall. So once again, a positive for Bundy.
As we suspected, the move out of hitter friendly Oriole Park and to a more pitcher friendly home venue might do wonders for Bundy’s fantasy value and chances of finally getting that ERA below 4.00. I think he makes for a fantastic cheap gamble in 12-team mixed leagues, with profit potential in deeper leagues as well. I’m buying.
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.