Eugenio Suárez Heads to Diamondbacks

A week ago, the Diamondbacks acquired Eugenio Suárez to act as their regular third baseman. We already project him to hit third, so the impact of the park switch on his performance is important for fantasy owners to be aware of. Let’s dive into the park factors.

Park Factor Comparison
Park (Team) 1B as R 2B as R 3B as R HR as R SO BB GB FB LD IFFB Basic
T-Mobile Park (Mariners) 97 95 82 100 103 98 98 101 96 105 96
Chase Field (Diamondbacks) 103 104 105 90 100 99 102 98 103 96 100

From a quick glance, we find that it’s almost a clean sweep for Chase Field, only losing out in one factor. So the knee-jerk reaction is certainly a positive one, but let’s not decide that until we discuss each factor.

First, we’ll start with the non-home run hit type factors. Chase Field sports significantly more hitter friendly factors than T-Mobile. In fact, not only are Chase’s more hitter friendly, but the park boosts all non-home run hit types, while T-Mobile suppresses them. This should have a massive effect on BABIP. After two straight ugly BABIP marks of .214 and .224 in 2020 and 2021, Suárez has bounced back the past two years, posting marks just over .300. For his career, he holds a .301 mark, which is a bit above the league average. He’s a fly ball hitter, which normally leads to lower BABIP marks, but has been decent at hitting line drives and also avoiding pop-ups on his flies. The park switch could result in a nice BABIP bump, which is sorely needed given his consistently low batting averages.

Moving on to the home run factors, we find that Chase loses its first battle. The park actually ranked worst in baseball in 2022 (our 2023 handedness factors aren’t available yet) for right-handed home runs, while T-Mobile was perfectly neutral. So while we got excited about his potential BABIP increase, the tough home run environment in Arizona puts a damper on the celebration. Suárez is actually coming off his lowest HR/FB rate since 2015, his second year in MLB. So it might be tough to notice the negative effects of his new home park as he may rebound off his low. Of course, his chances of rebounding have now been reduced given the park switch, but given that he maintained a double digit Barrel% and maxEV over 110 MPH, it seems like his power remains strong.

Next up are the plate discipline factors, strikeouts and walks. Chase was neutral for strikeouts and slightly reduced walks, both of which were better for hitters than the factors calculated for T-Mobile. Suárez’s strikeout rate has sat above 30% for two straight seasons now, so he could definitely benefit from a less strikeout friendly home park. The walk rate factors are similar enough to ignore.

As mentioned in the past, we can only really identify a more hitter/pitcher friendly park for the line drive and pop-up factors. Both these factors are far more favorable for hitters at Chase, and we see the effects in the hit types.

Finally, we get to the Basic run scoring factor. Chase played neutral thanks to hit-inflating properties, but an unfriendly home run environment, while T-Mobile is pitcher friendly as its neutral home run factor isn’t enough to make up for its hit suppression.

I think overall, Suárez is probably in a bit of a better spot. I normally worry about the drop in home run factor, but think he would rebound, at least somewhat, regardless of which park he called home next year. He probably has a better chance of sticking in the middle of the lineup in a prime spot on this offense, and perhaps Chase’s BABIP-boosting abilities could push his batting average to .250+.

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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