Francisco Lindor Heads to Broadway

It’s another blockbuster! Last Thursday, the Indians traded Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the Mets. Today, I’ll focus on just Lindor and consult the park factors to determine how the team switch might affect his performance.

Park Factor Comparison
Park AVG 1B 2B 3B HR SLG wOBAcon RBIcon
Progressive Field (Indians) 101 98 110 66 103 102 101 102
Citi Field (Mets) 100 101 99 82 103 100 100 101
To reflect Lindor’s switch-hitting, park factors were calculated as follows based on career splits:
RHB Park Factors multiplied by 32%
LHB Park Factors multiplied by 68%

After three straight 30-homer seasons, Lindor has been one of the top fantasy assets. He disappointed a bit during this year’s short season, though, as his ISO and HR/FB rate both plummeted, while his stolen base attempt rate declined. He still remained a strong contributor, but not nearly as strong as the previous years. So will the park switch help, hurt, or have no effect on his chances of enjoying a fantasy value rebound?

The batting average factors are almost identical, with Citi sitting neutral in its effects, while Progressive is marginally positive. While Lindor’s strikeout rate and SwStk% have slowly creeped up since 2017, both remain much better than the league average. Interestingly, you would expect someone with such an enticing blend of power and speed to consistently post strong BABIP marks, but that isn’t the case here. Only in his first two seasons has Lindor posted a BABIP above .300, and his career mark stands at .298, which is slightly above the typical league average. Lindor could definitely use park-related BABIP help, but this move is not going to provide that. There shouldn’t be much, if any, changes in expectations relating to strikeout rate, BABIP, and batting average due to the park switch.

While Citi is slightly worse than Progressive for batting average, it is a bit more favorable for singles. That could be a good thing for Lindor, as it suggests that perhaps it’s the strikeout rate or some other factor is influencing the difference in AVG that isn’t BABIP. What tilts the implied BABIP factor back toward an even match is doubles, in which Citi is barely unfavorable, while Progressive is dramatically favorable. Lindor was a doubles machine from 2017-2019 and did his best doubles work at home — he sports a 14.1 AB/2B rate at home versus a 19.6 mark in away parks. That’s a pretty significant difference, and suggests he did indeed benefit from Progressive’s doubles-friendly nature. The move to Citi could cut down on his doubles rate.

Even given his speed, Lindor has only hit 15 triples throughout his career, but part of that could be because of Progressive’s massively unfavorable environment. Citi has also reduced triples, but by nowhere near the same degree. Perhaps Lindor ends up with an additional triple as a result.

It’s fun to see the HR park factors identical in both parks, and both sporting factors indicating home run boosting abilities. Lindor has a pretty normal career home/away HR/FB rate split, with a slightly higher home park rate. That wouldn’t seem to indicate Progressive has boosted his mark, but remember that these factors serve as a one size fits all, which clearly isn’t the right way to 100% accurately determine how a particular hitter will be affected by any specific park. But bottom line is that given the identical HR factors, it’s unlikely Lindor will be affected by a whole lot solely due to the park switch.

Due to the difference in doubles factors, Citi slightly lags Progressive in SLG factor, but the gap is cut in half when looking at wOBAcon. Lastly, we see that Citi increases runs scored on contact (RBIcon), but Progressive has done so slightly more.

Overall, these park factors are pretty darn close. Sure, perhaps Lindor gains a couple of singles, loses a double or two, and gains a triple, if he were to be affected exactly the way these factors are calculated. But other factors are going to have a much greater impact on his 2021 performance. As a result, the park switch alone shouldn’t affect your projected fantasy value; however, a better expected offense should increase his AB/PA, R, and RBI forecasts.

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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Hey Pod, long time reader here. Just want you to know that I see you just keep producing content and also you always seem to perform well in your forecasts and leagues. Appreciate the consistency and good posts at a time when not much seems consistent.