On Tuesday, the Blue Jays signed Freddy Galvis to a one-year contract. This could be a signal that the Jays have given up on Devon Travis at second base, who was terrible both offensively and defensively last season, which would push Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to second, opening up shortstop for Galvis. Amazingly, Galvis has now been an every day player for four straight seasons, and yet has never posted a wOBA exceeding .298. Will a move to Toronto, playing half his games at the Rogers Centre, be the spark he needs to finally get that wOBA over .300? Let’s check the park factors.
-Park factors are already halved to account for only half the games played at home
-1B, 2B, 3B, HR factors are calculated for switch-hitters; the rest are for all hitters
Beginning with the plate discipline metrics, we find that the two parks are basically neutral in both strikeout and walk factors. A more positive difference in factors would have really helped Galvis, as his strikeout rate just rose to its highest mark in a full season, thanks to a dramatic spike in SwStk%. Overall though, he has never really had an issue with the strikeout, generally fluctuating around the league average. On the other hand, he has never been much of a walker, though he’s displayed significantly better patience in the past two seasons.
Like the strikeout and walk factors, the parks are nearly identical in the two batted ball types, line drives and infield fly balls (pop-ups). So there shouldn’t be any park-related changes here. Galvis has actually been a consistently solid line drive hitter, as he has kept his LD% at least 22% in all four of his full seasons. He has also never had any pop-up issues and pushed his IFFB% to a career low this past season.
Continuing the theme of similar parks, we move on to the hit types and find that the singles factors are also almost identical. Between the singles, line drive, and IFFB factors, there shouldn’t be any park-related change in BABIP. Galvis has been relatively consistent, never posting a BABIP below .280, but never exceeding .309. His career .288 BABIP is below the league average, so a better park would have really helped.
Finally, we see some divergence in the doubles factor. Rogers is significantly more favorable than Petco Park, which could give Galvis a boost considering he has hit 29 and 31 doubles in the past two seasons. The triples factor is also meaningful, as he has hit 19 triples since becoming a full-timer. The difference between the two parks isn’t as drastic, but it could lead to an extra triple, which could result in an extra run scored.
Last, we end with home runs, a factor we care most about. While Petco is no longer the nightmare we used to think of it being, Rogers is one of the better home run parks in the league. This is a change that could really boost Galvis’ offense. His HR/FB rate nearly tripled in 2016, but it was the only season he has posted a double digit mark. The good news is his barrels per true fly ball spiked to the highest mark of his full season career, while his average fly ball distance tied with his 2016 performance. So he might only need some minor growth in power to push that HR/FB rate back into double digits for the second time.
Overall, Rogers is exactly neutral, while Petco played pitcher friendly. Though there weren’t a whole lot of differences between the parks, those that did exist make it clear that Galvis should get a boost from the park switch. He’ll need to hold off a slew of alternatives, though.
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.