About a week and a half ago, Jurickson Profar was traded to the Athletics, in a move that surprised me. After he finally enjoyed his first full season, and a solid one at that, now the Rangers are sending him away?! Too funny. I still remember when he was an uber-prospect many, many years ago. How might the move to Oakland affect his performance? 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
No surprise, this is pretty much a route for Globe Life Park (GLP, Rangers), as we pretty much always knew that Oakland Coliseum (Athletics) was pitcher friendly.
GLP boosted walks by 8%, while the Coliseum had a slightly negative effect. Profar has posted solid walk rates over his short career, so there’s risk this drops marginally, potentially cutting into his runs scored and stolen bases totals.
GLP also increased line drives, while simultaneously suppressing pop-ups. That combination makes GLP a much stronger park for BABIP than the Coliseum. Profar has been about league average at hitting line drives, so this is another potential knock. Unfortunately, he has also been a bit worse than league average in IFFB%, which adds another strike against this move.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, GLP also boosted singles, whereas the Coliseum reduced them. So we have fewer line drives, more pop-ups, and fewer singles?! That’s a bad omen for Profar’s BABIP. Of course, his BABIP was just .269 this past season, so the perception is there’s far more upside than downside. My xBABIP equation suggests he significantly underperformed, so the park switch won’t automatically push his BABIP even lower. But the rebound potential toward his xBABIP would have been greater had he remained in Texas.
Finally, we arrive at two factors the Coliseum are more hitter friendly in — doubles and triples. Profar was an above average doubles hitter last year, so I’m not sure how much more upside there is, but the park switch does give him a better chance to sustain the strong rate. The Coliseum is one of the better parks in baseball for triples, which is meaningful since Profar hit six last year. Of course, it’s such a small number, one or two additional three-baggers hardly matters.
Moving along to one of the most important factors, we find that yes, the Coliseum does indeed suppress homers. It’s much more pitcher friendly for left-handers and the park sports one of the lowest left-handed HR factors in baseball. I’m surprised that GLP wasn’t more friendly for home runs. Still, this amount to a large swing and Profar is going to be hampered by the switch.
Overall, GLP is quite the hitter friendly venue, while the Coliseum plays slightly pitcher friendly. It’s pretty clear that this park switch is rather negative for Profar’s value. His BABIP projection is going to be worse after the move, as well as his HR/FB rate forecast. He’ll be just 26 years old this season, though, so this doesn’t mean he’s automatically going to dramatically regress because of the park. Instead, understand that we’re just comparing what his projection would have been with the Rangers to what it currently is with the Athletics. And that new projection is worse than it was, meaning his fantasy value takes a hit.
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.