Jarred Kelenic Switches Country Sides

In a shocking trade (at least to me!), Jarred Kelenic was traded to the Braves on Sunday, where he now joins a loaded offense that set all kinda of team offensive records. Let’s consult the park factors to see how the park switch might impact his results.

Park Factor Comparison
Park (Team) 1B* 2B* 3B* HR* SO BB GB FB LD IFFB Basic
T-Mobile Park (Mariners) 97 91 74 95 103 98 98 101 96 105 96
Truist Park (Braves) 99 98 91 99 102 99 99 98 100 95 101
*left-handed factor

Wowzers! You can’t get much more clear cut than this. Truist takes the cake on all nine park factors compared. Let’s review each to figure out how Kelenic’s performance might be affected.

We’ll start with the hit type factors, where we learn that both parks actually suppress every type of hit. Beginning with singles, Truist suppresses them a bit less than T-Mobile does, which should help Kelenic’s BABIP, though perhaps not as significantly had he gone to a park that actually inflated singles. After posting just .216 and .167 BABIP marks in 2021 and 2022, he rebounded to a .359 mark this season. That was driven by an elite 28.9% LD% and tiny 2.9% IFFB%. It’s hard to imagine he posts such strong rates in those hit types again, so I wouldn’t bet on him coming close to a repeat of that .359 BABIP. Any decline there is going to be a result of a worse batted ball profile, rather than any impact from the park switch, in my opinion.

Moving on to doubles, T-Mobile ranked as the second worst park for left-handed doubles, and while Truist suppressed them as well, it wasn’t nearly to the same degree. Similarly, T-Mobile was the worst park in baseball for left-handed triples, and while Truist suppresses them too, the park doesn’t limit them as severely. This should all be a positive for Kelenic’s extra-base hit total.

Finally, we move on to the home run factor. The gap here is smaller than for doubles and triples, but still suggests Truist will be a better place to hit home runs in. We find over his short career that Kelenic posted just a .140 ISO at home, versus a .199 on the road. That’s a massive difference, especially when considering that hitters typically hit better at home. So he was pretty clearly hurt by T-Mobile’s pitcher friendly conditions.

Next up are strikeout and walk factors. Here we see only very minor differences, and while the factors at both parks actually favor pitchers, they are slightly less so at Truist. Perhaps Kelenic has suffered more from his home park in the strikeout and walk rate departments, as both are worse at home than away.

Our last set of factor comparisons deals with batted ball types. Truist was neutral for line drives, while T-Mobile suppressed them, a clear driver of BABIP that favors the former. Similarly, Truist has suppressed pop-ups (IFFB factor), while T-Mobile has inflated them for a pretty significant gap between the two parks. Kelenic has actually posted a higher LD% and IFFB% at home than on the road, but as mentioned above, I’d expect some regression in both those metrics as they move a bit closer to the league average.

At last, we end at the Basic factor which is overall run scoring. Unsurprisingly, Truist is more favorable for hitters than T-Mobile, though it’s interesting that the factor is over 100 considering every hit type is below 100 and the park also increases strikeouts (bad for hitters) and reduces walks (also bad for hitters). Whatever the case, it’s clear that Kelenic gets a home park upgrade. At home, he has posted a .263 wOBA versus a .310 mark away, and the gap was very similar just in 2023.

Clearly his strikeouts are a concern and whether he’ll settle into a platoon role, capping his PAs and counting stats, is something to monitor. But this seems like a fantastic move for his fantasy value as the park switch helps, the supporting cast is superior, and the Braves obviously have no problem letting their hitters attempt steals.

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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4 months ago

“Kelenic switches country sides” sounds like he sent back his grits for some fried green tomatoes.

4 months ago
Reply to  fartinyourface

or switched allegiances in the maren morris/brittany aldean beef