Matt Holliday: Now in Pinstripes

On Sunday, it was reported that Matt Holliday signed with the Yankees to presumably be their every day DH. Well, at least until his age rears its head and injuries take their roll. Though perhaps filling the DH role every day will help him remain healthy. Yesterday, Jeff Zimmerman discussed the move and how it could affect Holliday’s fantasy prospects, but I wanted to go a little bit deeper and dive into the park factors. Since the second half of 2009, Holliday has been a St. Louis Cardinal, which calls home one of the worst parks in baseball for right-handed home runs. So let’s compare Busch Stadium to Yankee Stadium and see how the park switch may effect Holliday’s numbers.

Yankees vs Cardinals Park Factors
Team Basic 1B as R 2B as R 3B as R HR as R
Yankees 101 99 95 88 105
Cardinals 98 100 102 95 93

For the vast majority of Holliday’s career, he has posted inflated BABIP marks. Overall, his BABIP sits at .333, and has posted a sub-.300 mark just twice in his entire 13 year career. That’s pretty amazing. He’s coming off what was easily a career worst though, as his 2016 BABIP tumbled to just .253. It wasn’t a park thing though — he simply forgot how to hit line drives. His LD% slipped to just 14.1%, which was worst among all hitters with at leas 400 plate appearances.

Sadly, Yankee Stadium isn’t going to help his BABIP any, at least compared to Busch Stadium. It suppresses every type of non-homer hit, and aside from singles, is significantly worse than Busch Stadium. We’re not too concerned about the triples factor, of course, considering that Holliday hasn’t hit more than one triple since 2012, and has recorded just three total over the past four seasons. But the potential for a reduction in doubles is a slight issue, which on its own is going to hamper both his BABIP and his SLG/ISO.

Luckily, there is one place that Holliday should get back some of that lost SLG/ISO — home runs! Yankee Stadium is the ninth best park in baseball for right-handed homers, inflating totals by 10%, while Busch Stadium is fifth worst, deflating totals by 14%. That’s a huge swing.

Interestingly, Holliday’s power spiked this year, as his ISO hit a five year high. His .215 mark was his highest since 2011, as was his 17.9% HR/FB rate. So a move to Yankee Stadium won’t necessarily boost his power or fuel a rebound, but perhaps simply stave off the effects of aging a bit longer.

Since fantasy owners don’t directly care about doubles and triples (though indirectly, they do affect runs scored and runs batted in), but rather home runs, the park switch is a positive for Holliday’s value. Since it also coincides with him moving to the American League and therefore being able to fill the DH slot, this is a clear win for his value. If you’re in an OBP league, he’ll be worth even more. Given the typical undervaluation of aging veterans, I’d bet there’s going to be some solid profit potential off his draft day cost.

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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