Mike Clevinger Heads to San Diego

The Padres are trying to set the trade deadline record for most players traded and have acquired perhaps the most valuable one available in Mike Clevinger. In the past, like as recent as last season, a move for a starting pitcher to the National League would be a boon, as he would no longer have to face the DH most of the time, except for when playing an interleague game in an AL park. The introduction of the universal DH this year removes that performance boost, so now we can easily compare apples to apples. So let’s take a look at the 2019 park factors and compare the Indians and Padres home parks to find out if Clevinger’s value changes at all solely based on his new home park.

Park Factor Comparison
Park (Team) 1B 2B 3B HR SO BB GB FB LD IFFB FIP Basic
Progressive Field (Indians) 101 106 83 102 100 100 101 97 101 92 100 104
Petco Park (Padres) 98 96 96 96 101 100 100 98 99 97 99 97

Woah, almost a clean sweep for Petco! I definitely wouldn’t have guessed that, so this is quite surprising. Progressive isn’t generally thought of as one of the better hitter’s parks in baseball, but these park factors suggest that it is indeed.

Let’s start with the hit type factors. Petco marginally suppresses singles, which is good for Clevinger’s BABIP, especially coming from a park that marginally increased it. Of course, Clevinger hasn’t exactly suffered from inflated BABIP marks throughout his career as he sports a career mark of just .284, despite a slightly above average LD%. I’m not sure what he’s doing to suppress BABIP or if it’s partially or completely the result of good fortune and/or defense.

The biggest difference in hit type factors comes from doubles. Progressive boosted the two-base hit by 12% (remember these numbers are already halved), while Petco suppressed them by 8%. That’s a large swing and will benefit Clevinger’s ISO allowed. Progressive does significantly reduce triples, while Petco only marginally does, but there are so few of them, that it’s unlikely to have much of an impact.

We find another relatively stark difference in the home run factors, with Petco playing as a much more friendly environment. Somehow Clevinger has managed to keep his HR/FB rate well below the league average and even as marks have increased around the league, his has declined every season since his 2016 debut. So although a better park is a positive, it’s hard to definitively say he owns elite HR/FB rate suppression skills. Perhaps the move here will limit the regression.

Moving along to the plate discipline outcomes, we find the two parks nearly identical. Petco is slightly more favorable for strikeouts, while both parks are neutral for walks.

Next up are the batted ball type distribution metrics, but all we care about is LD and IFFB, as there’s no good or bad GB and FB level on their own. Petco is a bit more favorable for line drives, suppressing them slightly, which is good for a pitcher who has allowed a slightly higher than league average mark over his career. Both parks suppress pop-ups, which is a negative, but Petco has less of a negative effect. Clevinger has bounced around the league average when it comes to IFFB%, so maybe the move nets him an extra pop-up or two, benefiting his BABIP.

Finally, we arrive at the overall effect factors, FIP and basic. While the FIP factors are almost identical with a slight edge to Petco, we find a significant difference in the Basic factor. That Basic factor suggests that Progressive played as a solid hitter’s park last year, while Petco was quite pitcher friendly. Given all the “wins” Petco had in the various metrics, it’s really no surprise that overall, the park comes out ahead as a better pitching environment.

It’s clear that the park switch is good for Clevinger’s rest of season projection. He also moves from a team that ranked 24th in wOBA to the best team in baseball in the metric. That’s quite the improvement in his run support potential! Clevinger owners should be thrilled with this move.

We hoped you liked reading Mike Clevinger Heads to San Diego by Mike Podhorzer!

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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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Jolly Good Show
Jolly Good Show

Is this just the park factors for RHP?