Don’t feel bad if you didn’t have Wade Miley anywhere near your mixed league radar this season. Excluding his half season 2018 in which he posted a sub-3.00 ERA, his ERA had risen in literally every season since his first full year back in 2012. That ERA ultimately reached a high water mark of 5.61. In Houston, he posted decent results that gave him streamer appeal in shallower leagues and earned positive value in AL-Only leagues. Now having signed with the Reds, he returns to the National League. Will the move to a new park help him remain on mixed league radars? Let’s consult the park factors.
|Minute Maid Park (Astros)||97||96||105||101||102||98||100||97||97||100||99||97|
|Great American Ball Park (Reds)||98||100||95||108||104||103||98||100||99||102||102||102|
Let’s begin with the hit type factors. The two parks were close in singles factors, but Great American (GABP) was ever so slightly less pitcher friendly than Minute Maid (MM). That’s unlikely to be enough to make a difference in Miley’s results. Since singles are the largest component of hits allowed, this factor is important for Miley, who owns a .306 career BABIP. Any BABIP help he could get from his home park is therefore welcome!
Moving on to doubles factors, GABP was league neutral, while MM was pitcher friendly. The difference here is more significant than the singles factors, so this adds another tally against his future BABIP potential. Triples don’t occur very frequently, but it’s worth noting that here GABP is more pitcher friendly than MM, and the gap is rather rather large.
The home run park factor is the big whammy. You might be surprised to learn that overall, MM only inflates homers by 2% (remember these park factors are already halved). On the other hand, GABP boosted homers by a whopping 16%, making it far more home run friendly. That’s bad news for Miley. Though he owns a reasonable enough 12.5% career HR/FB rate, it has jumped up and down throughout his career. If we exclude his single digit mark in 2018 during a half season, he has posted a mark of at least 15.2% every season since 2016. The park switch is going to make it very difficult for him to get that HR/FB rate below 15% again.
Onto the plate outcome metrics, we find that both parks increase strikeouts, but GABP does so to a greater degree. That’s the first real positive for Miley, though the gap isn’t all that big. With a career 18.5% strikeout rate and a mark over 20% recorded just once, Miley needs all the help he could get in the strikeout department. Unfortunately, along with the higher rate of strikeouts comes more walks at GABP. Miley has typically been around league average in walk rate, outside of his inflated 2017 mark, but this move might push that walk rate above 9% for just the second time.
The batted ball type metrics that are important look to offset each other, with GABP driving a slightly high rate of line drives (which is bad for Miley), but also a higher rate of pop-ups (which is good for Miley). On the whole combined with the hit type factors, Miley’s BABIP could take a small hit solely from the park switch.
Finally, we find that GABP was hitter friendly for both FIP and overall by 4%, while MM was a bit pitcher friendly. It’s pretty clear that solely based on the park switch, this hurts Miley’s fantasy value. However, factor in that he’s now returning to the National League where he will get to face the pitcher, and his value actually shouldn’t change all that much after all. But with SIERA marks near 5.00 for three straight seasons, I’m not touching him no matter the league format, regardless of price.
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.