Yesterday, Wilson Ramos officially signed a two-year contract with the Mets, marking the end of the “Travis d’Arnaud, breakout candidate” hopes. Ramos will now join his third team in two seasons, as he began last year with the Rays, but finished with about a quarter of his plate appearances in Philadelphia. Let’s check the park factors to learn how the change in parks might affect his value. Since he recorded the majority of his plate appearances in Tampa, and played there all season in 2017, we’ll compare their park to Citi Field in New York.
This is closer to how a park factor battle ought to look! Tropicana Field (Rays) was more hitter friendly in five categories, while Citi Field (Mets) was friendlier in four.
Starting with the plate discipline metrics, we find the two parks almost identical, with Citi earning the slightest of edges in each metric. Both Tropicana and Citi boosted strikeouts, but Ramos has never struggled with the punch out. In all but one season, he has posted a strikeout rate that beat the league average. And then one season he matched the average. On the other hand, Ramos doesn’t walk a whole lot, with just one season better than the average, thanks to a consistent penchant for swinging at balls outside the strike zone. Citi’s 2% walk rate advantage isn’t going to move the needle much, if at all.
Tropicana holds the advantage in the two batted ball type metrics where there’s clear good and bad levels. While Tropicana is just neutral for line drives, Citi suppressed them some. Ramos has never been a big line drive hitter, settling for a career high of just 21.6%. In fact, he has only posted a mark above 20% three times. Not surprisingly, his two best BABIP seasons came in two of those three 20%+ line drive rate years.
Both parks inflate pop-ups, but Citi does so to a significantly greater degree. Ramos has actually been pretty good for the majority of his career at avoiding the dreaded pop-up, with just one season with a mark in the low teens, and that came in just 208 at-bats. The park switch, though, means he may be at risk of posting his first full-season double digit IFFB%, which would hurt his BABIP.
Moving along to the hit categories, it’s funny to see the parks switch off on which has the advantage. Both parks suppress both singles and doubles, with Tropicana doing so a bit less than Citi in the former, but Citi doing so a bit less than Tropicana in the latter. Ramos isn’t a big doubles guy, so the singles factor is more important, so this is another point against his BABIP.
If we cared about triples, this move would hurt Ramos’ ability to leg one out, but we don’t, since he’s hit just two triples over his entire career. More relevant are the home run factors. Once again, both parks are pitcher friendly, but Citi a little less so. Finally some good news for his value!
Overall, Citi was actually more of a pitcher’s park in 2017 than Tropicana was. Throwing all the park factors together, it would seem that the park switch might hamper his BABIP (fewer line drives and singles, more pop-ups), but boost his home run total. That means a likely wash for his fantasy value that could be tilted slightly either way depending on how dramatically his BABIP or HR/FB rate move.
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.