Yesterday, catcher Yasmani Grandal signed a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, as he now joins his third team since 2012. Since he played for the Padres for three seasons and the Dodgers for four, if the pattern continues, the Brewers are going to sign him to a four-year deal next offseason to keep him in Milwaukee for five seasons! The now 30-year-old is coming off the best wOBA of his career. Let’s check in on the park factors to find out how much of an impact the change in parks might have on his 2019 performance.
-Park factors are already halved to account for only half the games played at home
-1B, 2B, 3B, HR factors are calculated for switch-hitters; the rest are for all hitters
Gee golly, it’s nearly a rout for Miller Park (Brewers) versus Dodger Stadium (Dodgers)!
The strikeout factor is the only one that Dodger Stadium is more hitter friendly, but barely so, as the difference between the two factors are as small as you can get. Grandal’s strikeout rate has bounced around a bit, but it has remained in the low-to-mid 20% range every season since 2014. The park switch shouldn’t have any effect here.
Miller is dramatically more favorable for walk rates, which is rather amazing considering Grandal has generally been a walk machine. He sports a career 13.1% walk rate and has only once posted a mark below that career mark. How much higher could it actually go?
Miller is also more favorable for the BABIP-related duo of line drives (LD) and pop-ups (IFFB). The park slightly boosts liners, which isn’t a big deal, but it compares to Dodger Stadium’s more dramatic suppression of the batted ball type. The factors are nearly perfectly reversed for pop-ups, where Miller suppresses them, while Dodger Stadium raises them. Grandal has been a pretty poor line drive hitter throughout his career, so it’ll be interesting to see if the park could help him bring that mark up closer to the league average. Similarly, he has hit pop-ups more frequently than the league average, with double digit rates every full season. The park switch gives him his best chance of positng his first single-digit mark.
Miller is more hitter friendly for all the hit types! Grandal doesn’t hit a whole lot of singles, but for what it’s worth, Miller isless pitcher friendly. The doubles factor is closer and Grandal has generally been around the league average in AB/2B. Somehow he legged out two triples this past season, but we could ignore the big advantage Miller has in that factor.
The most fantasy relevant factor is home runs, where we see both parks increase them, but Miller holds a significant advantage. In fact, the park tied for the second highest left-handed homer factor in 2017. Outside of a fluky HR/FB rate spike in 2016 to reach the mid-20% range, Grandal’s HR/FB rate has inched up each season from the mid to the high teens. The park switch now gives him a better shot of reaching that 20% plateau for the second time.
Overall, it’s not surprising to find that Miller Park is more hitter friendly than Dodger Stadium. Between the potential for an increased walk rate that could boost his runs scored total, a higher BABIP thanks to favorable LD and IFFB factors, and more singles, doubles, and triples, this is a clear win for Grandal’s fantasy value.
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.