Thursday, January 11, 2018

From the Handbook: Ballparks and Park Indices

First impressions are lasting impressions. Target Field has, at least superficially, the same dimensions as the late Metrodome, but it got a reputation in its debut season as a difficult home run park, and I'll wager it continues to be seen that way.

The numbers don't back that up. From the 2018 Bill James Handbook:

In 2017, the Twins and their opponents combined to hit 232 homers in Target Field, 198 when the Twins were on the road. BIS puts the park's home run index at 114, meaning homers were 14 percent higher there than in the "average" MLB yard. That's not the highest (Yankee Stadium's was 132, for one), but it's pretty steep.

The hitters' advantage is a muted a bit over a long time frame. In the three-year period 2015-17, Target Field's HR index is 106, a more reasonable figure -- but  still higher than that of, say, Houston's stadium (101), which is routinely referred to as a bandbox.

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