MLB Park Factors & Weather Strategy

DraftKings MLB Course 102

Weather and Park Factors

Not all variables are created equal when evaluating the merits of which hitters and pitchers to choose for your daily fantasy baseball lineups. Near the top of the heap for important variables, however, is park factors. No two MLB parks are created equal from the perspective of dimensions, but also they differ in ways such as distance above sea level or proximity to bodies of water, for instance. The thin air from playing at a higher elevation in Colorado prompted the usage of a humidor at Coors Field, though, it remains the cream of the crop for hitting environments. Arizona also implemented the usage of a humidor to reduce the hitter-amplifying nature of Chase Field starting in 2018. The hitter-friendly nature of Coors Field is baked into the pricing of players at Coors Field in DFS games. That’s why hitters have higher salaries there than at other ballparks. Conversely, that’s why pitchers are discounted in Colorado. You can see our daily MLB Park Factors tool with all the key information you need.

Wind Impact

Proximity to bodies of water might have seemed like an odd consideration to read pointed out above, but it is also a likely contributor to ballpark factors. Back in February of 2016, Bret Levine took a look at the impacts of wind at Petco Park in San Diego — a park, as he noted, located just one mile from the Pacific Ocean — for FanGraphs Community Research section. The ballpark most impacted by wind patterns due to proximity to a body of water is Wrigley Field in Chicago. The wind patterns of Lake Michigan play a substantial role in how the park plays on a given day. In fact, the impact is so great, over/under totals for games at Wrigley aren’t released by sportsbooks until the day of a game. DraftKings often releases player pools for slates before the over/under total is set at Wrigley Field, opening up the potential for bargains if pitchers are underpriced when the wind is blowing in or hitters are underpriced when winds are blowing out.

Wind is one element of a weather forecast, and weather’s also an important consideration for selecting players — or not selecting players. Many ballparks have been constructed to minimize the impact of wind, but they still don’t completely eliminate the impact of it. While it might seem obvious and unworthy of being mentioned, wind blowing out of a ballpark can help the ball travel farther and boost the value of hitters in that park on a given day. The opposite rings true for pitchers (i.e. winds blowing in will make it tougher to hit homers, thus, they’ll get a bump in value — especially fly-ball heavy pitchers).

wind park factors

Temperature and Humidity Impact

In addition to considering the impact of wind, gamers should be cognizant of the temperature and humidity in order to make the most informed hitting and pitching selections. As meteoroligist Jeff Haby points out in this brief post, all else being equal, the ball travels farther in warm temperatures. The ball also travels farther in higher humidity.

Weather and Park Factors Double Dip Warning

Now, I have to warn of a common mistake made by even otherwise sharp gamers. Common sense says a hot, humid day at Coors Field makes for dreamy hitting conditions, right? Yes, that’s true. However, the park factors for ballparks is reflective of all games played there. In other words, they at least partially account for the dreamy hitting conditions of warm and humid games played there. It obviously gets quite hot in Texas during the dog days of the summer, and that’s baked into the hitter-friendly park conditions at Globe Life Park in Arlington. At the same time, Globe Life Park in Arlington won’t play up to its full hitter-friendly park factors earlier in the year during the months that aren’t as hot. Ballparks in the north east that have cold weather in the spring and hot, humid weather in the summer can play completely differently early in the season and during the summer. In short, consider the park factors and weather conditions together when making selections for a baseball slate, but be careful of over inflating projections when weather’s partially included in each park’s ballpark factors.

Using Weather Concerns for Ownership Edges

percentagePerhaps the most important note about weather is accounting for the potential of it causing a delayed, shortened, or postponed game. Thankfully, the park factors page at Lineups showcases the weather forecast and percentage chance of rain for a game played in each park hosting a game on a given day on the individual parks landing page. Gamers who are willing to roll the dice using players in games that have the potential for a delay or postponement can gain an ownership edge for embracing additional risk. Whether the juice is worth the squeeze is up to each gamer to decide on a case-by-case basis. In conclusion, park factors (which can, and should, be analyzed by handedness at Lineups in addition to overall) and weather are among the most important variables to consider when making daily baseball selections.

Josh is a life-long fan of sports and a nearly 20-year veteran of season-long fantasy leagues. He's fallen head over heels for daily fantasy as well. Josh loves statistics and better understanding the sports he follows, and these passions drive his insatiable desire to immerse himself in reading about, watching and writing about the sports he loves.

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