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Citizens Bank Park: Yes, It’s A Hitters Park

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, January 31, 2009 01:25 PM | Comments: 18
Posts, Statistical Analysis

Earlier in 2008 I was finding Citizens Bank Park was — numerically — playing less like the ridiculous hitters park most players claimed it was. Now that the season is finished, we can see if the Vault really is that great a hitters park, or if we’re just getting blown smoke.

First is ESPN’s Park Factor, which compares home stats to road stats:
Citizens Bank Park:
Runs: 1.029 [Slightly favors hitter] (15th)
Home runs: 1.022 [Slightly favors hitter] (11th)
Hits: 1.036 [Slightly favors hitter] (8th)

Park factor shows the Vault is not particularly a doubles or triples park. When runs are scored, it’s via the home run most prominently. According to ESPN, the only parks that seem to be higher hitters parks since 2004 are Wrigley Field, Coors Field, Rangers Ballpark, Comerica Park, Fenway Park, US Cellular Field and Great American Ballpark. Then, we can say Citizens is one of the better hitters parks in the league, but it’s impact is somewhat overrated.

Second is Baseball Reference’s Park Factors. Since opening, Citizens Bank Park has carried a factor of 105, before dipping slightly to a 103 in 2008 (over 100 favors hitters). This rating shows the Vault is more of a hitters park than ESPN says — only Fenway Park, Coors Field and Wrigley Field have higher or comparable overall factors since 2004.

So what’s the answer?

There are two major factors to thank for the idea that the Vault is a ridiculous hitters park.

One is the division. Shea Stadium, Turner Field, Dolphin Stadium and RFK Stadium/Nationals Park are four of the more pitcher-friendly parks in baseball. Shea last had a favorable hitter’s season in 1990; Turner started as a hitters park but has become more pitcher-friendly; Dolphin is notoriously pitcher-friendly; RFK was also a cavern, though Nationals Park showed to be a slight hitters park in 2008. Compared to rival parks, Citizens is excruciatingly hitter-first.

The other factor is Veterans Stadium. In its final years, the Vet was a haven for pitchers. The transition from Vet’s 2003 park factor of 0.900 runs (93 PF) to Citizens Bank Park’s 2004 factor of 1.024 runs (105 PF) is jarring.

Of course, between Baseball Reference and ESPN, you can say Citizens Bank Park is likely one of the top five hitters parks in baseball. It’s not Coors, Fenway and Wrigley, but these are three notorious longtime hitters parks that have become accepted in their extremities. (Vinny Castilla would not have hit 40 homers as a Phillie.) Sadly, we have to agree Citizens is a hitters park, but it’s not extreme, as some would like you to believe. It’s just simply a good place for home run hitters.

Avatar of Tim Malcolm

About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1948 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Monktavian

    Good article. It puts in perspective where Citizen’s Bank Park ranks in terms of hitters’ parks. It is NOT the playpen that we are led to believe and it is a great place to watch a game. I would much rather view a game in a hitter-friendly stadium than a pitcher’ park. I saw a couple of games in San Diego and the size of the park is cavernous and the game was boring. Of course, The Padres were not the pinnicle of excitement like the Phils. But the park made the game more dull.

     
  • Posts: 1650 Tim Malcolm

    Avatar of Tim Malcolm

    Sure the Cit is conducive to offensive prowess, but the Phils showed smart pitching completely balances the park out. Just as the Rockies balanced out Coors through pitching (with the humidor’s help) in 2007 to win the NL.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Phils interested in Will Ohman for the BP. Nice.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/01/phillies-inte-2.html

     
  • Posts: 0 mets09

    Monktavian, I think I would rather see a 1-0 pitchers duel then a 9-8 hitters game. Boring not in the slightest bit. Runs dont mean anything. When people tell me baseball is boring, I just dont get it. I get so nervous and excited everytime a pitch is thrown.Anything can happen. If it doesnt then it was prob. a nice pitch which is just as cool to see.

     
  • Posts: 0 mets09

    Well runs mean something in actualy winning the game ,but you know what I mean

     
  • Posts: 0 mets09

    And Tim you gotta go to Woondstock when its nice out and all of the people are out playing music on the grass.

     
  • Posts: 0 mets09

    Woodstock*

     
  • Posts: 0 NC Jason

    Tim – Any chance the Phillies look into a humidor? Or is the front office happy with the current rank of stadium?

     
  • Posts: 1650 Tim Malcolm

    Avatar of Tim Malcolm

    I’ve heard nothing about a humidor.

     
  • Posts: 0 christopher

    good article tim, but i disagree with this:

    “Sadly, we have to agree Citizens is a hitters park…”

    i don’t think there anything sad about it. while watching a good pitcher go to work is my favorite part of baseball, i would much rather have my home team play in a hitter’s park than a pitcher’s. i think the games are more exciting on both ends: you get more offense, and the pitchers have to step up their game.

     
  • Posts: 0 Tim Malcolm

    Well the “Sadly” is more a response to the blasting critiques of the John Smoltzes of the world. He is right. But it is good to have a hitters park.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jason B.

    Tim, i agree with all that you say, espeacially that it is less of a hitters park than everyone believes. However, If you remember, they pushed the left field wall back about 20 feet going into the 2005 season. remember the pop flys that would land in the flowers? The vision of Brett myers shaking his head in disbelief everytime a pop up went over the fence.

     
  • Posts: 0 DaveB

    All this even after removing the first 5? rows in left field.

     
  • [...] Citizen’s Bank is a hitter’s park, wondering why exactly that is? [...]

     
  • Posts: 0 therookie300

    Don’t both teams play on the same field when there is a game? They both have the same chances to hits HRs. Maybe they move the fences back when the road teams are up to bat. Who cares if the park is more pitcher friendly or hitter friendly. That’s why they call it home field advantage.
    Citizen’s Bank Park is a great place to watch a baseball game. The only place that I think is better is PNC Park. A few years ago we got 10 seats 20 rows behind home plate 5 hours before the game. As luck would have it they were playing the Phils.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chase Andrews

    I still wouldn’t mind seeing them push the fences back another 7-10 feet. It’s still painful to watch pop flies land in the flowers. At the same time, the high wall at the 409 mark is one of the toughest dead spots in the league.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chase Mutley

    I think the term “hitter’s park” is somewhat misleading. When people say “hitter’s park” they mean “home run hitter’s park.” You see a lot more hits on shallow flys in somewhere like Shea that you wouldn’t see at the Bank.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I like the way Citizen Bank Park plays out… its not that often that you see HR’s land in the flower beds, usually you’ll see them go 5-10 rows deep when hit to LF. In some stadiums the ball just carries better than other due to humidity in the area, and the way there are cut-outs in the stadium… the opening from Ashburn Alley lets the wind do things to the outfield..

    I argued before though that BOTH TEAMS get to hit until they make 27 outs, so I don’t like when opposing players complain about the “bandbox” …I can understand pitchers complaining, like Smoltz does, but well, anyway..

     
 
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