Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer was in a sour mood following his team’s 4-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox last Tuesday.
Archer was victim of a fly ball that turned into a home run after hitting the catwalk in Tropicana Field and he let reporters know he was not impressed.
“I saw a routine fly ball that didn’t even get to the warning track,” Archer told the Tampa Bay Times. “Definitely the shortest home run probably in major-league history.”
The catwalk in the Trop’s outfield is certainly an unfavorable quirk for pitchers, but the data tells us the Ray’s home park is a pitcher’s paradise.
ESPN’s Park Factor grades baseball fields on six different hitting categories and ranks each stadium by season. The tracking statistic shows there have been fewer runs scored in Tampa Bay’s games at Tropicana Field compared to the club’s road games in each of the past 10 seasons. Batters have a lower home run rate and a higher strike out rate when hitting in MLB’s only permanent domed stadium.
The Trop has been an Under park in nine of the last 10 seasons and the Under is a collective 432-347-38 (55.4 win rate) since 2008 – not including this season.
Here are a couple of other ballpark betting notes to keep in mind for you seam-heads out there:
Rogers Centre, Toronto Blue Jays
The status of the retractable roof at Rogers Centre is something bettors often want to know before betting on a Jays home game. There is a bit of an urban legend that the wind scoops balls up and over the outfield wall when the roof is open.
Baseball Prospectus did a great job in 2013 demonstrating that run production did not increase drastically when the roof was open compared to when it was closed.
The Jays home field is still known as a favorable park for those standing in the batter’s box. The distance from the plate to the walls in left, center and right field all fall under the major-league averages.
And while Toronto’s games are routinely higher scoring at home compared to the road, the Over is just 85-110-9 since the start of the 2015 campaign.
Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs
It’s not called the Windy City for nothing. It is a novice mistake to bet a Cubs home game before checking to see which way the winds are blowing. And while there was an advantage to betting the Over when the wind was blowing out, oddsmakers have eradicated any value with sharper lines over the past seven years.
The Over went 108-64 (62.8 win rate) from 2005 to 2010 in games when the wind was blowing out at Wrigley Field according to BetLabs. Oddsmakers caught on to the trend and adjusted properly. In 2016, the average betting total in games when the winds were blowing in was 7.4 and 9.1 when the winds were blowing out.
From 2011 to 2016 the Over is just 65-80 at Wrigley with the wind blowing out.
Chase Field, Arizona Diamondbacks
Pitchers could have legitimate beef with this ball park. Arizona is the warmest major market city in the United States with game-time temperatures routinely going over 100 F. The stadium altitude is second only to Coors Field and the ball certainly soars in the thin desert air.
Only the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati and Yankee Stadium in New York have surrendered more home runs than Chase Field since the start of the 2016 season.
Chase Field has an average ranking of 6.14 in Park Factor since 2003 and it finished second in 2016 and 2014 behind only Coors Field in both years. This season Chase Field is first in Park Factor with teams scoring more runs, getting more hits, clubbing more big flies and walking at higher rates when playing on this diamond.
Arizona is also one of the hottest home Over bets going right now in MLB betting. The Over is 110-75-11 at Chase Field since the start of the 2015 season.
It is certainly worth noting that, much like Rogers Centre, the ball flies much better at Chase Field when the roof is open. Since the retractable roofed stadium opened in 1998, there is over one full run more scored under the Arizona sky than under the metal roof.