Daily Fantasy Baseball: Which Teams Had the Largest Home-Road Splits in 2015?
There's no place like home. Unless, of course, your home is a fun-sucking blackhole of baseball production. Then home's no bueno, boss.
In baseball, not all parks are created equally, meaning offensive players will have different experiences at home than they will on the road. The direction of that production varies, but you'd be hard pressed to find a park-neutral hitter.
That said, not all parks will affect hitters in the same way. We can use park factors to predict this, but even that won't present a complete picture of a team's potential home-road splits.
Because of this, it makes sense to use a results-based approach to see which teams had the biggest differences in their production when they were at home versus when they were on the road.
We'll do this through the lens of daily fantasy baseball as that is the venue through which you'll be most likely to use the information. I looked at the average fantasy points per game for individual players to illustrate the split one player could expect between his production at home and on the road. The fantasy points were based on FanDuel's scoring rules that were implemented in March of 2016.
Let's run through the teams that saw the biggest deviations, starting with those who were far better at home before looking at the teams that excelled on the road.
Home Points per Game: 10.68 | Away: 7.89 | Difference: +35.42%
This was an absolute gimme. Coors Field obliterates all other venues when it comes to park factor, so of course Colorado had the largest split. It's still surprising how wide that split is, though.
The Rockies ended the year with the highest marks for FanDuel points per game at home, just ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays. During the same season -- with the exact same players -- they were 28th in points per game on the road. That's a cavernous split, and it had better be dictating your decision making.
Let's look at some of the splits here, shall we? The team had a .359 wOBA at home compared to .293 on the road. Their extra-base hits were trimmed down to 225 on the road from 288 at home. You would need an extra-juicy matchup to make the Rockies palatable on the road, and even then, it's hard to tell whether or not the pricing would adjust enough to make it worth it.
Home Points per Game: 9.65 | Away: 7.88 | Difference: +22.44%
The split for the Rockies was expected to be large. I'll openly admit I didn't think the Orioles' would be this big.
Camden Yards is a unique park in that it ranks highly in both park factor and home run park factor. In our three-year averages, it ranked third and sixth respectively, one of only three parks to rank in the top 10 in both (with Coors Field and Miller Park in Milwaukee being the others). This should lower the surprise that a team that ranked third in homers would see a significant home-road split.
This will be something to watch for the new guys in town at the start of 2016. Mark Trumbo performed better at home last year, and that was with some of his games being played in the pitcher-friendly Safeco Field. Pedro Alvarez had better numbers on the road, though that will likely flip in a hurry now that he's in Baltimore.
Boston Red Sox
Home Points per Game: 9.94 | Away: 8.42 | Difference: +18.14%
Both the Rockies and Orioles ended up on this list because they were utterly putrid on the road, ranking 28th and 29th respectively in points per game. The Boston Red Sox were at least respectable on the road, but their performance at home was still enough to land them some recognition.
The only offenses that averaged more FanDuel points per game at home last year were the Rockies and the Blue Jays. The Rockies had Coors, and the Blue Jays had one of the baddest ball-bashing bands in the land. The Red Sox had a mix of exciting youth and still-relevant veterans that took full advantage of Fenway Park.
Mookie Betts figures to be one of the more popular guys to utilize this spring after his baller rookie season, but this should still be a bit of a red flag when the Red Sox are on the road. They were 18th in points per game there, which isn't bad, but it will mean a good dip in the runs the team scores. That wouldn't affect any batter more than Betts at the top of the order. When they're at home, you can absolutely let him fly, but you'll want to be sure it's a truly positive matchup when they're on the road.
Texas Rangers, +14.08% | Cleveland Indians, +11.49% | Minnesota Twins, +10.21%
New York Mets
Home Points per Game: 8.14 | Road: 9.17 | Difference: -11.22%
Over the past three years, Citi Field has the worst average park factor in all of baseball. It should be no shock that the New York Mets find themselves at the top of this list.
Even when you include the spurt the Mets had with the addition of Yoenis Cespedes, they still only ranked 28th in home FanDuel points per game, ahead of the Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox. They moved all the way up to seventh on the road. Thankfully, this little puppy has a saving grace, and that would be its home run park factor.
When we look at just the long ball, Citi Field moves up to 13th in home run park factor. This allows guys like Lucas Duda who are more dependent on dingers to still feast when the team is at home. He slashed .275/.388/.611 at home last year compared to .215/.317/.368 on the road and hit 19 of his 27 home runs in New York. His split likely won't be as large in 2016, but the close fences can permit big sluggers to still launch dongs when necessary.
San Francisco Giants
Home Points per Game: 8.43 | Road: 9.31 | Difference: -9.42%
Based on wRC+, which neutralizes the effects of park factor, the San Francisco Giants had the second best offense in the league last year behind -- again -- the Blue Jays. Yet they still only had the 21st most points per game at home. That should tell you how damaging AT&T Park is to batters.
What truly sinks the Giants at home is that AT&T Park is prohibitive to both home runs and runs scored. It ranks 28th in park factor and 30th in home run park factor; each of the other parks ranked 26th through 30th in park factor at least rebounded to 18th or higher in home run park factor.
This makes it difficult to use guys like Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, and Brandon Crawford when they're at home. All have good park-neutral pop, but their home just doesn't allow them to thrive. When they go on the road, though -- specifically to places like Denver or Phoenix -- the upside in the offense is undeniable.
Home Points per Game: 8.26 | Road: 9.07 | Difference: -8.85%
There was no team I had a harder time figuring out last year than the Seattle Mariners. They were in the middle of the pack the first two months, and then they had the worst wOBA in the league during the month of June. They then proceeded to club their way to the fourth-ranked wOBA after the All-Star break because consistency is apparently a burden. The one thing you could count on was that they would hit on the road.
The only team that had more home runs on the road last season than the Mariners was the Blue Jays (spoiler: the Blue Jays were pretty freaking good). Seattle was also second in slugging percentage and ninth in FanDuel points per game. Good things happen when you take Nelson Cruz out of a solitude of sadness.
It wasn't just Cruz, though, as Kyle Seager was an absolute animal when the team was outside of Safeco Field. He had 19 home runs on the road, tied with Bryce Harper for the 10th most in baseball (Cruz was first with 27). Seager parlayed that into a .295/.346/.530 slash, well beyond his .237/.310/.368 marks at home. When the Mariners hit the road, you had best at least check them out to see if they can keep last season's Gucciness trucking.
Chicago Cubs, -7.63% | Tampa Bay Rays, -7.20% | Chicago White Sox, -4.73%