How much do park factors affect team success?

From SABR member Bill Petti at Beyond the Box Score on January 27, 2012:

We are all familiar with the idea that across major league baseball some parks favor hitters while some favor pitchers. The dimensions of the park combined with other features can increase or decrease the run scoring environment.

After opening Citi Field in 2009, the New York Mets saw a significant decline in their ability to score runs. The team averaged 681 runs scored per year from ’09-’11 compared to 812 over the previous three seasons. Additionally, management worried that pitchers were developing bad habits while pitching at their spacious home park that led to worse performances on the road.

Let’s set aside whether we think that reasoning is legitimate. The question I came away with was whether the kind of home park a team has increases or decreases their chances of winning games. If a team has a pitcher-friendly home park, does that create issues for them on the road that they cannot overcome? What about a hitter-friendly park?

First, I took all ballparks from 2004 through 2010 and calculated their average park factors for run scoring based on ESPN’s park factor data. Next, I calculated the average number of wins over that time period for the home teams playing in those parks.

The correlation between run scoring park factors and wins for each of the 35 parks was .11–so essentially, no relationship. The kind of park a team played in did not significantly impact their ability to win games (positively or negatively).

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Related link: An updated version of this article can be read here

Originally published: February 3, 2012. Last Updated: February 3, 2012.