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MLB Ballpark Tiers for DFS

The impact of a stadium in MLB DFS is bigger than any other sport. But too often the analysis and research behind ballpark factors relies simply on data. Not so, says Steve Renner ...

One of the MOST IMPORTANT things to look at for MLB DFS is how Ballparks affect the outcome of a game. There's a ton of variables in a ballpark that make it a good stadium versus another, but most people only look at the end of season stats in a ballpark to determine if it's a hitters park or a pitchers park.

The reality though is that ballpark stats change a ton based upon the pitching in those parks, the home team's type of players and yes -- the weather. Coors field has a very cold first two months last year and is typically a cold stadium in April, and for those periods it was actually a good fade spot. As the summer months came along though it got back to it's usual high scoring ways. Every season is different and while a good stadium will always be a good stadium, it doesn't mean we should be locked in on our ballpark rankings but we can lock them into tiers based upon certain beliefs and truths.

For example.

In 2013 the top 5 ranked ballparks in terms of RUNS were Colorado, Chicago Cubs, Detroit, Toronto, Milwaukee

In 2015 the top 5 ranked ballparks in terms of RUNS were Colorado, Cleveland, Baltimore, Boston, Texas

In 2017 the top 5 ranked ballparks in terms of RUNS were Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Detoit, Chicago Cubs

So as you can see. Colorado always finds it way to to the top naturally, but the rest of the pack will shift up and down. I will adjust ballparks as necessary as we find new information about certain player profiles into the new parks for example or we identify certain home teams with bad or good bullpens that should make us adjust to the ballpark. The Orioles pitchers in 2014 had a good season and pitched well at home. The Rockies pitches last year under the guidance of Bud Black (a real pitching manager finally) pitched REALLY good at home compared to prior years.

Below is my cheat sheet for Ballparks in 2018

The Elite

Coors Field (Colorado) ... It has been and remains the top ballpark consistently throughout the season. That said, we avoid it when its cold here. Player prices are always bumped up in Colorado and the sites do not factor in weather into their pricing. If the temps are below 50 (they will be early) then it's almost an easy fade. If they're above 80, look out for the bombs. Coors is also known for having lots of pop up showers. Don't over stress this if you like the game in general as they usually do find a way to play if it starts.

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Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore) ... Camden is a tiny ballpark and there's a reason the Orioles are annually one of the highest HR teams in the majors even setting records over the recent seasons. It plays great for both lefties and righties, but particularity is a park that looks enticing for POWER lefties like Crush Davis and Joey Gallo. The batters eye is good and in the summer the weather is fantastic. When the humidity is over 80% in Baltimore the ball carries a TON. Add in an expected bad pitching staff for Baltimore and this should rank in the elite this season.

Chase Field (Arizona) ... Don't let the humidor and its avg 5 to 10 foot impact on line drives slow you down from jumping on Chase Field this season. When the roof is open, it's up there with Coors Field. When the windows AND the roof is open, it can play tricky depending on the wind direction. The air is dry and the ball will carry still. Not to mention it has an insanely good batters eye...

SunTrust Park (Atlanta) ... The newest stadium in the league last year came out strong and I think it will play MUCH stronger this year as it settles in and we get more data with it. Lefties were sneaky plays here last season and should remain a strong play all year long here. The weather is usually good in Atlanta all season long as well

Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati) ... One thing about Cincinnati. They almost always play when there is a threat of rain.... Oh, wait, they just PPD Opening Day. Hopefully it has good weather this year though as this is the smallest ballpark in the National League and there's a ton to like both from the Reds offense and the visiting teams against a talented but young Reds staff. This is easily a top stadium for DFS stacking and it plays great for mediocre power hitters.

The Next Tier

These ballparks are all good spots to consider, especially with bad pitchers and warm temps

Yankee Stadium (New York) ... Not that Stanton and Judge need any help, but it's a tiny ballpark and obviously great for lefties with the short porch in right.

Image result for target field

Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia) ... Smallest ballpark in the NL East

Target Field (Minnesota) ... I love this ballpark for RH power hitters. The ball carries well and the wall in left is short, which makes it great for guys like Miggy Cabrera and Jose Abreu. Target can be an avoid spot early in the season as the weather is bad, but it often gets overlooked because of the 8pm start and the idea that Minneapolis is cold all year long.

Rangers Stadium (Texas) ... Newsflash. It's hot in Texas. The stadium plays great and it negates the wind usually. Texas has a bottom 3 bullpen coming into the season. Stack in Arlington.

Miller Park (Milwaukee) ... One of the more popular stadiums for hitting and always better with the roof CLOSED. Miller Park plays well for doubles in my view and there's a few NL Central guys who have always raked here (Rizzo, Carpenter, Votto).

Sneaky Tier

Image result for Progressive Field

Comerica Park (Detroit) ... The Tigers pitching staff is atrocious and the one big note about Comerica is how well the ball flys to left field when the wind is above 12 mph out to left.

Progressive Field (Cleveland) ... Lefties in Cleveland

SafeCo Field (Seattle) ... Plays good with the roof closed. Mid-summer it plays even better.

PetCo Park (San Diego) ... Can be sneaky at times, not good enough to rank with the second tier stadiums however it will play better than most give it credit for.

Chalk Tier

All of these stadiums are popular and trendy in DFS. I usually find that they're too popular at times when it's not necessary. Here's my unique spots on when to use them.

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Fenway Park (Boston) ... It's unique in the dimensions and can play good for hitting, but Boston stays colder than most other stadiums for longer. Wait for temps to get into the 70's before going crazy here.

Wrigley Field (Chicago) ... Biggest weather impact is in Wrigley. When the wind is strong out (15-20 mph) and it's in the 80's, the ball will be into the bleachers with the drunks a ton. But it gets too much hype.

Whatever the hell the White Sox wanna call their stadium now "Comiskey" (Chicago) ... Honestly, This stadium is no better than Target Field for me. But it always draws more hype and touting. Plays awesome in the day time.

Rogers Center "SkyDome" (Toronto) ... Trust it with the roof closed only.

Minute Maid Park (Houston) ... It's not as good as people make it out to be. They were using old numbers from when the Astros couldnt pitch. It's a tough spot to trust road teams in frequently.

The Blah Tier

BuschStadium (St. Louis) ... This and Nats stadium. Clones in my mind.

Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City) ... It gets HOT as BALLS on the weekends in KC in July and August.

Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles) ... Is a good DFS stadium early in the season because it's one of the few ones that is warm.

NationalsPark (Washington) ... It's the epitome of ... "Blah".

Angels Stadium (Los Angeles) ... See Dodger stadium

CitiField (New York) ... Giancarlo loves it. But.... He's gone now.

The Bad Tier

These are all bad stadiums. Not saying you cant go here, but they're not spots to start with

Image result for Tropicana field ray tank

PNC Field (Pittsburgh) ... Pretty stadium. Bad for DFS

AT&T Ballpark (San Francisco) ... Huge and windy.

Marlins Park (Miami) ... Ballpark sucks for DFS. Team sucks. Pretty much the only thing to like about it is that Miami cannot pitch either.

Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay) ... Tropicana Field sounds like such a nice spot... It's not. But they do have a Ray Tank.