Ranking MLB's Most Hitter-Friendly Ballparks, by the Numbers

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Ranking MLB's Most Hitter-Friendly Ballparks, by the Numbers
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When we think of "hitter-friendly" ballparks, Coors Field and Yankee Stadium are often the first two that come to mind due to the tendency for fly balls to travel beyond the outfield walls and into the hands of a lucky fan.

But just as we know that home runs aren't the only thing that matters when a batter steps to the plate, they aren't the only thing that matters when figuring out whether a ballpark is a hitter-friendly venue—though, like it or not, they do play a major role.

ESPN's Park Factors grades ballparks around baseball in six different categories—runs scored, home runs, hits, doubles, triples and walks—and the grading system is pretty straightforward: Any grade higher than 1.000 favors the hitter, while anything below 1.000 favors the pitcher.

But there are no cumulative totals for ballparks across all six categories, which struck me as odd. Totaling up the ratings in all six categories, then dividing that total by six would give us one, overall park factor—which we'll call total park factor (TPF)—allowing us to see which ballparks truly are "hitter-friendly."

Originally, I wanted to incorporate three years’ worth of park-factor data into these rankings, as three years would give us a better idea as to whether a number in a particular category was an aberration or a trend for the park in question. However, with Miami moving into new digs in 2012, that simply wasn't possible.

So, these rankings are based on data from the 2012 and 2013 seasons. But what about 2014, you ask?

Partial-season park factors, while useful to see how a ballpark is currently playing, as we have with the 2014 figures, are simply too flawed to use in our calculations. The weather has yet to warm up, and comparing cold-weather numbers against those compiled across an entire season does us no good.

That doesn't mean that there's nothing to learn from the 2014 numbers, though, and we'll examine whether the offense that we've seen so far this year is likely to continue—or regress—as the regular season continues to unfold.

Let's take a look at what the numbers tell us as we rank the 15 most hitter-friendly ballparks in baseball.

The results might surprise you.

 

*All non-ESPN Park Factor statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted.
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