Every batter wants to hit long balls and get on base, and some stadiums lend themselves to batters doing so better than others.
Last year, a number of ballparks were considered quite favorable to hitters, giving pitchers nightmares every time they took the mound in them.
In this article, we look at the top 4 hitter’s ball parks in the Bull League from 2017, which should serve as a reliable indicator of which games next season suggest high scoring.
1. HIGHLANDER DOME (DENVER DANGER) – PFr 1.19 / PFHr 1.31
The Denver Danger relished their 50 home games last season, where they were able to pull off a .301 team average (compared to .231 on the road). In the friendliest park for hitters in the entire league, they hit a total of 73 home runs, and scored 281 runs in total. Only Arizona was able to out-hit the Danger in their dome, batting .304 and scoring 31 runs against them.
The stadium benefits from a lack of wind, owing to the domed roof, and from the thinner atmosphere from the elevation of the “mile high” city of Denver. The less dense air allows the ball to travel further and higher, despite the relative size of the field – 334 feet down each line and 428 feet down the center.
It’s a vast and cavernous space, but the short, 9 foot walls and lack of a breeze give also help to give a boost to line-drive hitters.
Which team was able to score runs at Denver’s ball park during the year? It was Norfolk, who tallied 46 runs on the road in Denver, compared to just 12 scored by the Danger when the Sharks were in town.
2. INFERNO PARK (CALGARY INFERNO) – PFR 1.15 / PFHR 1.23
Calgary’s stadium is probably the secret to their success, as they have a very power-bat heavy lineup and a stadium that favors the big swingers.
Calgary led the AEL in home runs last year, both at home and on the road, but especially at home. They went yard 112 times last year, nearly twice that of Denver. Opposing teams went over the fences too, but only 47 times in all.
The Inferno hit .302 on home turf, and while the visitors didn’t fare quite that well, most were above the league average when hitting at Inferno Park.
To say that the hitter-friendly park was bad for AEL pitchers is a an understatement. Even Calgary had a second-worst ERA of 4.85 when playing at home (Arizona was the worst in the AEL at 5.32), as batters teed up Inferno pitchers for runs. Calgary was absolutely a run machine at home, and so they were able to outpace their visitors, giving them a very favorable 32-18 record at home.
In short, Calgary’s smaller field and high elevation share similar qualities as the Highlander Dome, and so it comes as no surprise that these two stadiums top the list as hitter fave’s.
3. THE REDOUBT (NEW YORK DRAGONS) – PFR 1.13 / PFHR 1.31
The New York Dragons have as their home the top hitter-friendly park in the Lake League. In fact, only Ohio had a better batting average as a home team in the Lake League, at .298, compared to New York’s .276.
In fact, the two teams had very comparable stats at their home fields, with a slight edge in the Home Run park factor (PFhr) going to New York, though it’s not immediately clear why since more home runs overall were hit at Ohio’s Oxen Ballpark.
But either way, The Redoubt was a formidable advantage to the Dragons last season, and they hope it continues again in 2018.
4. OXEN BALLPARK (OHIO OXEN) – PFR 1.13 / PFHR 1.24
As mentioned above, the Ohio Oxen were the top team in home field hitting, surpassing the Dragon’s in both runs and home runs, along with overall batting, when playing at home.
The venue for the 2017 All-Star game has clean lines and short, 7 foot outfield fences, and despite the 420′ center field, home runs come a plenty here, driving up the batting park factors.
Ohio has a strong emphasis on offense and that should continue to serve them well in 2018, as it did last season in home games here at Oxen Ballpark.
5. MOUNTAIN RANGE (ANCHORAGE ACES) – PFR 1.11 / PFHR 1.14
Another AEL team’s stadium makes the Top 5, but due to the relocation of the Anchorage Aces down to St. Petersburg, Florida, the stadium has likely seen its last days as a major-level venue.
Chicago’s AA-level Anchorage Sky Chiefs have their own, smaller park and Mountain Range is likely too big and cavernous to lend well to the AA-level team to use.
The Anchorage Aces had the second-most home runs of any AEL team at 123, and over half (68) were hit at home. More than half their run production overall came at home as well, and all told only Seattle won more home games than the Aces did.
Mountain Range was great for the team for the one year they played there. The 390′ center-field is one of the smallest in the league. It will be a shame to not see it used in 2018.