More often than not after we hear a couple of participant hitting a wall, it’s resulting from harm, fatigue, or lack of talent. Very hardly ever – and possibly by no means! – can we hear a couple of participant hitting a wall due to an precise wall. However we might have discovered our Affected person Zero in Ryan Mountcastle, whose momentum from a breakout season as a 24-year-old in 2021 was derailed by the brand new placement and top of Camden Yards’ left discipline fence.
Collect ’spherical youngsters whereas we inform the story of Sir Ryan of Mountcastle who fought a valiant battle towards the Wall of Camden. However misplaced.
Extra Bricks within the Wall
To refresh your reminiscence, earlier than the 2022 season, Baltimore wished to do one thing to assist their younger pitchers in what was turning into one of many extra offensive-friendly environments in Main League Baseball. Their enlightened determination was to move the left field fence back 26.5 toes AND elevate it by six toes. In keeping with fashions checked out by MLB, the brand new placement would seemingly stop about 50 dwelling runs per 12 months from clearing the fence.
However I suppose what the Orioles, in all their knowledge, forgot was that in baseball the offense truly has to bat on the identical discipline the place their pitcher pitches. That very same fence that will probably decrease their pitchers’ ERAs would rob their very own batters of some dingers. Their basic supervisor Mike Elias mentioned all the fitting issues about “we nonetheless count on that it will stay considerably of a hitter’s park, and we like that about Camden Yards.” Properly, he was fallacious, particularly for right-handed energy hitters like Mountcastle. One 12 months’s price of knowledge exhibits the park now performs wildly otherwise than earlier than.
In 2021, Camden Yards ranked third in total offensive park issue and first in dwelling run park issue to right-handed batters. With an HR park issue of 147 to righties, it allowed 47% extra homers to that facet of the place than the common main league park. In actual fact, for offense as an entire, Camden Yards was behind solely Coors Subject and Nice American Ball Park. It was a hitter’s paradise for gamers like Mountcastle who busted onto the scene with 33 homers and 89 RBI in lower than 500 plate appearances. His .487 SLG% and 12% barrel rate have been phenomenal numbers for somebody that younger and he seemed like he was on the trail to becoming a member of the nice right-handed sluggers within the sport.
Only one 12 months later, those numbers ALL cratered. Taking a look at 2022 knowledge for right-handers, it’s like they’re taking part in in a distinct park. Total offensive park issue dropped to 99, or 1% beneath common, and the house run park issue plummeted to 77, 23% worse than league common and the fifth-lowest total.
When it comes to runs, Camden Yards was twentieth final season, which I suppose is “considerably” of a hitters’ park, Mike Elias. Sort of like how I’m “considerably” of a ball participant (beer league, after all). And in case you have been pondering all these homers should have become doubles off the taller wall, assume once more. Camden Yards was twenty seventh for right-handed doubles in 2022.
What this drastic change within the park did for Mountcastle is sap his energy to that facet of the sector. His 33 homers in 2021 become 22 in 2022. His anticipated dwelling runs have been at 28, and only Orioles teammate Trey Mancini has a higher distinction in his anticipated dwelling runs to precise dwelling runs.
Persevering with that pattern, Mountcastle’s anticipated slugging share was .509 final season (or mainly Freddie Freeman). His precise slugging share was a lowly .423. No participant in baseball had a higher distinction between the 2. The story is identical with wOBA and xwOBA as properly. And he’s within the top-12 within the batting common class as properly.
Merely put, the wall killed his pull energy to the left facet and (as you’ll be able to see in his spray chart) it was solely the pure n0-doubters that cleared the fence on that facet. (Additionally notice the 2 doubles which can be clearly “previous” the wall).
When you take a look at Mountcastle’s Statcast page, it seems like a rattling State of the Union handle. A number of purple on one facet (principally in energy and barrel charges) and numerous blue on the opposite (principally in strikeout price and whiff price). Meaning with the park doing him no favors, Mountcastle goes to be a really streaky on-and-off energy hitter this 12 months.
Mountcastle just isn’t the sort of participant you’ll assume to platoon in your fantasy lineup, however he’s way more intriguing to me in AL East street video games or on a West Coast swing than he’s at dwelling. However as a participant taken around pick number 150 in NFBC drafts in February, I simply don’t see myself spending a high 10-12 spherical choice on a primary baseman the place I’ve to marvel if he can be helpful for lengthy stretches.
Projections techniques are giving him a bump up this 12 months, however the Steamer/Razzball mannequin solely has him at 25 bombs and 80 RBI with a mean round .250.
At that vary for a primary baseman, give me Anthony Rizzo (ADP 152) or Rowdy Tellez (ADP 169) 10 instances out of 10. These are guys who’ve their parks working for them and never towards them.