Feb 9, 2008

Erik Bedard and the Safeco park effect

You already know Erik Bedard. You know he's got nasty stuff, a growing strikeout rate, declining WHIP, and a wickedly low opponent's batting average (BAA). In fact, Bedard was fourth in the majors in BAA at .212 - better than Johan Santana, Brandon Webb and Carlos Zambrano, to name a few.

Bedard now leaves Camden Yard and the AL East for the great Northwest and Safeco Field. With this move a few questions immediately come to mind for the savvy roto owner:
  • What impact will pitching at Safeco as a home park have as compared to Camden Yard?
  • Won't leaving the AL East and not having to face the Yankees and Red Sox on a regular basis give Bedard's numbers a boost?

Let's address the latter first - with the standard 'small sample size' disclaimer attached for the AL West opponent analysis.

In 2006 and 2007, Bedard made 27 starts against AL East opponents:

  • Tampa Bay - 10 starts
  • Toronto - 6 starts
  • Boston - 6 starts
  • NY Yankees - 5 starts

Over that same period, Bedard only had 12 starts against AL West teams, excluding Seattle - which is good news since in his two starts in 2007 against the Mariners, Bedard was hit hard with an 8.71 ERA and 1.74 WHIP.

Bedard's result splits looked like this:

  • vs AL East --- 3.31 ERA - 1.23 WHIP
  • vs AL West -- 3.18 ERA - 1.10 WHIP

Based on these splits, plus the variability due to the AL West smaller sample size, it's fair to conclude that Bedard should not see a major impact on his overall numbers due to the switch in divisions.

Now on to the park effect analysis.

Camden Yard was the sixth highest offensive ballpark with a 1.109 park effect. Safeco Field was 19th with a 0.948 park effect. Using the park effect factor for a straight translation, Bedard's overall ERA for 2007 would have dropped from 3.17 to 3.02. Clearly the park effect factor should translate into a slight improvement for Bedard in 2008.

One last note on Bedard. In the event you aren't able to land him in your draft, keep the following information in mind - you may be able to use this to pry him away from an owner around mid-season and still reap some valuable upside:

2006 Pre All-Star ----- 4.28 ERA - 1.36 WHIP - 7.24 K/9
2006 Post All-Star ---- 3.10 ERA - 1.33 WHIP - 8.59 K/9

2007 Pre All-Star ----- 3.40 ERA - 1.12 WHIP - 11.02 K/9
2007 Post All-Star ---- 2.69 ERA - 1.01 WHIP - 10.74 K/9

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