No stadium in the majors boasts more foul territory than the home of the Oakland Athletics, which is just one of the many reasons why general manager Billy Beane enjoys building his club around starting pitching.
When it comes to Oakland’s excessive foul ground territory, the additional space aids in producing a significant increase in foul-ball outs each season over the rest of MLB. Look no further than the 2012-2013 seasons for proof, as the Athletics experienced 398 foul outs during that time span, good for the most in MLB by a wide margin (second place was Seattle with over 100 less ).
Believe it or not, Oakland starting pitchers currently boast a combined ERA of 3.00 this season (second in MLB) despite the fact that the team owns one of the worst records in the American League.
Right-handed power at Fenway Park (Boston, MA)
Everybody and their mother knows about Fenway's legendary Green Monster, but did you know that despite it’s excessive height, the Red Sox’s left field wall serves as a significant boon for right-handed hitting?
From 2012-2014, Boston led all of MLB in BABIP (batting average balls in play) for right-handed hitters at .353, while the league average was a mere .311. A 42-point jump in the BABIP category should set off alarm bells for bettors, especially when opposing right-handed dominant lineups come to town.
Additionally, bettors should keep a close eye on when LH pitchers take the bump at Fenway. They’ll tend to struggle more than RH's do, in some small part, to the Green Monster.
The wind at Wrigley Field (Chicago, IL)
When betting any MLB totals, especially games at Wrigley Field, it is of the utmost importance to study the wind direction. No park in baseball is more affected by the wind than Wrigley, but that’s not to say others don’t benefit from it as well.
Two good websites to consult include Baseball-Weather.com and DailyBaseballData.com, as well as the usual suspects like Weather.com. Just be sure you beat the inevitable line move.
The short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium (Bronx, NY)
At a distance of 314 feet from home plate, the right field wall at Yankee Stadium is the third-shortest RF wall in the majors, save for where the Boston Red Sox (302 feet) and San Francisco Giants (309 feet) play their home games.
But the thing about San Francisco is that between the wind and the enormous height of AT&T Park’s right field wall, very few home runs sail over that section of the fence. That’s certainly not the case in the Bronx, where left-handed pull hitters have been mashing on a consistent basis for quite some time.
Over the last three years, left-handed hitters at Yankee Stadium combined for .371 isolated power when hitting to right field, with 40.1 percent of their fly balls soaring over the fence. Both of those statistics lead all of Major League Baseball by a mile.
So what does that tell us? When handicapping games at Yankee Stadium, be especially wary of right-handed, fly-ball pitchers, but look to target left-handed power lineups.
Retractable roofs (6 teams)
Major League Baseball currently features six organizations (Arizona, Houston, Miami, Milwaukee, Seattle, and Toronto) that own a retractable roof stadium. Here’s a look at how many plate appearances per home run it takes for these clubs when playing outdoors as opposed to when they play indoors:
Arizona Diamondbacks: 44.5 PA/HR outdoors, 41.5 PA/HR indoors
Houston Astros: 33.1 PA/HR outdoors, 23.5 PA/HR indoors
Miami Marlins: 42.2 PA/HR outdoors, 42.5 PA/HR indoors
Milwaukee Brewers: 46.2 PA/HR outdoors, 37.7 PA/HR indoors
Seattle Mariners: 31.7 PA/HR outdoors, 37.9 PA/HR indoors
Toronto Blue Jays: 35.9 PA/HR outdoors, 26.1 PA/HR indoors
Notice anything interesting here? Four of the aforementioned clubs (Arizona, Houston, Milwaukee and Toronto) hit home runs at a much more frequent pace when playing indoors as opposed to outdoors. Miami is pretty much a push while Seattle proves to be the outlier in this situation.
Bettors who are looking to wager on MLB totals played in games with a retractable roof stadium need to know as soon as possible whether or not said roof will be open or closed come first pitch.