The Pensacola Blue Wahoos play their home games at Blue Wahoos Park. It’s been the home ballpark for Pensacola since they came into existence in 2012. The dimensions have changed since it opened and now sit at 342 feet to the left field corner, 400 feet to center, and 335 feet to the right field corner.

In the past, the ballpark has been a drastic contrast in how it plays to different parts of the field. Before the left field fence was moved back 17 feet two seasons ago, left field was hitters heaven. Pretty much every year in the parks short history, though, right field has simply crushed power output.

Before we jump into how the ballpark played in 2017, let’s be sure to note that the park factors below are only against the other parks in the Southern League. They are not being compared to ballparks at other levels or other leagues.

How did the 2017 season play out for Blue Wahoos Park?

The first thing that we are going to look at is how batting average was altered by the field in comparison to the rest of the league in the 2017 season.

dAVG  %Change
To LF  .019 3.2%
To CF  .019 3.6%
To RF  .027 5.0%

Compared to the 2016 season, the ballpark played quite a bit differently in 2017. Left field went from being neutral to helping hitters. Both center and right fields went from slightly hurting a hitters average to helping things out. As far as average goes, it went from about neutral overall to slightly hitter friendly.

It’s not the average that gives a ballpark it’s reputation as a hitters or pitchers park. It’s how much power a ballpark gives up. Here we are going to look at isolated power (SLG-AVG) in Pensacola versus the other parks in the league.

dIsoP %Change
To LF  .070 15.5%
To CF  .059 23.8%
To RF  .014 4.9%

From the 2016 season to the 2017 season there was a huge swing in how power played to left field. Prior to 2016 left field had always really boosted power thanks to the cross wind that pushed everything towards the line, making it easier to hit home runs. In 2016 the fence moved back 17 feet and that seemed to cut off the power. Maybe, though, that was just a blip on the radar because power was once again boosted to left field by a good amount.

Center field stayed nearly the same as the previous year. It boosted power in 2016 by 21% and made a small jump to 24% in 2017. Right field, for the second straight season, also boosted power. And it did so by the same rate of .014. The home run rate per fly ball was 11.2% on the season. That’s 1% higher than it was in Louisville this year.

The ballpark in Pensacola played out to be hitter friendly in 2017 in all aspects. It boosted average and power to all parts of the field. Left and center saw real boosts in power with small increases in average. Right field saw small boosts for power and average. It’s been an interesting watch as to how the ballpark has played out over the years. Depending on which season you want to look at, the numbers tell a very different story as to what you should expect. Last season, it helped hitters everywhere.

13 Responses

  1. Billy

    A couple of things I saw today are probably of interest to readers here…

    First, there’s a fangraphs post suggesting a team may want to see what it would take to pry Raul Mondesi from the Royals, since he doesn’t seem to be in their plans. He would fit need for a backup SS/CF nicely, and he reminds me of Suarez in that he’s used up his prospect eligibility but has some stats to suggest he may be blossom in the right environment. (Post is at https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/rebuilding-teams-should-call-the-royals-on-raul-mondesi/)

    Second, BA released their organizational talent rankings today. The Reds were 9th. (Post is at https://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2018-organizational-talent-rankings/#JyuOsfDdIg4k04GB.97)

    • MK

      I imagine he would be pretty pricey for a back-up shortstop/center fielder.

    • wes

      I don’t think it would cost to much….maybe Billy? But then again- why wouldn’t they just move Mondesi to center? Seems like a decent fit but IDK….prob rather keep billy to start the season.

      • MK

        Bet it would cost a AAA type starting like (Garrett, Reed Lopez etc.) and a lower outfield prospect like(Friedl, Gordon, Beltre).

  2. Gregmlb

    Anybody know why C. Trent is leaving the Enquirer? Said he is being replaced by Jon Fay.

    • Doug Gray

      Matthew is correct.

      Trent is heading to The Athletic where he will still be working the Reds beat. I’m not sure if that means they are opening up a “Cincinnati” branch, or if it’s just going to be a bit of an expansion to the “Ohio” branch of the site. I don’t follow enough of the other Cincinnati sports landscape to know if other writers have been plucked away that cover UC/Xavier/Bengals.

  3. Reds4ever

    Doug sorry this has nothing to do with this post. They finally came out and said Garrett had a procedure down, at the end of the season. Why did they keep it under wraps until now?

    • Doug Gray

      Well, because the “procedure” wasn’t really a procedure. It was him getting some shots. He had PRP and stem cells injected into his hip. I guess that in some technical version that could be considered a procedure, but when I think of a procedure, it’s something far more invasive than getting a few shots.

  4. The Duke

    One thing I’ve been thinking about in regards to park factors, is how much is it swayed by the level of pitching and hitting in a league in a particular year? In the minors there is a high turnover rate, so some years may have more flyball pitchers than others, and similarly, more power hitters than other years as well. Does the formula negate that, or could it be a factor on how it can swing up and down either side of neutral from year to year?

    • Doug Gray

      I haven’t been factoring in the types of pitchers/hitters in terms of GB/FB guys. If the home team is heavily weighted one way or the other, I think it could cause small fluctuations in the data. That, of course, is just me guessing, though.

      In places like Pensacola and Louisville in particular, the wind comes into play a lot. And that could really come down to stuff that’s going to have to be accounted for in a given year based on factors that are beyond my understanding as a non meteorologist.

      • Russ

        Adam Brett Walker could hit it out of either park. Hope he’s back in Louisville.