It will take many more games of data to truly determine if SunTrust Park favors pitchers, hitters or neither.
But Braves manager Brian Snitker has seen enough to guess that hitters have an edge in the new ballpark.
“That’s the kind of feeling I’m getting,” Snitker said before the Braves played their 10th game at SunTrust Park on Wednesday. “Everybody is going to like hitting here, not just left-handers. It’s not even hot yet. It’s going to be interesting.”
Through nine games, 23 home runs were hit at SunTrust Park. The 2.56 homers per game ranked 12th-most in the majors and eighth-most among NL teams before Wednesday’s games.
More than the number of homers, Snitker and Braves players cite the nature of some of them to make the case that they play in a hitters’ park. Some fly balls that weren’t particularly well struck and appeared destined for outs instead kept carrying until they cleared the fence.
Mets outfielder Michael Conforto hit that kind of homer against Julio Teheran on Monday. The ball’s path initially seemed headed to the warning gap in right-center, but it stayed airborne until it landed in the stands. According to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, the hit wouldn’t have been a home run in 16 of 30 MLB ballparks.
It takes a while to get enough data to measure park factors because there are so many variables to consider. Among them are park dimensions, wind, temperature, air density, topography, and seating architecture.
Turner Field, the previous home field for the Braves, favored pitchers most years. If it turns out SunTrust Park is a hitter’s haven Snitker said the Braves would deal with it.
“It’s not unlike a lot of the parks we play in,” Snitker said. “There’s a lot of them out there that are like that. That’s just kind of the way it is. Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Philadelphia — the ball jumps out of those places, too. It’s OK.”