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By the Numbers: Pitchers impacted by park factors

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Matt Cain has evolved into an elite Fantasy starting pitcher, but how different would his value be if he played for a team other than the Giants?

Cain's flyball tendencies play well at AT&T Park, but on the road, he gives up home runs at a higher rate and sports a career 3.57 ERA and 1.22 WHIP that pale in comparison to his home stats (3.06 ERA, 1.13 WHIP). Cain is good enough on the road to start regardless of venue, but there are plenty of other pitchers whose Fantasy value is shaped much more strongly by where they pitch.

The Giants play in one of the majors' best parks for pitchers, especially when it comes to containing the home run. That has made a difference for their staff as a whole, as they allowed the fewest homers (53) in the majors at home in 2012, but tied for the 10th-highest total of home runs allowed (89) on the road.

Several other clubs play in parks that similarly favor pitching, while other stadiums are highly skewed towards batters. For pitchers who fall short of must-start status, those park effects can make all the difference as to whether you should start or sit them.

In last week's column on park effects and hitters, I outlined the criteria used to determine which venues are considered to be extreme parks for pitchers and hitters. The emphasis in this week's analysis will once again be on the effect that stadiums have on home runs, as this is where parks generally make their greatest impact. We will highlight the most extreme pitcher's and hitter's parks and identify the starting pitchers who stand to gain or lose the most value from their home stadiums.

I have taken PETCO Park and Safeco Field out of the analysis, however. Though both parks have traditionally been havens for pitchers, we have yet to see how the recent changes to their dimensions could affect the pitchers who play their home games there.

Note: All stats are current for games played through Monday, April 15.

Homer-Squelching Parks

Angels (Angel Stadium of Anaheim): As a Mariner, Jason Vargas benefited from pitching home games at Safeco Field, having compiled a 3.38 ERA there. He should have similar success at Angel Stadium, which could supplant Safeco as the American League's premier pitcher's park. Owners just have to be careful about starting Vargas in hitter-friendly road venues. If Tommy Hanson's velocity ever comes back, he could at least be worth starting in his home games, as the Angels' park should limit the damage caused by his mild flyball tendencies.

Giants (AT&T Park): Tim Lincecum's propensity to allow homers and walks has gotten so bad that he should be benched in standard mixed leagues, but even during his dismal 2012 season, he allowed only seven home runs over 102 home innings. If you're going to trust Lincecum, do it for his home starts. Some owners may look to bench Ryan Vogelsong on the road, as his ERA away from AT&T Park is just 3.82 since joining the Giants in 2011. However, those road splits have more to do with his strand rate than his homer rate, but as long as he continues to keep the ball in the park, he should be a safe start most weeks.

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Marlins (Marlins Park): Aside from Jose Fernandez, the Marlins don't have starters worth using in standard mixed leagues, but a couple of deeper-league options have more value when pitching at home. Wade LeBlanc and Kevin Slowey are too flyball-prone to trust in most venues, but at Marlins Park, both are must-starts in NL-only leagues. LeBlanc in particular has a history of good splits at pitcher's parks, having fared well in home starts as both a Marlin and a Padre.

Athletics (O.co Coliseum; vs. LHB only): Southpaw Tommy Milone has actually had more problems with homers against lefties than righties, so it's little surprise that he has had great home splits as a member of the A's, given how tough his home park is on left-handed batters. In 17 starts at O.co Coliseum, Milone has allowed only eight home runs over 112 1/3 innings with a 2.72 ERA. When he pitches in Oakland, Milone can be used even in one-start weeks in standard mixed leagues.

Twins (Target Field; vs. LHB only): Of the Twins' top four starters, Vance Worley is the least reliant on ground balls to have success, so especially as a righty, he would seem to benefit from having Target Field as his home park. However, Worley has had more trouble containing righties over his career, and Target Field plays as a neutral power park for right-handed hitters. Fantasy owners can disregard the park factor for Twins pitchers, including Worley, in their home starts.

Red Sox (Fenway Park; vs. LHB only): The Red Sox starter who would probably benefit the most from pitching at Fenway Park is John Lackey (biceps), but he's stuck on the 15-day disabled list. Also, it's been since 2010 since we have seen evidence of Lackey getting a boost from his home splits, and even then, a .334 home BABIP erased whatever advantage he might have enjoyed from a low homer rate. There's not much of a Fantasy impact here for Boston's rotation.

Indians (Progressive Field vs. RHB only): Brett Myers has infamously struggled with the long ball over his career, but Progressive Field just might be the cure for what ails him. He has been more homer-prone versus righties, so Myers' new home park could help to keep his home run rate in check. It won't be enough to make him viable in standard mixed leagues, but Myers can be started in deeper leagues when he's at home.

Pirates (PNC Park; vs. RHB only): Better command made a difference for A.J. Burnett last season, but his move from Yankee Stadium to PNC Park played a role, too. Allowing only eight home runs over 110 1/3 innings helped Burnett to limit his home ERA to 3.10, so if you're ever going to sit him, it should be when he's on the road. James McDonald had favorable home splits in each of his two full seasons with the Bucs, and Monday's debacle at the hands of the Cardinals aside, McDonald should be used for home starts in deeper mixed leagues, even in some one-start weeks.

Cardinals (Busch Stadium; vs. RHB only): Lance Lynn is being started in 78 percent of the leagues on CBSSports.com, but with a career 4.37 ERA in away games, should he be benched when pitching on the road? Lynn's HR/9 rate in away games (1.0) is considerably higher than in home games (0.6), but he should still be good enough to use in most weeks, regardless of venue. Lynn has been penalized on the road with a .350 BABIP that is bound to shrink going forward.

Homer-Friendly Parks

White Sox (U.S. Cellular Field): Contact pitchers with decent walk and ground ball rates are easier to find than a Kardashian in a grocery store tabloid, so there's no reason to go out of your way to get Jose Quintana in a mixed league. If you do own him in a deeper format, you can at least trust him when he makes starts on the road. Not surprisingly, Quintana has been taken out of U.S. Cellular Field nine times in his 69 1/3 innings there, contributing to a 4.54 home ERA. Away from his launching pad of a home park, Quintana has a 3.12 ERA and a 0.7 HR/9 rate. Quintana has probably overperformed a bit on the road, but he should still be worth a deep-league start when away from the Windy City.

Orioles (Oriole Park at Camden Yards): With high flyball rates, Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez both profile as pitchers who would fare worse at Camden Yards than away from it, and that has actually been the case. Chen's ERA and WHIP splits are actually not very drastic, as he has piled up more strikeouts in home starts. Gonzalez, on the other hand, has been a far better pitcher overall on the road than at home. Having pitched fewer than 40 career innings at home, perhaps Gonzalez's splits will narrow. Both pitchers have strong enough flyball tendencies, though, that they are risky in home starts. Unless they are facing particularly weak lineups, they should be sat when pitching in Baltimore.

Rockies (Coors Field): Is Jhoulys Chacin back to his rookie form? His early ERA and WHIP say "yes," but a 6.5 percent whiff rate says "maybe not." Even assuming the best for Chacin, he has not been immune to the Coors Effect, so he is a risk to start at home. If he continues to induce grounders like he has in the early going, Chacin should be safe to use in away games, and a 3.01 career road ERA attests to that.

Reds (Great American Ball Park): Homer Bailey has been aptly named for his home starts, and even during last season's breakout, he allowed 21 of his 26 homers at GABP. He may not match last year's 2.32 road ERA, but Bailey is good enough at limiting home runs away from Cincinnati to be a worthwhile start in most formats. Mike Leake also has lopsided splits, but he's had enough trouble with homers on the road (career 1.1 HR/9) that he is still just a deep league option during road trips.

Brewers (Miller Park): Kyle Lohse comes to Miller Park after enjoying low home run rates as a Cardinal, which were aided by pitching home games at Busch Stadium. He may be trustworthy most weeks on the road, but he is not an automatic start at home. Mike Fiers has issues other than this flyball tendencies, as his starts are being skipped for now. Even if he resumes getting regular turns in the rotation, Fiers should be avoided some weeks at home, where he has allowed 12 home runs in 74 2/3 career innings.

Yankees (Yankee Stadium; vs. LHB only): Both Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova have lopsided HR/9 splits. Nova's 5.02 ERA from last season has rightfully soured owners in many mixed leagues, but Hughes' 3.70 ERA from June forward last year showed that he still has value. He's still not all that safe at home, though, and he relied on an 80 percent strand rate (per FanGraphs.com) to post a 3.74 ERA at Yankee Stadium in 2012. Hughes is worth owning in mixed leagues, but he should be used with caution whenever he has home starts.

Rangers (Rangers Ballpark at Arlington; vs. LHB only): Derek Holland has been good at containing lefties, so you might think that he is capable of taming his home park. However, the Ballpark at Arlington is also a pretty good -- if not extreme -- venue for right-handed power hitters. That has certainly factored into Holland's career 5.20 home ERA. With a 3.50 road ERA going back to 2011, Holland is a solid option for standard mixed leagues when he's on road trips.

Indians (Progressive Field; vs. LHB only): Lefties have taken Zach McAllister out of Progressive Field nine times in just 49 1/3 innings, so his home park is clearly not working for him. He's mainly an AL-only option anyway, but even in those formats, owners should consider sitting the righty during homestands.

Blue Jays (Rogers Centre; vs. RHB only): Like fellow southpaw Holland, J.A. Happ has been much better at handling lefty batters, but his struggles with righties could be especially problematic at Rogers Centre. Happ made strides last season in improving his ground ball and walk rates, so he is worth owning in mixed leagues, but his splits make him a gamble to start when he pitches at home.

Phillies (Citizens Bank Park; vs. LHB only): Lefty batters have frequently taken both Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan deep over the course of their respective careers, but that won't have much of a Fantasy impact for either pitcher. While both are dangerous to use when starting in Philadelphia, neither is a recommended option on the road either.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Padres' Jedd Gyorko on sporadic playing time: 'It's always tough'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:12 pm ET) Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko was out of the starting lineup for the fifth time in six games Monday, and he has been working with hitting coaches Mark Kotsay and Alonzo Powell to jump-start his lagging bat, U-T San Diego reports.

"It's always tough," Gyorko said about the sporadic playing time. "But at the same time, we're trying to win games, obviously. So when the opportunity presents itself, you've just got to go out there and perform. I think that's the main thing for now."

Gyorko has hit just .149/.231/.191 in 47 at-bats.

"We need to get Jedd going," manager Bud Black said before Gyorko's start Sunday.


Orioles-White Sox game postponed again Tuesday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:50 am ET) The Orioles-White Sox game was postponed for a second straight day Tuesday due to protests near Camden Yards. No makeup date has been announced for the game yet.

White Sox starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija and Orioles starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez were scheduled to start Tuesday's game. No word yet on how this will affect both teams' rotations moving forward.


Blue Jays' Gibbons continue to show confidence in Castro, Osuna
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:43 am ET) Blue Jays rookie relievers Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna have both endured some struggles as of late

Castro suffered his second loss of the season Monday against the Red Sox, which came two days after he suffered his second blown save. He has allowed at least one run in four of his last five appearances.

Osuna has allowed one run in two straight appearances and suffered his first blown save Monday.

"[Castro has] had a couple of tough ones," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said after Monday's loss, per MLB.com. "Maybe we'll back him down a little bit. But same way with [Roberto] Osuna, we have confidence in these guys. We're asking a lot out of them, but it's just the way it goes. You find some things out.

"I love both of them, I think they're both going to be great pitchers when it's all said and done, but we're asking a lot out of them, and I'm not sure how fair that is."

It appears Castro might be pitching his way out of save opportunities, as Brett Cecil could return to the closer's role shortly. Still, Gibbons is hoping the 20-year-old Castro can overcome his recent struggles.

"I hope he understands the reason I'm putting him in there is because I have confidence in the kid," Gibbons said. "I also understand how tough it is in the big leagues, and you take your lumps. He's a tough kid, he really is. He's going to be a [heck] of a pitcher."


Rangers' Choo working through some major offensive struggles
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:27 am ET) It doesn't matter where Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo bats in the lineup these days -- he still can't buy a hit

Choo, who was dropped to seventh in the batting order Saturday, went 0 for 4 on Monday against Seattle, extending his hitless slump to 20 at-bats. He last got a hit April 19.

"You watch him and he's definitely not getting the desired results," manager Jeff Banister said of Choo, per MLB.com. "It's been a challenge for Choo this month. He continues to work. He continues to study."

Choo is batting .096 (5 for 52), which is a league-low among qualified hitters. His only multihit game came on April 9. 

"This is a guy that has proven to be a professional hitter, lifetime .290 hitter, this is a guy that we believe in what he's going to be," Banister said. "This has been a tough stretch for him."


Astros OF Colby Rasmus thriving on the road in 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:13 am ET) Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus has been a different hitter on the road than at home in 2015. Through 17 games, he is batting .067 (1 for 15) with no home runs or RBI at home, while he is batting .350 (14 for 40) with one triple, three doubles, three home runs and seven RBI on the road.

Rasmus is batting .345 (10 for 29) with four multihit games, two doubles, two home runs and five RBI through seven games on the team's current road trip.

"I say in the last homestand I was just seeing some things and feeling my way through what was going on with my swing and where I needed to be, and in this road trip I've been able to make some adjustments on what I felt I needed to do and they helped me a lot," he said, per MLB.com. "Yeah, I feel good about it, just battling."


Rockies' Weiss expects Tyler Matzek to make next start
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:07 am ET) Rockies pitcher Tyler Matzek said he was just suffering from cramping Monday when he came out of his team's 5-4 win over the Diamondbacks prematurely due to a hamstring injury, MLB.com reports.

"It was just cramping up," Weiss said. "It cramped up on a few of those warmup pitches and on the first pitch of that inning, and I didn't want to push it."

Manager Walt Weiss considers the injury a short-term issue and expects it won't keep Matzek from pitching later this week in San Diego.

"Yeah, he'll make his next start," Weiss said. "I expect him to make his next start."

Matzek moved to 2-0 with his win Monday and owns a 2.70 ERA and 13:13 K:BB ratio in 20 innings over his first four starts.


Dodgers' Mattingly: 'We're going to have to find at-bats for' Guerrero
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:00 am ET) Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after Monday's game that the team has to find more playing time for infielder/outfielder Alex Guerrero after the rookie's hot start, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"We're going to have to find at-bats for Alex the way he is swinging," Mattingly said.

Mattingly said that Guerrero could play at shortstop, third base and left field. He may start to see extended action in left field if Carl Crawford, who is dealing with an injury to his side, has to go on the disabled list. Guerrero is 11 for 22 with five home runs and 13 RBI in 11 appearances.


Dodgers to evaluate LF Carl Crawford Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:55 am ET) Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after Monday's game that left fielder Carl Crawford will be evaluated Tuesday after coming out of the game with pain in his right side, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Mattlingly added that the issue "sounds like" an oblique injury, which typically take about a month to heal. That timetable would likely land the outfielder on the disabled list.

"Historically, things like that don't really go away overnight," Mattingly said. "But we've got to give it a shot."

If Crawford does need a trip to the disabled list, it would be his fifth stint in four years, all for injuries to different parts of the body. He has hit .245/.260/.408 with one home run, three RBI and one stolen base in 49 at-bats.


Astros OF George Springer swipes three bases Monday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:42 am ET) Astros outfielder George Springer didn't have a hit or RBI on Monday against the Padres. However, he still found a way to make an impact in a 9-4 win.

Springer drew three walks Monday and had a career-high three stolen bases. He had never had more than one stolen base in a game prior to Monday. He also finished with two runs and two strikeouts.

Springer, who is 7 of 8 in stolen-base attempts this season, is batting .235 (8 for 34) with a .500 slugging percentage, .872 OPS, two home runs, three doubles, four RBI, eight runs, eight walks, 12 strikeouts and five stolen bases in his last nine games.


Mets recall Rafael Montero from Triple-A Las Vegas
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:33 am ET) The Mets recalled pitcher Rafael Montero from Triple-A Las Vegas Tuesday.

Montero will make his first start of the season Tuesday in Miami after opening the season in the bullpen and being send down to the minors to prepare for a starting role. He is expected to stick in the rotation, as the team will turn to a six-man rotation temporarily to help reduce the workload on Matt Harvey's arm.

Montero struggled in two Triple-A starts, giving up six runs (five earned) in 7 2/3 innings but racking up seven strikeouts against only one walk.


 
 
 
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