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How Will a Dome in Arlington Change Competition for 2020?

Posted: 2019-07-08 06:48:59 (ET)    [ 143 views ]

As most of you know, the Texas Rangers will (barring delays) move into a new home for the 2020 MLB Season.  How will that change the ADI’s and the VMI’s and what effect will it have on winning for both the visiting teams and the home team Rangers? A retractable roof, when closed, will change the temperature and the humidity, but not the barometric pressure.  The pressure is about 40% of the issue in ball movement for the pitcher.  The extreme ends of the temperature ranges are about 40%, as well. 

The Texas Rangers are currently the second lightest air in all of Major League Baseball (about 55 ADI), considering the average conditions they play within.  As a home team, over the past decade, or so they have been competitive, but always under pressure by visiting teams.  Almost a decade ago, they played a World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols.  In moving the series from St. Louis in cold air to Texas in hot air, the series turned from a pitchers’ duel to a slug fest in Arlington.  Only a 300 foot change in elevation, but an almost 40 degree increase in temperature caused it.  

Since the Rangers play in the American League West, they will be more competitive leaving their own new stadium and traveling to play the Angels, but will struggle going into Oakland (without new digs) and Seattle.  The Rangers will be more competitive against the Central Division, both at home and on the road, but sea level teams will be more competitive with the Rangers in the new “Closed Roof” atmosphere in Arlington.  The Rangers pitchers will benefit greatly from the temperature change, but may need to re-learn what their most effective pitch will be.  

In the new park, the Rangers will play in almost precisely the same air as in Spring Training in Phoenix at a 61.5 ADI.  The atmosphere with the roof closed will also be almost precisely at the league season average of MLB, (61.5 ADI) as well.  They should get off to faster starts and may come on stronger in mid-summer since many other teams play in 90 degree temperatures.  But this means after long home stands the Rangers hitters will struggle more so at sea level and other locations that are cooler than the 72 degree norms.  Why will they struggle?  When the pitches get more bite at sea level, especially the four-seamer, the Ranger’s hitters will strikeout and pop-up more often and may struggle with strike zone command and decision making.  Look for this to happen when the ADI hits above 68 and in the low to mid 70’s ranges.   The VMI will be a minus 12 to minus 15 in range, if you want to look up the MLB averages for production in those ranges.  

 

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