January 2, 2010 at 10:23 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves
Introducing Ballpark Overlay Tool (Beta)
You’re in a bar (or on an internet message board) talking about a player changing (or potentially changing) teams during the off-season. The hitter has serious power, but you’re not sure how well the power will translate from their hitters’ park to your team’s pitchers’ park. How many of those HR’s will your team’s home park eat?
Well, fear not, because I’ve developed a tool that helps you do something to attempt to answer that question in a visual manner.
What you need:
First of all, you need Adobe Photoshop. I used the CS2 version to develop this tool, but any version should work. There are a number of ways to acquire Photoshop, both legal and illicit. I’d encourage you to purchase a copy (the legal way), though I’m not here to help Adobe’s cause or judge anyone. Secondly, you need access to Hit Tracker Online. Third, the Ballpark Overlay Tool (Beta).
How does this work?:
Open the Ballpark Overlay Tool in Photoshop. Somewhere on your screen, you’ll see a small window called “Layers”. Layers are basically Photoshop’s way of stacking images, which creates infinite utility. There are 31 layers in this Photoshop file, one for each ballpark that will be used for major league baseball games in 2010, and a thirty-first layer reserved for a player’s Home Run chart from Hit Tracker Online (dubbed “PlayerImage”). You have the option of hiding or showing each layer. When you open the file, the only layer that is visible is the aforementioned thirty-first layer. It’s Jordan Schafer’s 2009 Home Run chart.
Assuming Jordan Schafer’s two home runs aren’t what you’re looking to analyze, you’ll need to change the image in that layer. To do this, simply go to Hit Tracker Online and find the chart you want to use. With the “PlayerImage” layer selected in Photoshop, copy the image of the Home Run chart you wish to study and paste it into the file. You now should be looking at the image you just saw on Hit Tracker Online, except in Photoshop.
Now, to add a ballpark’s overlay to the diagram, simply return to the “Layers” window, find the park you’re looking for (they’re all appropriately named), and click the box in the left column corresponding to the layer. Voila, a translucent, colored overlay of that ballpark should be displayed on top of the player’s Home Run chart.
A few things of note:
One, the opacity of the first 11 ballparks in the file is inconsistent with that of the other 19. If this is a problem, the opacity of the aforementioned 19 can be adjusted down (more transparent), though the opacity can’t be adjusted up for the first 11. This is something I intend to correct for the next release.
Two, if you want to view multiple overlays, simply check multiple boxes. The first layer in the “Layers” window is the top one displayed, arrange them as you see fit.
Three, I highly recommend keeping an archived version of this file and a working copy. When you first download the file, save it in a convenient directory, open it, and save it under a different file name in another (or the same) directory. Use one to play around with, create images, etc… Use the other one to recover the file should you accidentally flatten the image or something.
Let’s try it:
Let’s say we want to see how Troy Glaus’s ’08 home runs would look in Turner Field. First, open the Ballpark Overlay Tool in Photoshop and select the “PlayerImage” layer. Then go to Hit Tracker Online and pull up Glaus’s home run chart from ’08. Copy, paste into Photoshop. Then, in the layers window, un-hide the “Turner Field” layer. You should have something that looks like this:
Looks alright to me.
Another. Johnny Damon has recently been linked to the Braves. I certainly can’t complain about the .366 on base average he’s posted the past 6 years, but how many of the 24 home runs he hit last year would actually be home runs if he played his home games in a more pitcher-friendly ballpark? As we did earlier, open the file in Photoshop, select the “PlayerImage” layer, go to Hit Tracker Online, copy Damon’s Home Run chart, and paste it into the appropriate layer. This time, however, I want to use two ballpark overlays, one of New Yankee Stadium, one of Turner Field. So, I un-hide both Turner Field and New Yankee Stadium. As I mentioned earlier, the opacity is a problem, here, so I need to do something to correct it. First of all, I put Turner Field’s overlay on top of Yankee Stadium’s, which makes it a bit easier to see. Then, I select the New Yankee Stadium layer and change the opacity to 75%. The result:
Looks like the New Yankee Stadium did, in fact, help him out quite a bit.
Play around with it, see what you can come up with. I hope you enjoy using it.
Special thanks to Hit Tracker Online for providing the graphs and the inspiration and Andrew Clem for ballpark dimensions. Please credit both Hit Tracker Online and Andrew Clem, in addition to Capitol Avenue Club, if you publish anything using this tool.
In the next version, I’ll have more ballparks (old ones), updated visualizations, and a few other tweaks. I wish I could tell you when I expect to have it done.