The Giants announced on Thursday that some improvements have been made to their stadium, Oracle Park, for the 2020 season. New bullpens will be located behind the center field wall. They used to be in foul territory, which was a safety risk for players, particularly with the bullpen mounds when fielders attempted to catch foul balls.
The outfield fences are also being moved in. The left-center field fence is now 399 feet from home plate, in from 404 feet. Straightaway center field is now 391 feet, eight feet shorter than it was previously. Triples Alley is now 415 feet, in from 421. Additionally, the height of the center field fence has been reduced from eight feet to seven.
Oracle Park has long been one of baseball’s more pitcher-friendly parks. According to StatCorner, in 2019 Oracle Park had a home run park factor of 65 for left-handed hitters and 75 for righties. 100 is average.
As mentioned when we discussed the Marlins moving in fences at Marlins Park last week, we’re coming off a season in which a record amount of home runs were hit. We are generally in an era of high offense. As a result, it is a bit disappointing to see some of the more pitcher-friendly parks having their fences moved in. Relatedly, we have never seen more “three true outcomes” — walks, strikeouts, homers — than in this era. Bigger parks lead to more doubles and triples (as well as potentially thrilling catches), which is more exciting baseball.