The San Francisco Giants unveiled 2020 Oracle Park dimensions, as the bullpens are moved to center field in an attempt to generate more offense and remove players from the old bullpens next to the foul lines.
By the stats, Oracle Park has always been a pitchers’ ballpark: the 2019 ranking of park factors from ESPN lists it as the most pitcher-friendly ballpark in the majors. (Yeah, we know park factors is a little more complicated, but for our use this will do.) With expansive dimensions in the power alleys–including a 421-foot Triples Alley in right-center field), the Oracle Park outfield always has been known as the place where homers die.
The bullpens have been located in the field of play in foul territory since Oracle Park opened in 2000, though there have been calls in recent years to move them for safety reasons. With the move of the bullpens in San Francisco, Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field and Oakland’s RingCentral Coliseum will be the only two MLB ballparks to have bullpens in play in foul territory.
Here are the 2020 Oracle Park dimensions:
Left-Field Foul Pole: Stays at 339 feet
Left-Center Field: 399 feet (down from 404 feet)
Center Field: 391 feet (down from 399 feet)
Right-Center Field (Triples Alley): 415 feet (down from 421 feet)
Right-Field Corner: Stays at 309 feet
The construction of bullpens in center field will alter the left-center, center-field and right-center fences, as space for the pens will be taken both from the old playing field and the removal of some center-field seating. The Giants say a study of past performance indicates that there will be some additional offense generated from the changes–though, at 415 feet, Triples Alley still should live up to its name.
The other benefit to the change, say the Giants, is more access to players. Standing-room terraces will be built next to the side-by-side two-mound bullpens, allowing anyone in the park to get a closer look at the players. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
“The two things I’m confident will happen are a), there will likely be an increase in offense as a byproduct of the changes, the extent of which is to be determined,” Giants executive vice president Alfonso Felder said, “and b), fan engagement overall will actually be better because these spaces will be available to fans.”