The Marlins announced on Wednesday two new changes to Marlins Park for the 2020 season: a synthetic grass surface will be installed, and the center and right-center field fences will be moved in towards home plate. The straightaway center field fence will be 400 feet from home plate, down from 407. The right-center field fence will be 387 feet from home plate, down from 392.
Marlins Park has long been one of baseball’s most pitcher-friendly ballparks, particularly for right-handed hitters when it came to hitting for power. According to StatCorner, the home run park factors for left- and right-handed hitters last year were 85 and 74, respectively. 100 is set as the average. By comparison, the Padres’ Petco Park had respective home run park factors of 89 and 93.
While it is understandable why the Marlins would want to move the fences in, we are coming off of the most home run-happy season in baseball history. 2017’s single-season record of 6,105 homers was obliterated with the 6,776 dingers hit this past season, thanks in large part to changes in the baseball.
We are also in an unprecedented era of “three true outcome” baseball — walks, strikeouts, and homers. Ballparks with bigger dimensions allow for more opportunities for doubles and triples, which leads to more exciting baseball games. So it is a bit disappointing to see Marlins Park shrinking and becoming more generic.