Yonder Alonso To Benefit From Changes To Petco Park

By altering the dimensions of Petco Park, the Padres could be playing a very different brand of baseball in these coming years. Long thought of as one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in all of baseball, Petco Park might have a new identity in the future. Due to their decision to move the fences in, the Padres will have to build their team in a different way. For players like Yonder Alonso and Jedd Gyorko, the new dimensions could be extremely beneficial to their success at the plate. However, for pitchers like Edinson Volquez and Eric Stults, they are going to have to learn to keep the ball on the ground more in 2013.

The new dimensions at Petco Park are drastically different from the old. In Right Field, the wall is moving in 11 Feet. In Right-Center and left-center, the walls will be moved in 12 Feet. Also, the visiting bullpen down the Right Fieldline is being relocated to Center Field behind the home bullpen. Padres president Tom Garfinkel told ESPN, “Players know what’s fair and what’s not. When they crush a ball that would be out in 29 other parks, and it’s not out here, they know that it’s not fair. We wanted to make it more fair from that standpoint.” This is the way a lot of baseball feels about extreme pitcher’s parks, so not too many people seemed unhappy with the Padres decision.

Just looking at Yonder Alonso’s 2012 hit chart, if he had played at Petco with its new dimensions, he could have had anywhere from 6-8 more Home Runs in 2012. For someone who only hit nine all season, that makes a pretty big difference. The fantasy baseball implications of the Petco Park dimension change are enormous. Now, Chase Headley looks a lot more likely to repeat his tremendous 2012 season and Cameron Maybin looks like a good bet to break 10 HRs in 2013, something he’s never done before in his Major League career.  I wouldn’t be surprised if more Padres pitchers started throwing more sinkers and trying to keep the ball down more because of the new fences.  Overall, statistics for Padres hitters and pitchers are going to change greatly over the next couple years.

San Diego is no longer going to have a ballpark where hitters find it nearly impossible to hit it out. With these changes, Petco Park will become more of a fair environment for hitters and pitchers. Not to mention, it should be easier for the Padres to draw Free Agent sluggers in the future. Even though teams have proven that it is possible to be very successful playing in a pitcher’s park, the Padres organization realized it wasn’t going to work for them. It will be extremely intriguing to see what kind of effect the new dimensions has on the Padres next season.

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