San Francisco Giants Must Bring in Fences, Move Bullpens
By Michael Saltzman
The San Francisco Giants have always loved their unique design to their ballpark. It is certainly one of the most beautiful parks in all of baseball and the sellout crowds throughout the years since its opening in 2000 have given them a home field advantage that is the envy of baseball.
However, after multiple seasons with little offense and even less power, the time has come to make some drastic changes to the park.
Moving the fences in, particularly in right center field, would make the ballpark much easier to hit in. It is 421 feet to the deepest part of the park and many would be home runs become fly ball outs.
Better known as triples alley, they have not seen the amount of triples they had maybe once anticipated when it was designed. Most opposing teams position their outfielders to avoid baseballs going past them in that part of the outfield.
With the winds in San Francisco and the difficulty in pulling a baseball at AT&T Park, the short distance in right field to the wall doesn’t provide many cheap home runs.
Heading into 2019, baseball is about strikeouts, home runs and walks more than ever before. If the Giants want to compete in this era of baseball, they will need to be able to hit home runs at a similar rate to the rest of baseball at home.
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While that does start with getting the players to do that, it is nearly impossible to find hitters that can hit home runs at AT&T Park as it is currently constructed.
If the team were to move in the walls from left to right center field, they would improve the current roster’s chances of hitting home runs. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford would be the current veterans on the roster who would benefit most from the change.
Rookie Chris Shaw and former prospect Mac Williamson were some of the recent power bats brought up to try to give the Giants a jolt in the lineup. If they brought the fences in, their bats could be even more dynamic.
Speaking of Williamson, his concussion earlier this year happened because the bullpens are in the field of play.
While this is a unique feature to the park that many fans enjoyed, it is an idea that no longer makes sense. For every fan that loved seeing pitchers warm up a few feet from their seats, the injury to Williamson proved that it is not worth the risk.
The team can fix the problem by moving the bullpens to the outfield. With the fences in and the bullpens behind them, the Giants could build a team designed for today’s baseball.
Pitching and defense will always be valuable and will always be increasingly so in the playoffs, but the Giants need to give themselves a chance to power their way through 2019.