MLB Power Rankings: The 10 Most Pitcher-Friendly Parks in MLB
People nowadays only worry about offense in sports. It seems that way at least. Long forgotten are the days of close, low-scoring games. Or, could they actually be making a comeback?
Though many MLB ballparks today are dominated by high-scoring games with offense in mind, there are some pitcher-friendly parks. Places like Atlanta's Turner Field and San Diego's Petco Park are pitchers' paradises.
As we saw in 2010 though, maybe the pitcher is making a comeback. To put it bluntly, 2010 was "The Year of The Pitcher." There were a handful of no-hitters and even two perfect games. Philadelphia's Roy Halladay had a banner season with both a no-hitter and perfect game.
With the Steroid Era behind us, baseball looks to be becoming more strategic and defensive-minded again. Teams build with this in mind. Why else would the Phillies go after Cliff Lee to give themselves four of the very best pitchers in baseball? Mind you that they play in a hitter's paradise to boot.
Here are some parks that are a pitcher's best friend.
Honorable Mention: Florida Marlins: Sun Life Stadium
The dimensions of Sun Life Stadium are normal but they look weird on television. The left-center area is very difficult to hit a home run with a high fence. Left field is average at just 330 feet, but again the high wall makes things complex.
Some call this a neutral stadium, but to me and many others, it's still a pitcher-friendly park. Though, statistics support that it's indeed neutral.
It's worked to the Marlins' favor though, as they've won two World Series titles in that stadium.
Finally, they will be getting a new stadium in 2012 and getting rid of Sun Life Stadium.
10. Minnesota Twins: Target Field
Although this park just opened its gates in 2010, it's been obvious from the beginning that hitting home runs can be a challenge. This stadium must be quite harsh to play in during the cold months like April, September and October.
Twins star Justin Morneau said that "right-center to left-center...ridiculous" and that it is "almost impossible for a right-handed hitter to hit a home run to the opposite field and very difficult for lefties." Yeah, that pretty much sums up this new pitcher's haven.
The Twins' new outdoor stadium is said to very nice but has to be bitter cold at times. They should be able to use it to their own personal advantage in the years to come. Not every team can play in that cold weather come playoff time.
9. Milwaukee Brewers: Miller Park
Miller Park is a deep ballpark that favors left-handed power hitters like Milwaukee's Prince Fielder. Believe it or not though, Fielder has hit about the same amount of home runs at home as he has on the road in the past few years.
The dimensions down the line measure at 345 feet in right field and 344 feet in left. These are a bit deeper than your average ballpark.
In addition, this park ranks near the bottom in many offensive statistical categories.
8. Cleveland Indians: Progressive Field
Hitters have an incredibly difficult time at this park. This is one of the elite pitcher parks in all of baseball. Unfortunately for their sake, the Cleveland Indians haven't used it to their advantage in recent years.
Progressive Field is a large park where the ball doesn't carry very well. Even though the venue is very open, the winds seldom affect the offense positively.
This park is equally unfavorable to both right- and left-handed batters. Statistics prove that pitching dominates Progressive Field in every way.
7. Atlanta Braves: Turner Field
Turner Field is among one of the deepest parks in MLB. It's power alleys are mammoth and the ball rarely finds the seats at Turner Field. If it does, one ought to keep it as a souvenir.
While some argue that this park has seemingly become neutral, it was clearly built with the intention to be a pitcher's park. Think first about the time period in which it was built. During that time (mid-90s), the Braves had one of the best rotations ever. It just makes sense and still does, as it suits the Bravos' style.
Generally speaking, this park consistently ranks low in offensive production. Think about it, how often do the Braves have hitters that top 30 home runs in a season? To be precise, it was during the 2006 season when Andruw Jones and Adam LaRoche both topped 30. .
6. New York Mets: Citi Field
Citi Field has already become a nightmare for hitters in just a few short seasons. Look how much David Wright's offense has dropped off in the past few years!
It's very difficult to hit home runs in this park. Ever since the Amazins moved out of Shea, their luck has run dry. It seems that way at least.
The Mets shouldn't have trouble luring pitchers to The Big Apple, right?
5. Los Angeles Dodgers: Dodger Stadium
Left-handed hitters clearly have the edge here, but even so Dodger Stadium is and always will be a pitcher's park. The Dodgers' Andre Ethier benefits from this and has had a few very solid offensive seasons.
Believe it or not, Dodger Stadium is among the worst venues in the league for doubles and triples. Historically, the Dodgers have based their franchise on their pitching, which relates well to their stadium.
The outfield dimensions are sizable and often play a major part in the lack of offense.
4. Oakland Athletics: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
On the surface this park wouldn't remind you of a pitcher's park. The dimensions aren't as deep as some of the others and compare with other neutral parks.
For some reason, this is identified solely as a pitcher's park. The foul territory is the largest in baseball and definitely has something to do with it.
For left-handed hitters, they might as well not even step to the plate at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
3. St. Louis Cardinals: Busch Stadium
St. Louis' new Busch Stadium is where we get into pitchers' paradises. It ranks near the bottom in most offensive categories including runs, hits and home runs.
Right-handed hitters are left in the dark here with lefties having the advantage. This doesn't seem to stop superstar Albert Pujols from MVP seasons.
2. Seattle Mariners: Safeco Field
Look at Seattle's miserable offense as the apex example. Besides Ichiro, many hitters' careers go to die at Safeco Park.
To date, it's the most pitcher-friendly park in the AL. Offenses struggle immensely at this park, though there's one that tops it in the NL.
This is a lot different from the old Kingdome, which was a pure hitters' park. Think of the great hitters that played there. Edgar Martinez, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, etc.
1. San Diego Padres: Petco Park
There's no place like Petco, where the pets go. It's quite comparable to Coors Field as a hitters' park. This is the best pitchers' park in MLB, bar none.
Power numbers go out the window here and very low-scoring games are the norm. Left-handed hitters have an extremely hard time succeeding here. Trust me, Adrian Gonzalez will sure enjoy Fenway a whole lot more. His numbers should be sky-high in Boston in 2011 and beyond.
The Padres try and play towards their strengths. They rely on acquiring pitchers as opposed to hitters.
Without a doubt, this park was built with the pitcher in mind.