is Petco Park a "Pitcher's Park"?

Posted in 2020 in

The quirks from one ballpark to another are what make baseball great. Some stadiums favor pitchers. Some favor 2nd basemen. Some favor Babe Ruth. Is there any truth to these assertions? And why is Petco Park considered a Pitcher’s Park?

A Pitchers Park

A ballpark will get tagged with this label when the confines are deemed to sway in the advantage of pitchers. This means the offense has to work harder to score runs. Parks with a larger outfield, for example, are usually considered pitcher’s parks because fewer balls sail over the fence as home runs. (The exception to this is Coors Field in Colorado, which has the third largest outfield yet because of its high altitude coughs up the 2nd most home runs in major league baseball.) Certainly not a park visiting pitchers look forward to.

Marine LayerConversely, Petco Park is often blanketed by San Diego’s marine layer, which has a dutch oven effect dampening escaping home run balls making for an easier day for pitchers.

Other weather factors also come into play. A hotter stadium can see more balls fly out of the park. And consistent winds can play a role in keeping balls in or lifting them out.

More Pitcher Friendly DetailsShort fences can hurt a pitcher’s chances of fairing well, given the shorter hop required to clear the park. Meanwhile a stadium like Oakland’s benefits from a vast foul ball area. More pop-fly fouls caught means fewer at-bats to score.

Petco Park Humidor

In 2022, all MLB stadiums began storing baseballs in humidors. The goal is to create a more consistent “level playing field” throughout the league across all stadiums. But how does that impact Petco Park? Experts predict it could lead to more home runs in ballparks like Petco Park in San Diego which is already humid.

What are Humidors
Humidors, like the ones you know for cigars, create a climate-controlled environment to store all baseballs at a consistent humidity across all MLB ballparks. The goal is to provide a more competitive balance between offense (home runs) and defense (pitchers). To date, the net result in places like Colorado and Arizona, has been in pitcher-friendly. Those ballparks produce a lot of home runs. The humidors prevent baseballs from drying out, which reduces the “bounce” and how much extra a ball will pop off the bat. subsequently helps pitchers, as dry baseballs have more bounce and can go further off the bat.

Why is Petco Park A Pitchers Park

Ironically Petco recently shortened the run to the centerfield wall at a short pooch of only 396 feet. So why do the Padres have the reputation of playing in a pitcher friendly ballpark? It is a combination of the marine layer and a very dense wind blowing in from the ocean. Additionally, Petco has long and commodious power alleys over 400 feet.

Fewer Home Runs At Petco Park

Here is data of home runs hit per game at Petco Park, from the past 10 years. Also included is the comparative ranking against the other ballparks and the Major League Baseball home run per game average that year:

2012: 0.67 – ranked 29th, vs. MLB avg: 1.02 homers per game
2013: 0.90 – ranked 22nd, vs. MLB avg: 0.96 homers per game
2014: 0.62 – ranked 30th, vs. MLB avg: 0.86 homers per game
2015: 1.02 – ranked 15th, vs. MLB avg: 1.01 homers per game
2016: 1.09 – ranked 21st, vs. MLB avg: 1.16 homers per game
2017: 1.12 – ranked 23rd, vs. MLB avg: 1.26 homers per game
2018: 1.06 – ranked 19th, vs. MLB avg: 1.15 homers per game
2019: 1.25 – ranked 28th, vs. MLB avg: 1.39 homers per game
2020: 1.44 – ranked 9th, vs. MLB avg: 1.28 homers per game
2021: 1.13 – ranked 23rd, vs. MLB avg: 1.22 homers per game

The least pitcher friendly ballparks? Coors Field, Arlington Stadium (Texas Rangers) and Yankee Stadium. Thanks Babe!

Make the most of events and baseball games at San Diego's Petco Park. Join the conversation (@PetcoParkSD) or contact us about info posted on this website. For tickets and stadium experience inquiries, contact the Padres at 619–795–5000.

Petco Park Insider is independently operated and reader-supported, unaffiliated with the Padres organization or Petco Park. These pages contain affiliate links through which we may receive compensation from advertisers if you choose to purchase certain products, at no additional cost to you. It is paid by the advertisers and helps keep our site running. Thank you!

You may also enjoy: