Blue Jays: How will new Rogers Centre dimensions change baseball in Toronto?
After months of anticipation, the Toronto Blue Jays have finally released the new Rogers Centre outfield dimensions and wall heights for the 2023 season.
Ben-Nicholson Smith of Sportsnet tweeted the official dimensions along with a team-supplied graphic of the new-look outfield.
Here are the new measurements (keep in mind that the wall was previously a uniform 10 feet):
- Left field line: 328 feet (no change), 14-foot-4-inch wall
- Left-center: 368 feet (was 375 feet), 11-foot-2-inch wall
- Left-center power alley: 381 feet (was 383 feet), 12-foot-9-inch wall
- Center field: 400 feet (no change), 8-foot wall
- Right field line: 328 feet (no change), 12-foot-7-inch wall
- Right-center: 359 feet (was 375 feet), 14-foot-4-inch wall
- Right-center power alley: 372 feet (was 383 feet), 10-foot-9-inch wall
The quirky changes, from the shape of the protruding bullpens to the varying wall heights, are a far cry from the uninspired, symmetrical outfield that fans and players have been used to since the ballpark's opening in 1989.
At first glance, the smaller outfield suggests a more prosperous ballpark for home runs. However, as Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic reports (subscription required), the Jays' research and development and analytics departments figured out how to bring in the walls but adjust the heights to "limit the impact on play" and keep it close to the same overall neutral environment.
Last season, Rogers Centre ranked 16th in the league by Statcast Park Factors, rated at an even league-average 100 (although above average for home runs). Apparently, the front office wanted to keep it that way while still giving the outfield a facelift.
How will the outfield defense adapt?
What we may see is more chaos in the outfield. The new wall angles will play differently, creating unusual caroms and leading to more doubles and triples (the park is rated well below average for the latter).
We know the Jays made a point of upgrading their outfield defense this offseason with the additions of Daulton Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier. Despite the defensive prowess of the revamped outfield, there will be some adventures as George Springer and company learn how to navigate the new angles.
As the outfield defenders acclimate to their new surroundings, the Rogers Centre outfield should become an advantage for the home team. Not to mention the 8-foot wall in straightaway center where fans will be treated to some highlight reel-worthy home run robberies.