|Will this be a home run in 2013? (Getty Images)|
As you are surely aware, Seattle's Safeco Field and San Diego's Petco Park will each feature more cramped dimensions in 2013. They're moving the fences in, and they're doing so in the service of increasing offense. But when a team makes it easier to hit the ball out of the park, does it really make for a more hitter-friendly environment?
Over at FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan explores this question by looking at four parks that have seen their dimensions altered in recent years: Kansas City's Kauffman, Detroit's Comerica, Petco (this is the second round of alterations for the Padres) and Citi Field in Queens. The data sample is somewhat limited, but Sullivan finds that moving the fences in yields more home runs but doesn't increase run-scoring levels.
Why's that? It's not certain, but it could be that smaller parks tend to increase home run rates while decreasing the rates of other flavors of hits (less ground for outfielders to cover, so less room for balls to fall in). In any event, making such changes doesn't so much change how many runs are scored as it does the way in which runs are scored.
Give Sullivan's piece a read, as he goes into interesting detail on similar such changes that have already been made in recent years.
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