The Baltimore Orioles are making a curious change for the 2022 season.
They will move the outfield fences back as much as 30 feet, specifically in left field.
The idea is to create a “playing field that is fair for both hitters and pitchers”.
Orioles plan to move a section of the LF wall at Camden Yards back by roughly 30 feet and raise it by five feet.
The Yankees right-handed hitters have taken full advantage of the friendly dimensions in Baltimore for years. https://t.co/Z6I9S5Vape
— Justin Shackil (@JustinShackil) January 12, 2022
The Orioles shared details of their decision in an email sent to fans whose seats will be modified.
Here is an extract from the email:
“For the start of the 2022 season, the distance from home plate to the left field wall will be pushed back as much as 30 feet, in varying increments at different points in the wall, and the height will raise approximately 5 feet. By pushing back the left field wall, we’ve created a playing field that is fair for both pitchers and hitters.”
The Orioles have one of the worst pitching situations for the 2022 campaign, and they clearly want to do everything they can to change that.
The Orioles Pitching Is In Shambles: Will This Help?
Baltimore ranked 25th in Wins Above Replacement (WAR), with 7.9, in 2021.
But they had, by far, the worst ERA in MLB with 5.85.
The team with the second-worst mark, the Arizona Diamondbacks, finished at 5.15.
The team hit 122 homers at home, Camden Yards, last season: on the road, they just hit 73.
On the other hand, O’s pitchers gave up 155 homers while playing at home and 103 on the road.
The lack of talent is perhaps the biggest reason why the Orioles pitching was so lousy, but there is no doubt the park had something to do with it, too.
“While Oriole Park will remain a hitter’s ballpark, it will no longer be an outlier among the parks,” the email also stated.
According to ESPN, Camden Yards’ left field dimensions were 333 feet, and left-center was 364 feet.
This measure will be good news for left-hander John Means, the ace of the staff, who conceded 1.84 homers per nine innings, a very high mark.
The problem, for Baltimore, is that their pitching outlook isn’t looking very good for 2022.
Means is good, but beyond him, the current major league options are underwhelming: Jordan Lyles, Bruce Zimmermann, Keegan Akin, and Dean Kremer don’t inspire too much confidence, especially not in the American League East against the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Toronto Blue Jays.
Akin and Kremer have some promise, but there is only so much they can do.
Until uber-prospects Grayson Rodriguez and D.L. Hall are called up to the big leagues, the O’s pitching won’t be terribly interesting.
Impact On The Offense
There is also the impact that the O’s decision could have on the hitters.
The Orioles actually have a decent offense, but Cedric Mullins, its leader, isn’t precisely known for murdering the ball and could lose a few homers.
The decision can go both ways, but in the end, it may be beneficial for the organization’s lousy pitching staff.
Perhaps the next order of business should be developing good pitchers that can miss bats consistently, like Rodriguez and Hall.
I guess moving the wall is cheaper than getting real pitching.
— adub (@80dub) January 13, 2022
The offense is actually decent, but until there is some semblance of good pitching in Baltimore, the team will be destined to finish last in the tough AL East.