Since it opened in 1989, Rogers Centre has been one of the best places in baseball to hit a home run. Rogers Centre is known for its iconic home runs like Joe Carter’s (Game 6 of the 1993 World Series) and Jose Bautista’s (Game 5 2015 ALDS). As such, the Toronto Blue Jays were always near the top of MLB in home runs hit. Yet the Blue Jays have been struggling to hit home runs this season. Here are a few reasons why this may be the case.
Rogers Centre History
Rogers Centre is a hitters’ park, but here are some numbers that can back it up. In 2015, Rogers Centre was ranked 3rd in the majors for home runs hit with 203. In 2016, they ranked 10th in the majors with 203 home runs in 81 games. The following season, the Toronto Blue Jays begin to taper off, but the home run total does not. During the 2017 season, 204 home runs are hit in Rogers Centre in 81 games, good enough for 17th in the majors. Yet, the 2018 season sees Rogers Centre back up to 4th with 225 home runs. Fourth place in 2019, 97 home runs in 36 games in 2021, and back up to 4th place with 202 in 2022.
However, in 2023 Rogers Centre has only seen 126 home runs in 58 home games, making them 23rd in the majors. This would put Rogers Centre behind well-known pitchers’ parks like Comerica in Detroit and Citizens Bank in Philadelphia.
Two significant changes from last season and 2023 could account for the lack of home runs this season. One change was to the Toronto Blue Jays schedule, the other to their field in the off-season. With the renovations, the walls moved in the Rogers Centre to no longer be symmetrical. The walls before the renovation were 328 feet at the foul poles, 400 feet in the center field, and 375 between the two. However, with the new renovations, it is still 328 feet at each foul pole and 400 in center field. However, there are now power alleys in left-center and right-center with walls shorter than in previous seasons. These measures make the park more favorable for hitters that hit down the middle. However, balls to either pull side remain in the park due to higher fences.
Before the 2023 season, the schedule saw more games against opponents within the division. Division rivals who played 19 times a season only played the Blue Jays 13 times in 2023. When looking at ballparks where most home runs are, it is no surprise that Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and Camden Yards are at the top of the list. The American League East is known for their home runs, but with fewer games in Rogers Centre without those opponents, this could also account for the decrease in home runs.
2023 Toronto Blue Jays
However, when home runs hit in a particular ballpark, the focus should be on the team that plays all their regular season in Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays have been a team that is always known for hitting home runs. Unfortunately, at this point, no player on the team has reached 20 home runs. Every player has seen their fair share of struggles to hit home runs. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. took nearly three months to hit his first home run at Rogers Centre. Matt Chapman was off to a hot start and hasn’t played back to that level. Even George Springer has yet to hit home runs.
However, the Blue Jays have had an excellent record and are currently in a wild-card spot. As a team that has been above the league average in home runs, it is unusual to see them below most clubs. Although, with changes to the schedule and stadium, could we see a regression in home runs hit in Toronto? Or could this be part of a league-wide trend to see home runs decrease? Is this season a fluke? This should be revisited in the future.