The 2020 Major League Baseball season will mark the last year for Miller Park, but in name only. The Miller Brewing Company’s naming rights come to an end after this season. For the next fifteen years, the park will officially become American Family Field. Despite this, the name Miller Park will always hold a special place in the hearts of many fans. Yet even though the name will change, the effect Miller Park has on the club’s hitting will not.
Miller Park is certainly not a bandbox like Minute Maid Park or Coors Field. It has, however, consistently ranked as one of the more offensively-blessed venues since its inception in the year 2000. Dodger Stadium and Tropicana Field are considered pitcher-friendly parks. This is definitely not a description befitting Miller Park.
Miller Park’s Dimensions
Miller Park is middle-of-the-road in terms of dimensions. It measures 342 down the left-field line, 400 feet to dead away center field, and 345 down the right-field line. The left and right-field allies measure 371 and 374 feet respectively. A scalable eight-foot-high fence borders the outfield. Just ask Lorenzo Cain. The symmetrical field at Miller Park has no short porch, unlike the infamous right field in Yankee Stadium. ‘The House that Ruth Built’ measures a paltry 314 feet down the line for lefthanded hitters.
Surprisingly, no scientific study exists analyzing the theory that an outgoing jet stream is created when Miller Park’s roof is open along with the windows past center field. Yet the most educated of Brewer’s fans will tell you this is true, anecdotally.
Miller Park’s Batting Park Factor
Statistically, Miller Park ranked 17th in the 2019 season, in the category of Batting park factor when considering runs (.0976). Batting park factor (BPF) is calculated by adding all runs scored by or against a team at their home field. This number is then divided by all runs scored on the road. A hitter-friendly park will have a BPF score of 1.000 or greater.
Comparably, in 2019, Coors Field led the pack with a BPF of 1.394. Oracle Park in San Francisco, finished last with a BPF of .798. When analyzing home runs, Miller park finished 14th (1.030) compared to the leader, the Rogers Centre (1.317). Again, pitcher-friendly Oracle park came in last (.691). That’s a significant amount of time slipping down the yellow curly slide for Bernie.
In the past five seasons, Miller Park has ranked 15th (2014), 7th (2015), 17th (2016), 8th (2017), and 15th (2018) in BPF. With the 17th rank from the 2019 season, Miller Park has an average finish of 13th in BPF during this time, solidly in the top half of all MLB ballparks.
Yelich Hitting at Home
Of course, these rankings are substantially dependent upon the home team’s talent. Stellar hitting will increase the stadium’s BPF while shut-down pitching will lower it. Outfielder and Brewer’s star Christian Yelich has certainly had an effect on Miller’s Parks BPF over the past two seasons. In 2019, Yelich hit .347 at home, compared to .312 on the road. He launched ten more home runs at Miller Park (27 versus 17on the road) and slugged .750 compared to .597.
Miller Park is certainly an asset to the Brewers during the bottom half of each inning at home. It also remains one of the most fan-friendly locations in all of Major League Baseball. It will take time to adjust to the name American Family Field. Yet fans can take comfort in the fact plenty of Brewers will cross home plate in the future, significantly due to Miller Park’s effect on hitting.