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Most outfielders have a designation where they play every game. It seems that in parks like Minute Maid Park (home of the Houston Astros) and Fenway (home of the Boston Red Sox), left field would be the position where you'd place the outfielder with the least athletic ability.

How often do managers swap these positions when visiting other ballparks?

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The skills required to play left and right field are identical, with one exception: the configuration of the bases. A left fielder and right fielder are equally far away from second base and home plate. The right fielder is closer to first base, and the left fielder is closer to third base. For this reason, the corner outfielder with the better arm is typically put in right field, as they are more equipped to make long throws to third base (Throws from the outfield to first base almost never happen, and the few that do happen are usually from right field anyway). Arm strength is the typical criteria used to decide who plays LF/RF.

If one player is significantly worse defender than the other, they may also be put in RF, as balls are slightly more likely to be hit to LF than RF, due to right handed batters being more common than left handed batters.

I am not aware of any case of those positions switching due to the opposing teams field dimensions, although the players would certainly be capable of it.

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  • The way balls would curve from hitters would differ between LF and RF, but that should be easy to adjust to. – pboss3010 Mar 27 at 14:30

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