With all the fuss about moving in the fences and how it’s supposed to be a huge lift for Mets hitters, I decided to take a closer look at the actual stats as far as home runs hit by the Mets batters at Citi Field vs the road, and home runs given up by Mets pitchers at home vs the road. The result did not surprise me and what we’ve been saying here all along.
One of the first things I thought about when the news broke about the decision to move in the fences was that yes it will help Mets hitters, but also, what will this mean to Mets pitchers. Will this help our hitters more than hurt our pitchers or vice versa?
Based on the numbers below, to me, this means doom to the Mets pitching staff. Granted, it’s a small sample, but nevertheless, a good sample based on 3 years at Citi Field.
Mets Pitchers home runs given up (home v away)
2011 - 147 (Home – 58/ Road – 89)
2010 - 135 (Home – 47/ Road – 88)
2009 - 158 (Home – 81/ Road – 77)
First year at Citi Field in 2009, things seemed somewhat normal as far as home runs given up by Mets pitchers at home compared to on the road. Mets were around the middle of the pack on both fronts. Things took a drastic turn for the best for Mets pitchers in 2010 and 2011. 47 HR given up by Mets pitchers in 2010 were the lowest in the Major Leagues. On the flip side, the 88 HR given up on road was 3rd most in the National League, 7th most in Major League Baseball. Diamond Backs gave up the most with 107. Same thing in 2011, only 4 teams in the NL gave up less HR than Mets pitchers at home, versus 89 HR given up on road, which qualifies as the most in the NL. No doubt about it, the Citi Field cavernous size absolutely helped our pitchers tremendously.
Individual Mets pitchers home runs given up (current Mets players) – (home v away)
2011 – 18 (home – 9/road – 9)
2009 – 20 (home – 12/road –
2010 – 16 (home – 3/road – 13)
2010 – 20 (home – 9/road – 11)
2011 – 14 (home – 6/road –
2009 - 18 (home – 6/road – 12)
2010 – 12 (home – 4/road –
2011 – 21 (home – 7/road – 14)
2010 – 13 (home – 3/road – 10)
2011 – 18 (home – 8/road – 10)
As far as individual Mets pitchers based on the above, while there are instances where more HR’s were given up at home vs on the road such as Santana in 2009, for the most part, we can again clearly see that the big field has aided our pitchers big time. The biggest benefactor, Mike Pelfrey.
This is BAD news people. As bad as Mike Pelfrey has been, and he’s been getting worse over the years, expect an uptick in home runs given up at home and even worse performances by this man. I hope I’m wrong, but this does not bode well for Mets fans. In fact, in 2009 and 2011 Mike Pelfrey has given up twice as many home runs on the road than at home.
Mets hitters- home runs (home v away)
2011 - 108 (home – 50/ road – 58)
2010 - 128 (home – 63/ road – 65)
2009 - 95 (home – 49/ road – 46)
From looking the number of home runs by Mets batters as a whole in the first 3 years at Citi Field, one can argue that the deep fences did not hurt Mets hitters when you compare it to the home runs hit on the road. Do I think more home runs would be hit at Citi Field if the fences were in? Yes. But the numbers don’t lie. Based on this, we can easily make the point that the deep fences 100% helped Mets pitchers more than it hurt Mets hitters.
In 2009, Mets were last in NL in home runs hit at home and on the road. In 2010 and 2011, they were at the bottom of the pack in both categories. These numbers suggest the Mets need to find better sluggers rather than pull the fences in.
Individual Mets power hitters home runs (current Mets players) – (home v away)
2011 – 14 (home – 5/road – 9)
2010 – 29 (home – 12/road – 17)
2009 – 10 (home – 5/road – 5)
2011 – 7 (home – 5/road – 2)
2010 – 19 (home – 8/road – 11)
2011 – 12 (home – 6/road – 6)
2010 – 6 (home – 3/road -3)
2011 – 10 (home – 2/road –
2010 – 4 (home – 3/ road – 1)
From an individual perspective, I only listed the numbers from hitters still on the team. You can look back to players that are not on the team anymore and still make a similar case. There are instances here where more home runs were hit on the road, for example David Wright in 2010 & 2011 and Lucas Duda in 2011. But this did not hold true for Jason Bay and Ike Davis.
What does this all mean? To me, its clear that Mets pitchers will feel the pain of moving in the fences moreso than Mets hitters will feel the glory of hitting more home runs. In terms of hitters, the numbers don’t scream out that Mets hitters would drastically hit more home runs with the fences in. Maybe it’s just a fact that we need better power hitters. Guys like Ike Davis are not affected by the deep fence. An Ike moonshot is an Ike moonshot in Citi Field or the Grand Canyon, doesn’t matter. For guys like David Wright, maybe there is something there, or maybe it’s just mental. But adjusting that mentality means ruining that of pitchers who used that deep fence as a crutch. What will happen to mental Mike Pelfrey when balls that normally would be deep outs start shooting over the wall? I’m not looking forward to finding this out.
So before we start getting all giddy about the fences moving in, we need to think about and realize if this was intended to be more of a distraction from the front office from the real team issues at hand. Considering that this is something that was supposed to help the home team, it may actually hurt the home team more. Hitting home runs were never a problem for the other team, now it will be easier for them as well.