By: Stache Staff

Lowering the Bar?


I’ve always liked big ballparks, probably not as much as a Major League pitcher though.

Bigger parks offer a security blanket from the average pitcher to the elite pitchers of the game. It meant that even if you didn’t pitch your best, you’d still have plenty or real estate behind you and, hopefully the ball will land safely in your fielders glove.

So, when Sandy Alderson announced he was bringing in the fences at Citi Field (again), I was slightly annoyed. I know Sandy moved the fences about three years ago in both right and left field and I thought that would be the end of it. I’d rather the fences be left alone because of the security blanket a big park offers.

The section of Citi Field that will be impacted for the 2015 season are center and right field. Center field has gone from 390 feet to 380 feet and right field moved from 375 feet to 370 feet. And from the looks of it, it might be a good idea.

Sandy mentioned that 27 home runs would of been hit at Citi last season under these new dimensions, 17 of which would of been hit by the Mets. In theory this could help out players like Duda, Granderson and Wright. All of which have power to right field. But, those guys could hit the long ball at right field even if Sandy decided not to move the walls in. But, at the same time, 17 missed homeruns is something I’m sure the Mets would like to have back.

Sandy is trying his best to construct a winning team to make us contenders. And he’s done a great job so far, but homeruns alone don’t guarantee wins. At the end of the day, wining brings in money. After all, baseball is a business and money is to be made. Even if it means making it easier for some of our players to hit the long ball to win us games. Is Sandy really doing the Mets justice here by lowering the bar? Why not bring us another power bat if you want to see more home run production? I think we should be cautious here. We don’t how this will pan out. In a perfect world, it would work. But, since this isn’t a perfect world, I have some concerns.

I’m still proud of Duda hammering 30 home runs last season. His recent power surge came as a surprise to many. The most home runs hes hit in a season was 15 in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The question with Duda is: Was his homerun hitting prowess a mere fluke or is his power switch still on? The jury is still out on that and we’ll have to find out as the season progresses. If he doesn’t live up to expectations then bringing the walls in will be a bust.

The next issue is Granderson. I like this guy but I don’t like the huge slump he went into. I don’t need to get into the problems this presents. If he dumps homeruns into right field as this is designed for him to do and becomes the offensive player we all know he can be, we could win more games. But, as far as Granderson goes, as long as he hits, I’ll be happy. Last but not least is Wright. It’s no secret his power has diminished. Last season was his worst offensive performance of his career.

Everyone wants to look at the home run aspect of bringing the fence in but I’m going to focus a little on the fielding as well. Our outfield is going to be affected, no questions asked. Players like Juan Lagares (Gold Glove winner 2014) in center and Granderson in right field. Just think about all the flyballs that would of been caught in 2014 but are now homeruns in 2015. Those are going to be missed fielding opportunities for our outfielders. Aside from the home run benefit this may bring Grandy, another benefit could be found fielding right. Grandy has an average throwing arm in the outfield so maybe by making that part of the park smaller may help him out in that department? Just a hunch.

While the Mets will try and slug home runs in that part of the field, we must remember that other teams will be trying do exactly that. The Mets will be playing 81 home games in 2015. That’s 81 games where Mets pitching needs to be careful and mindful of that part of Citi. In pitching inches can mean the difference between a strike and a ball. Feet can mean the difference between a fly out or a homerun. Citi Field just got smaller by 10 feet in center and five feet in right. It will be interesting to see how it affects 2015 for the Mets.

About Jonathan Morales

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