SNY’s Ted Berg asked this question on Twitter, and it seemed worthy of a detailed response: “Is there any hard evidence that Citi Field plays as an extreme pitcher’s park?”
Well, using the same method as in my “History of Defense” breakdowns, I combined the batting stats for all Mets games 2009-11 thru Sunday’s action, both by and against the Mets. Here’s the home/road splits:
Runs per game:
Batting Average on Balls in Play:
Doubles per 600 at bats:
Triples per 600 at bats:
Home Runs per 600 at bats:
Walks per 660 plate appearances (I used a PA metric rather than at bats for walks and strikeouts):
Strikeouts per 660 plate appearances:
Conclusion: From 2009-11, which now seems a large enough sample size to judge, Citi Field has played as a fairly extreme pitchers’ park, drastically reducing scoring and home runs, depressing batting averages on balls in play, and slightly decreasing doubles and increasing strikeouts. It is, however, a great triples park, undoubtedly due to its spacious power alleys (and a few Mets hitters well-suited to exploit them), and has seen walks increase slightly at home.
UPDATE: So, if the Mets are looking down the road to what kinds of hitters prosper at Citi Field, who should they be looking at? Here’s the 2009-11 home/road splits of Mets hitters with at least 200 plate appearances at Citi Field – home line on the left, road line on the right, and home OPS divided by road OPS in the H/R column:
I admit it’s odd to see Bay (and Tatis) that high, but otherwise it’s the people you’d expect: line-drive/gap hitters like Reyes, Castillo, Pagan and Murphy at the top, Beltran at the bottom (Wright hasn’t suffered at Citi nearly as much as Beltran). Reyes this season is batting .395/.453/.645 with 10 triples in 29 games at home, .277/.315/.361 with zero triples on the road.
So, if the Mets go to the free agent market in 2011, they should be looking to sign a player as much like Jose Reyes as possible. Gee, if only such a player was going to be a free agent after this season…