Fantasy Impact of Changing Park Dimensions at Citi Field

ESPN's Adam Rubin reported on Friday that the Mets are going to make "substantial" changes the dimensions of Citi Field in 2012 and expect to announce after the World Series is over.

Some of the changes include:

  • constructing an 8 foot wall in front of the existing 16 foot wall in left field
  • the fences will be moved in in right field
  • and this from Rubin:
A dramatic change will occur in right-center, which had measured 415 feet from home plate. The new depth is expected to be 390 feet -- a 25-foot reduction. That should particularly benefit third baseman David Wright, whose natural power is to right-center.
So will benefit from these changes? Check out my thoughts after the jump:

Who will benefit from the changes to the dimensions of Citi Field? As Rubin mentions in his article, David Wright is the one hitter who has been impacted by the large dimensions of the ball park, and should benefit from the changes. That is, assuming he remains with the team, as some team executives have been quoted saying the team will listen to offers for him this offseason.

Wright will be the biggest beneficiary of moving in the fences in 2012, as he is the team's best power hitter, although Ike Davis and Lucas Duda are no slouches. Wright's batted ball data indicates he is one of the better fly ball hitters on the Mets roster. He hit almost 40% of his batted balls in the air in 211, which was down from the 42.7% mark in 2010. If Wright is over his beaning from a few years ago, he could get back to being the 25 - 30 home run hitter fantasy owners have missed in 2 of the last 3 seasons. Here is his 2010 spray chart courtesy of Katron.org using this color code key:

 

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I used his 2010 spray chart since he had more at bats. You can see from this spray chart that some of his doubles and fly outs will turn into home runs in 2012. I estimate he could have hit 10 more home runs at home in 2010 with the new park dimensions.

Ike Davis, assuming good health, could be a bigger beneficiary than Wright, as he is a left-handed hitter and should benefit from the right center field fence being moved in 25 feet.In his one year plus of major league action, Davis owns a 41% fly ball rate and hit 7 HRs in his 129 at bats last season, for a HR/FB rate of 17%. Let's assume he gets 600 at bats in 2012, I think he is a slam dunk for 30 home runs. Here is his 2010 spray chart courtesy of Katron.org:

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I used his 2010 spray chart since he had more at bats. I estimate he could have had around 5-7 more home runs in 2010 with the new park dimensions.

The last beneficiary is outfielder Lucas Duda, who hit 43% of his batted balls in the air last season and a "low" HR/FB rate of 9.3%. Duda hit 10 home runs in 301 at bats in the big leagues this season, after hitting 10 HRs in just 157 at bats in AAA. He could hit 25 home runs in 2012 with the moved in fences. Here is his 2011 spray chart courtesy of Katron.org:

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Duda could have hit a few more home runs in 2011 with the new park dimensions.

I also looked at the Mets starting pitchers and learned that none of their starters are extreme fly ball pitchers. Here is a look at the Mets starters and their 2011 fly ball rate:

Jonathan Niese- 27.9%

R.A. Dicky- 32.9%

Dillon Gee- 33.1%

Mike Pelfrey- 34.7%

Chris Capuano- 40.4%

The major league average for fly ball rate in 2011 was 35.2%, so the Mets have 4 starters with a below average fly ball rate. Their pitchers will experience some increase in the number of home runs they give up, but as long as they give up a below average number of fly balls, it shouldn't be an extreme increase. 

It appears that the fantasy value of Wright, Davis and Duda should increase a bit in 2012, as they should hit for more power and the Mets should score more runs as a result.

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