Today, the New York Mets unveiled their new ballpark dimensions at Citi Field. It is the second time the Mets have altered their home park dimensions since the stadium opened in 2009, but the changes aren't as widespread. The changes are limited soley to RF, with the Mets bringing the fences in about five to ten feet from last season. General Manager Sandy Alderson said the alterations were made to create an uncontroversial ballpark that plays fair to both hitters and pitchers. In addition, creating a higher run scoring environment for fan entertainment was also a consideration.
Here's some photos of the new RF fence. The white chalk line represents last year's fence line, while the wall behind that represents the original fence from the park's opening:
The new dimensions are similar to Shea Stadium's dimensions, although the wind patterns aren't quite the same:
The 2015 projected rotation for the Mets is currently Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon. GM Sandy Alderson mentioned that he would like to trade one of Colon, Niese or Dillon Gee before spring training, so changes to that projection may occur as the offseason progresses.
The good news for fantasy owners is that the new dimensions should not really affect the young core of Mets starters next season. The reason is because the Mets core of young starters (Harvey, deGrom and Wheeler) generate lots of ground balls, limit fly balls and strike lots of batters out. Strikeouts and ground balls cannot go over the fence for home runs, only fly balls can. So by limiting fly balls and generating lots of grounders and strikeouts, Mets pitching limits the chances of falling victim to shortened fences. Moving in the fences might sound like a bad thing for Mets pitching at first, but it really shouldn't be based on the skillset of 4/5ths of the current projected rotation.
Here's a look at the most recent full season samples for Mets starting pitchers:
Matt Harvey: 47.7% GB%, 32.5% FB%, 27.7% K%
Jacob deGrom: 45% GB%, 31% FB%, 25.5% K%
Zack Wheeler: 54% GB%, 27.3% FB%, 23.6% K%
Jon Niese: 47.7% GB%, 29.8% FB%, 17.6% K%
Bartolo Colon: 39.3% GB%, 38.7% FB%, 17.9% K%
According to Fangraphs, league average numbers are the following:
Four of the starting five in the Mets rotation are excellent at generating ground balls and limiting fly balls. Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler and Niese are all above league average in GB% and below league average in FB%. Three out of the starting five are excellent at generating strikeouts. Harvey, deGrom and Wheeler are all well above league average in K%.
The only current projected starter who may be affected by Citi Field's shortened fences is Bartolo Colon, who has an above average FB%. Dillon Gee and his 37.5% FB% would also be affected if he finds his way into the starting rotation in 2015.
As for the Mets hitters, the new fences will probably help Curtis Granderson a lot. According to Marc Craig of Newsday, Curtis Granderson would have had hit 9 more home runs in 2014 under the new dimensions. Here's a graphic of Granderson's narrowly missed home runs:
That would have taken Granderson's 2014 home run total from 20 to 29.
The alterations to Citi Field's fences really aren't overly significant. The ballpark will most likely play neutral with a lean towards a pitcher's park. Citi Field is not becoming Citizens Bank Ballpark or Great American Ballpark, so don't expect a radical change in run scoring in 2015 and beyond for Citi Field games.