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Why the Lack of Discussion Around Moving Citi's Walls In and Met Pitching?

Adam Rubin today discussed a study that attempted to project how many additional home runs David Wright, Jason Bay, and Ike Davis would have hit if the 2012 Citi Field dimensions had been in place since 2009.

The conclusion was that Wright would have hit 13 more home runs, Bay 9 more home runs, and Davis 2 more last year. 

This is all well and good, but I feel as though folks have been ignoring the elephant in the room: the effect on run prevention.

Since 2009, Met pitchers have enjoyed the 4th largest advantage in terms of Fielding Independent Pitching at their home park. If you look at the difference between their home and away FIP, it's a difference of .63. Only the Padres in the NL had a better advantage (.65). 

The difference here is really about home runs. If you look at xFIP over the same time period (which assumes a constant 10.6% HR/FB for all pitchers to avoid bias from park factors), the Mets ranked 6th worst in the NL (only the Pirates and Nationals were worse).


Yes, the park is projected to still be pitcher friendly (92/100 according to the article, where 100 is neutral), but it's still a pretty significant increase from where it was the past few years (mid- to low-70s). And given how bad the team was at run prevention this past season I don't know that they should be so hot to reduce the advantage Met pitchers gain at home, even with Johan Santana set to return to the rotation next season.

Let us not forget that the returning ace has posted his two highest FB% seasons at Citi Field since 2003. Yes, Santana posted FIPs of 3.79 and 3.54 in 2009 and 2010, but his xFIP was much higher both seasons (4.05 and 4.13). 

So while I am all for giving the offense a little boost (an offense that still managed to score at above the NL average last year), my concern is that the team might be doing more harm than good from a run prevention standpoint.

Maybe I am overestimating the downside, but I am surprised more folks aren't focused on it.