During the past few weeks, there has been some speculation that in the offseason, the Mets may alter the dimensions of Citi Field so that it could provide more of an advantage to hitters.
Two areas in particular that have been criticized are the high wall in left field and the "Mo Zone" in right field. If the left field wall would get lowered, maybe to the same height as the wall in center field, and if the "Mo Zone" could be drawn in to the same distance as the rest of the right field area, Citi Field could definitely turn into more of an average stadium for both pitchers and hitters.
One big reason that has led to these rumors is the fact that ever since the Mets moved into Citi Field in 2009, the team simply has not hit a ton of home runs. In 2009, star third baseman David Wright dropped to just 10 home runs and only five at Citi Field. A year later, Jason Bay suffered a decline himself and hit six home runs in 2010. Bay does have 12 home runs this year, but it is certainly not at the rate that the Mets originally paid him for.
On the flip side, Citi Field has turned into a good stadium for hitting doubles and triples, with its vast gaps, particularly the one in right center field. As a result, hitters like Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan have used their speed to take advantage of the current dimensions. However, if the dimensions do get altered, will this have a significant impact on players like Reyes and Pagan? Some may say it will, but one needs to look at the big picture overall.
Speaking of Reyes, there has been talk that if the Mets change Citi Field's dimensions, Reyes is less likely to return. Could this be true?
Here are a few reasons why changing Citi Field's dimensions may or may not have an effect on the Mets re-signing Jose Reyes.
Jose Reyes has had a great 2011 season, and by far the best of any Mets hitter this year. He has been consistently batting over .330 all season and has 16 triples and 37 stolen bases with just three games to go in the season.
In order for him to be productive, the Mets needed Reyes to get on base consistently, steal bases and affect the mentality of opposing pitchers so that the big hitters in the lineup could drive him in. Reyes has done all of the above, but the other Mets hitters simply have not driven him in as much as they should have. One reason why is because the team simply has not been hitting many home runs.
In other words, if the dimensions become more favorable to hitters, and power hitters in particular, the bigger bats, such as Wright, Bay, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, may be able to hit more home runs and drive in Reyes more often.
Another interesting fact about Reyes is that like most of his teammates, his own home run rate has declined since the Mets moved to Citi Field. Back when the Mets were still playing at Shea Stadium, which was more of a fair park for hitters, Reyes hit 19 home runs in 2006, 12 in 2007 and 16 in 2008. Since the Mets went to Citi Field, Reyes has hit a combined 18 home runs in the last three seasons. Reyes may be a leadoff hitter that more known for his speed and contact, but there is every reason to believe that he is capable of hitting at least 15-20 home runs per season in a typical ballpark.
Should the Mets alter Citi Field's dimensions, Reyes' power numbers could definitely go up and if he starts hitting more home runs, he could be considered one of the best five-tool players in the game. All that is really missing for him at the moment—his lack of power.
The only negative effects for Reyes and his game that could result from a potential change in Citi Field's dimensions would be that his doubles and triples numbers could decline a bit. However, with his speed, and as long as he is full healthy, Reyes still should be capable of hitting at least 25-30 doubles per season and at least 10 triples per season.
Again, Reyes is more of a doubles and triples hitter than a home run hitter, but at the end of the day, it's really all about scoring runs and winning games. It would be better for the Mets if Reyes hits a single and then David Wright hits a two-run home run to drive him in, compared to Reyes hitting a triple and no one driving him in that inning.
Obviously, whenever Reyes hits a double or a triple, he can put on a show with his blazing speed, but if the Mets' other hitters cannot drive him in, Reyes' efforts will have all been for nothing. Most, if not all, Mets fans have been very frustrated with the team's underachieving performances since 2009 and if winning games meant that Reyes would not be able to amaze the fans with his blazing speed on a triple as often as he has done, they would take the wins in a heartbeat.
Due to the fact that any changes to Citi Field's dimensions are mainly designed to benefit hitters such as David Wright, Jason Bay and Ike Davis, it would be safe to say that this should not have any effect on whether Jose Reyes re-signs with the Mets or not.
The potential changes would be primarily designed to boost more home runs, and there is no reason why such a change would have a negative effect on someone like Reyes, even if he is a doubles and triples kind of hitter. If anything, these changes could help Reyes a lot because most of the Mets' hitters in the past three seasons have not been able to hit too many home runs in order to drive him in. Leaving runners stranded on second and/or third base is never a good thing.
What really matters is that Reyes sets the table by getting on base and the big bats of the Mets lineup find a way to drive him in, whether it be with a single, a double or even a home run.
All in all, any alterations to Citi Field's dimensions will benefit both the sluggers and the speedsters. It would be a win-win for everyone in the Mets lineup. It's no secret that the current dimensions of Citi Field have mentally affected players like Wright and Bay into trying to do too much in order to be productive. As a result, they have not been hitting as well as they should.
Improving the dimensions will only help the Mets batters be more productive and the Mets should definitely win more games at home in 2012 if the changes end up happening.