The Mets aren’t built correctly

The New York Mets have been criticized throughout the whole season for the way that they have performed on the field. Most players, with the exception of Jacob deGrom and Brandon Nimmo, most players have fell very short of their expectations, or have not been on the field to execute those expectations. As an aggregate however, we should criticize the construction of this team. After all, this team is a victim of being built for the wrong type of ballpark.

The Mets have been scoring runs at an incredible pace lately. Between a two game stretch, against the Baltimore Orioles and the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets scored a grand total of 40 runs. Not only did this make deGrom shake his head in disbelief, but it had many Mets fans asking if the team had finally put it together. What those fans need to do however, is take a step back and look at the one commonality between the Phillies and Orioles. Both of those teams just happen to play in stadiums that are known league wide for their friendliness to power hitters.

Since its inception in 2009, Citi Field has been basically known as the opposite. The field that the Mets have called home now for almost 10 years may be beautiful for a fan to catch a game in, but hitters have struggled at the plate there. This year, Citi Field has the lowest ranking on ESPN’s park factor ranking, and it is not even close. Citi Field’s number is .687, with the next highest being the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum at .754. According to ESPN, Park Factor compares the rate of stats at home vs. the rate of stats on the road. A rate higher than 1.000 favors the hitter. Below 1.000 favors the pitcher. While this may be nice for Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard, the lineup of this team suffers from playing in a stadium that it just simply isn’t designed for.

There are numerous statistics that show that this lineup was crafted to play in other stadiums. The Mets have hit 49 home runs at home, while they have slugged 78 home runs on the road. Compare that to the aforementioned Phillies, who have hit 84 at home and 49 on the road. Possibly the stat that stands out most is that the Mets are hitting .214 at home, but .256 on the road. This tells me that these players are very capable of hitting productively, but maybe just not at Citi Field.

How can the front office fix this problem? They certainly can’t build a new stadium, and they certainly shouldn’t. Their team ERA at home is 3.81, which is impressive considering that Jason Vargas has a home ERA of 6.75. The pitching staff benefits strongly from pitching at Citi Field, which is beneficial to the young arms that are starting to come into form. Instead they need to build a lineup with maybe only one or two hitters focused on power, with the others focused on speed and getting on base. With players with more speed, gap hitters will take advantage of a spacious outfield, and there will be more runs generated. While a lineup with power hitters from top to bottom may sound enticing, the fact of the matter is that it will not work at Citi Field.

10 comments for “The Mets aren’t built correctly

  1. MattyMets
    August 18, 2018 at 10:01 am

    The original dimensions of CitiField were even more pitcher friendly. At the time we had a lot of team speed, but rather than play to our strengths, the organization decided to turn us into a 1980s American League style team. We traded away Angel Pagan and let Reyes leave. We moved the fences in and started bringing in veteran home run hitters who couldn’t run the bases or field.

    Athleticism and youth, aka, speed and defense, is especially important when you play in a park like CitiField and are built around pitching. I’ll never understand why Alderson and ownership don’t get this. This franchise could have and should have been like the 80’s Cardinals with rabbits flying around the bases and diving catches all over the field.

  2. TexasGusCC
    August 18, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Outstanding article Dalton. Your information is yet another indictment of a fine human being but failure of a GM that for 7 years always looked to force the issue in a way he insisted on, like his putting players in positions where they didn’t belong, Alderson put together teams that were always faulty and rosters were unbalanced. To exacerbate this trend, what’s scary is that the Coupons rather than creating an analytical team to match their competitors want to actually scale it back hen they hire a new GM. It took many years for the Orioles to overcome Peter Angelos (who is actually from the island of Greece that my family is from) until his sons took over, and it looks like the Mets are screwed for a while.

    However, since lightning has struck the same place twice and I have seen unexplained circumstances, let’s assume a baseball miracle can happen and the light actually goes on in the Front Office. Jay Bruce at first base may help the offense, but then he blocks Alonso. So, I maintain that I would approach the Rockies about trading Bruce for Ian Desmond. It would give the Mets much better defense and flexibility. Desmond can fill in everywhere well, and even if he costs more than Bruce, Bruce isn’t the right player for this team. That’s just the first, but it would be a heck of a start.

  3. Madman
    August 18, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Talent, that’s the problem. Not one non-pitcher is an above average player most are below average. The pitching is not what it was touted to be with the exception of DeGrom and the last 6-8 starts of Wheeler. Bautista,Reyes,Jackson being semi regulars says a lot.

  4. IDRAFT
    August 18, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Excellent post Dalton. Maybe the best I’ve read all year.There is a glimmer of hope right now with Sandy out to pasture with his outmoded ideas. It’s slim given who is doing the hiring but it’s something.

  5. Pal88
    August 18, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Great perspective on what’s been ailing the Mets. The fix is to get younger and quicker. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

  6. Chris F
    August 18, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    I disagree with you enough Dalton, that it is only fair to offer kudos when we’re on the same page. Well done!

    I think you researched this nicely and made a pretty damning assessment of the Alderson regime, which mishandled virtually all aspects of the team from scouting to Citi Field. It doesn’t help the Wilpon’s built a monument absent any thought of 21st Century baseball. The millions spent on bringing in the fences to appease Wright helped production but obviously not enough as your data show.

    What remains out of balance is that we can additionally look at the reverse of this situation to see that fail too. We hear year after year, this team is (and always has been?) a pitching first team. I’m good with that. So if that’s the case, who on earth not make this a defense optimized club and let the hitters be more gap to gap with power at 1B and corner OF? And why bring the fences in?

    This team is totally out of balance as you rightly note. I only hope the new GM sees this and addresses the needs accordingly.

  7. Georgia Mets Fan
    August 18, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    The Mets are definitely built wrong and I’d like to take it a step further. The Mets seem to be built around their pitching more than their offense. What kills me is they have decent pitching but are terrible defensively. They field a bunch of out of position players or so called utility men playing outfield one day, third base the next then over to first base. If you’re going to be pitcher oriented, which is not a bad idea for Citi Field, then you need to be strong up the middle and at the corners. The Mets fail on that aspect daily. The ball seems to find the player least suited to know what to do with it at a crucial time when the games get close.

  8. Madman
    August 18, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    FA signings have been a disaster. Better to spend money on young players in international signings and draft. Better to trade veterans for young players rather than sign as FAs. Wright,,Cespedes,Bruce, have been disasters. Not extending Harvey and not signing Reyes worked out. Young players are the way to go.

  9. Mike Walczak
    August 18, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    This is a great article. I really enjoyed it. You are so right with your assessment, right ballpark, wrong players.

    The Cardinals for years had the formula of speed and defense. Time for the Mets to do the same.

    I think they really have to start with a C.F. who has great defense and would be the leadoff hitter.

    Bruce needs to go. Nice guy, bad fit foev the Mets.

  10. Eraff
    August 19, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    I’m struggling with the Statistical validity here— it seems the major faul with this teams “build” has been more about player quality and health versus “player style”….and I won’t argue that Alderson’s model player has been an ops per dollar profile.

    As for City Field….5 years ago with young players cutting their teeth, I always guesssed that they were getting crushed by management personnel, starting with counting pitches per ab, etc.

    There is always tremendous focus about whether guys can play in NY—it generally is discussed around the Yanks, but I believe the Press and the Negative team atmosphere plays a very large role in performance at Citi Field—I always imagine that it must be absolutely unbearable to play for The Wilpons, including Sandy and all the running mouths around the team.

    The Park is not huge…it seems pretty fair. I know there are definitively small parks in Cinci and Philly, but Citi does not seem to be an overwhelming park dimensionally.

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