Only a day after I proclaimed David Wright was placing safety before dignity, the recently concussed superstar opted for a more fashionable piece of headgear during the Mets’ 8-3 victory over Colorado Thursday afternoon. Eschewing the Rawlings S100 in favor of a standard piece of skull protection, Wright drove in 3 runs with a double and a pair of singles in his second appearance since being beaned by San Francisco’s Matt Cain. Wright’s 8 home runs in 2009 represent a dramatic career low and anyone expecting his employers to lend a hand in 2010 by reducing Citi Field’s cavernous dimensions had to be surprised today with Adam Rubin’s revelation the club has no such plans. On top of that the Daily News’ reporter collected some compelling testimony from a gentlemen unconvinced Wright’s miserable season can be blamed on the Amazins’ new home.
Wright’s homer totals precipitously declined this season. After averaging 29 a season from 2005-08, Wright has only eight this season, five of which have come at home. Greg Rybarczyk, a former nuclear engineer for the U.S. Navy who runs HitTrackeronline.com, concluded Wright has been deprived of eight home runs by Citi Field’s dimensions compared with Shea Stadium’s.
“However, on those eight ‘stolen’ home runs, Wright has ended up, in reality, with one single, five doubles and two triples, so his average has not been hurt by this – just his slugging a bit and home run total a lot,” Rybarczyk said. “I figure that if Citi Field were sized the same as Shea, his 2009 home run total would go from eight to 16, and his slugging percentage from .466 to .501.”
Overall, an average of 1.67 homers per game has been hit at Citi Field, which places it 11th of 16 NL ballparks, according to data from the Web site. At Shea, albeit with a more potent Mets lineup, there were 2.15 homers per game last year, tied for sixth in the NL.
Through the first three months of this season alone, Rybarczyk concluded, 38 additional homers would have left Citi Field if it had Shea’s configuration.
Rybarczyk’s findings don’t entirely account for whatever Wright might have tried in order to adapt to Citi, but considering the paucity of Mets HR’s even before the loss of Delgado and Beltran, it’s very curious the club isn’t willing to reconsider the park’s configuration. Perhaps they’re trying to make the place more attractive for all the free agent pitchers they won’t be able to afford?