Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mets Getting Good Vibes From New Dimensions

Photo By Kevin Burkhardt
I think to date, my favorite part of spring training thus far has been the updates from the people in attendance while the Mets take batting practice on Field 7 in Port St. Lucis.  For those of your who don't know, the dimensions of Field 7 have been altered to reflect those that will be in place at Citi Field this season.  As such, the players are getting their first look at how those new dimensions might impact their approach at the plate and so far, they seem excited.

Maybe its naivete on my point, but I honest believe that the dimensions at Citi Field played a very significant part in the downfall of David Wright from an offensive standpoint.  Wright, who made a living "going the other way" into right field while playing at Shea Stadium, simply didn't have the power to drive the ball out of Citi Field in that direction.  Therefore, since home runs had always been part of his game, he was forced to try to pull the ball in an effort to make up the difference.  That approach would not only cause him to swing harder, but also cause him to struggle in reaching the outside corner, leading to more strikeouts.  That all potentially changes now.

The same can be said, to a lesser extent, for Jason Bay.  When Bay was acquired from Boston, fans should have expected a decrease in his offensive production.  Hitting into the Green Monster in Boston will do wonders for any heavy hitting right-hander.  After arriving in New York, Jason immediately struggled and my guess eventually got down on himself.  If there is one thing I can say for Bay, it is that his approach in public has been stoic as he's continued to try to find the answers.  Is he going to light the world on fire this season? Probably not, but I do feel that some of the pressure will be lifted off his shoulders as the dimensions play more into his game.

The reality of it is, the heart of the Mets lineup (even without Carlos Beltran) still packs significant punch.  Should they remain healthy, I don't think its unreasonable to expect a minimum of two, if not three 30 home run seasons out of the likes of Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, David Wright and maybe even Bay.  As they say, hitting is contagious.  Davis and Duda will likely pick up a few more dingers, but the dimension changes really bring Bay and Wright into the power discussion for the first time in a while.

Ultimately, I'm excited to see those two recapture their game.  While I understand that the decreased dimensions will hurt the pitching staff as much as it helps the offense, I also know that any confidence we can foster at home will carry over on the road.  Either way, with the pitching staff being what it is the Mets are going to have to out slug a lot of other teams this year no matter what field they play on. Nevertheless, at a minimum its nice to see the big bats excited about hitting at Citi Field for the first time since before the stadium opened.

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