Mets: Citi Field was the second-best place to pitch in 2018
By Tim Boyle
Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, was once again a pitcher’s paradise and hitter’s hell in 2018.
Park Factors, which measure who has the advantage in an at-bat, say a lot about Citi Field in 2018. The home of the New York Mets lived up to its reputation as a pitcher-friendly haven. It’s no secret to see the Flushing Cathedral high on the list of places benefitting pitchers.
In 2018, it was the second-best place for pitchers and the second-worst for hitters.
There are, of course, reasons for this beyond the outfield wall dimensions and the way the ball carries. The Mets starting pitching staff was, once again, a major strength. On the opposite spectrum, the offense was horrid at times.
Together, they helped Citi Field remain a pitcher’s paradise and hitter’s hell.
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Only Marlins Park in Miami favored pitchers more than Citi Field. The difference was slight with a one point margin in favor of baseball most southern MLB team.
This is the second straight year the Mets have been the least favorable for batters. In 2017, they were tied with the Houston Astros just behind the Marlins.
Miami also led the way with the worst home ballpark for hitters. This is more representative of their team. After shipping out 2017 MVP Giancarlo Stanton, 2018 MVP Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna over the winter, they were left with little offense this past season.
While the Park Factor number favors the Marlins, Citi Field was still the place with the fewest average runs. It wasn’t the toughest place to hit a home run, though. In fact, eight places ranked as tougher than Citi Field. Some of this can be blamed on the Mets’ bullpen and the batting practice fastballs they delivered far too often.
With Park Factors, it’s important to look at the numbers of the course of several years. Citi Field has consistently favored pitchers so it is indeed a place where batters will see their numbers decline. Keeping this in mind, it’s no wonder the Mets continue to build around the starting pitching.
One could still debate that with the ballpark already favoring pitchers, why not go after the best hitters possible? If the stadium truly favors pitchers, an average guy will look above-average and so on while an average hitter will look worse because of it.
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I don’t get the sense the Mets are about to change their philosophy anytime soon. They have always been an organization to go heavy on pitching and lighter on hitting. Many times, Citi Field makes it look even more lopsided.