David Wright empathizes with Morneau

David Wright sounded a little homesick when talking with ESPNNY’s Adam Rubin today about Justin Morneau’s comments regarding ballpark dimensions and how that related to him. Justifiably so.

David Wright


In 2008, Wright had arguably the best season that any player had in the 45-season history of Shea Stadium. He set a single-season Shea record with 68 RBI. His 21 home runs and .618 slugging percentage were tied for the second-best there, and his .437 on-base percentage was the fourth-best. Those numbers were a near-match for those he put up at Shea the year before.

Wright had the best batting average (.318) and slugging percentage (.555) of any Met who played more than one season in that ballpark, which typically wasn’t too hitter-friendly, but is a pleasure compared to what he’s experienced at Citi Field.

Greg Rybarczyk of Hittrackeronline studied Wright’s fly balls and found that he lost nine potential home runs at Shea Stadium to the depths of Citi Field in 2009. Similar checks haven’t been made on Wright’s 2010 flies, but he made some adjustments there, increasing his homer tally from five to 12.

David Wright at Home Last 4 Seasons

Even with that, Citi Field ranks as the ballpark that puts the biggest death grip on right-handed power hitting. The Mets and their opponents right-handed hitters hit 61 home runs at Citi Field in 2010, 97 on the road.

The recently-released Bill James 2010 Handbook calculated a “Park Factor” of 64 for right-handed hitters at Citi Field, second-worst of any ballpark in the majors (for lefties, it ranks much closer to average, tied for 11th-worst).

Wright spoke of how he felt opposite-field power was his strength. In 2007 and 2008, he hit 12 home runs at Shea Stadium that Baseball-Reference.com classified as going to right field or right center. In 2009 and 2010, he had just four. In two seasons, he’s hit one home run to right-center at Citi Field.

Last season, when Wright hit the ball to the right side at Citi Field, he hit just .259, a drop from .338 in 2008 and .333 in 2009.

It’s not just Wright’s home run total that has been impacted. Wright averaged 20 doubles per season at Shea from 2005 to 2008, or one every 14.3 at-bats. In two seasons at Citi Field, he’s totaled 29 two-base hits, one every 18.3 at-bats.

Inside Edge, which provides video scouting analysis to major league teams and media outlets, started classifying balls in play based on five categories of depth (deep, slightly deep, routine, shallow, and infield).

When Wright hit a ball that Inside Edge classified as deep or slightly deep in Citi Field last season, he had 25 hits and 23 outs (including sacrifice flies). On the road, when he hit balls of those depths, he had 32 hits and 21 outs.

Give any hitter seven more hits and two fewer outs and check out the wonders it will do for his stat line and his confidence. That’s something the Mets management should keep in mind when they try to figure out the right (or Wright) thing to do with their ballpark's dimensions.