The Mets' new home, Citi Field, is a homage to National League baseball, from its resemblance to Ebbets Field, to its Jackie Robinson Rotunda. The spacious dimensions are a far cry from the Dodgers' old home, however. Citi Field is expected to favor pitchers even more than Shea Stadium did -- and Shea was a pitcher's paradise. We don't know yet what the summer wind patterns will do in Citi Field, and they could potentially neutralize some of the pitcher's advantage. For example, Wrigley Field changes during the season, favoring the pitchers in the cool weather and then as the weather warms the hitters gain an edge. Through six games, Citi Field has seen nine homers and 47 runs scored. That's an average of 1.5 and 7.8 a game, respectively.
The big surprise has been the new Yankee Stadium. The Yankees and Indians combined for 20 homeruns and scored 59 runs in the first four-game series in the new ballpark. That's five homers and 14.75 runs per game. This caught the Yankees brass by surprise since the new park carries the same dimensions as the old one. It's either a fluke or the result of wind patterns created by the new construction. The stadium has a greater proportion of pricey seats close to the field and fewer seats higher up. It could be that the stadium is scooping the wind like a funnel and blowing it out to right field.
The Yankee Stadium situation bears watching. If the park continues to play like "Coors Field East," the number of homeruns hit in the Bronx could double last season's total. That will have a big impact on a roster full of fantasy talent. Switch-hitters and left-handed batters will get an unexpected boost. Pitchers, particularly right-handed ones, will be hurt.
Jorge Posada, C, Yankees: Even at 37, Posada can take advantage of the new park. The switch-hitting catcher has gone deep twice in his first 17 at bats at the new stadium.
Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees: Like Posada, he went deep twice in the first five games at home. I'm not fazed by Teixeira's slow start (.211 with 3 HR).
Johnny Damon, OF, Yankees: Damon could have his second 20/20 season at the ripe age of 35.
Nick Swisher, OF, Yankees: Oddly, Swisher has hit all four of his homers on the road. The
Xavier Nady injury makes Swisher a regular and a real threat to reach 30 homeruns in 2009. Swisher is available in shallow leagues.
Hideki Matsui, DH/OF, Yankees: His knee is better and the lefty could benefit tremendously from the right field jet stream. He is available in about half of fantasy leagues.
Chien-Ming Wang, SP, Yankees: Wang's problems run far deeper than simply being a right-hander in Yankee Stadium. He was sent to the showers in the second inning for the second consecutive game on Saturday. His next start is against Boston in Fenway Park, so no relief there. Some people are bullish on Wang as a buy-low opportunity. I'm not among them. I don't like Wang because he pitches to too much contact, even with a sinker in his repertoire. The rest of the Yankees starting rotation will not be hurt nearly as much. Right-handers A.J. Burnett and Joba Chamberlain will give up a few homeruns, but they also strike out a lot of batters. Hold on to them. The two southpaws, CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, will be impacted even less.
We will return to Flushing later in the season to get a read on Citi Field and also revisit the Bronx to see if the April winds were a fluke or the start of a trend.