One of my favorite indicators is our BHIP or Singles Average calculation.
Many sabermetricans have adopted a similar calculation called BABIP. Singles % like BABIP doesn't include Home Runs, however it does include Doubles and Triples. Our research indicates that the inclusion of doubles and triples smoothes over the true value of this powerful indicator. Essentially the purpose of both indictors is to measure the success of balls hit into play over the mean. Variations can many times be attributed to the "luck factor", however gap power (doubles and triples) has a much higher correlation with skill than do Singles, hence the smoothing of the BABIP indicator.
Below is a look at the top Singles % hitters from 2011. Since history tells us that on average 8 out of 10 of these hitters will see a regression in Batting Average the following season, the last two columns show their 2011 batting average and what our expectations are for these hitters in 2012. We've also included their 3 YR Singles Average to use as a benchmark, as our research indicates i
Singles % leaders from 2011:
Citi Field 2012: The expected effect of shorter fences
As a lifelong Mets fan, it was quite disheartening to see the Mets spending spree be limited to the likes of Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Ronny Cedeno, Andres Torres...especially after loss of Jose Reyes to free agency this off season. However there is a glimmer of light that may prevent this team from losing 100 games.
As many of you have heard, the Mets will move in the fences this season at Citi Field. The fence will move in as much as 17 feet in some locations, with a reduction in the height of the fences from 16 feet in the power alleys to only 8 throughout the ballpark. The Mets brass estimates that we'll see an average of 50 more Homeruns a season hit at Citi Field based on historical flyball tracking. How many of these will come from the home team is still quite debatable.
I do believe that there are two players on the Mets that will benefit primarily here (fantasy wise). One of which is David Wright, who has in recent seasons, effectively abandoned his opposite field swing at Citi Field. The former Mo-Zone in right center, might as well been called the Death-Zone, as flyballs went there to die at an outlandish pace. The reduction in right center distance of 15 feet with a height drop of 8 feet, will once again provide the opportunity for Wright to do what he does best, and that is hit the other way with authority...and most importantly...confidence. I would be surprised if we don't see Wright's HR totals land somewhere between 25-30 again this season.
Although there are several other Met players that have the potential to benefit from the shorter fences, this includes up and coming stud talent like Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, it's Jason Bay who is the sleeper here. Simply, Davis and Duda have more power than an aging Bay...and can essentially hit the ball out of any ballpark. Bay's home run swing has been more of a warning track swing in recent seasons at Citi Field. His primary landing zone (left center) will now only be 358 feet away and 8 feet shorter. I will tempter our expectations a bit and say that he'll still be a liability on the road when he can't take his Citi Field fences with him, but a return into the low twenties in HRs and a +20 RBI increase are well within his potential for 2012 if he can play healthy.
Of course the Mets will also have to play defense at Citi Field. GM Sandy Alderson and Assistant GM Paul DePodesta (AKA Jonah Hill from Moneyball) are well regarded and intelligent baseball people. This fence tightening was a well calculated decision. Although the starting staff is suffering from the lack of top tier talent, this is a pitching staff that is well suited for what could become a hitters ballpark. Consider that none of the Mets projected starters had a Fly Ball% average above the league average of .36 last season. With two starters (Dickey, and Niese) considered extreme (50%+) ground ball pitchers. About the only question mark will be what to expect from their only ace (Johan Santana), who is a flyball pitcher. Although he has shown success as a flyball pitcher, he'll have to overcome both health and a shortened fence in 2012. However the addition of Santana, who was rehabbing his shoulder in 2011, would be a huge plus regardless of the field he pitches in.
This isn't to say that the Mets don't have a sub par pitching staff in relation to their competition, and that some of their pitchers might regress in 2012, but there is the expectation that the shortening of the fence distances will help the team more than hurt them. Regardless, it's going to be a long season for the Mets, but at least there will be some more offense at Citi Field this season, and a few home field fantasy hitters that might slip under the radar in your draft. -Have a great holiday weekend, Anthony
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