How much will Citi Field's new dimensions help the home team's homers?
The rebuilding Mets reconstructed their home. Shortening the height of and the distance to the left-field wall, on paper, should aid righty bats, and a smidge of an uptick for lefty sticks comes from lesser-scale modifications in right field.
We won't see enough of a sample to gauge anything until the summer, but David Wright and Jason Bay, as long as they're healthy, stand to rebound from ugly downturns. Maybe the psychological comfort provided by the team's hitter-first renovations is all they need. Wright doesn't rely on pulling but has often slipped into bad habits trying to get in front of pitches when struggling. The Metropolitans made these changes with Wright in the front of their minds, and his all-fields approach should take advantage of every change.
Bay, on the other hand, is notably pull-happy; his Green Monster-fueled 2009 is merely a memory, but an output similar to his moderately successful Pittsburgh Pirates days is a stronger bet with his closer target. Though they also display same-field tendencies, lefty mashers Ike Davis (ankle) and Lucas Duda boast young pop that doesn't bow to the whim of field construction.
An upright Wright already aids four categories (five with batting average improvement); any opportunity for him to revisit 25 to 30 homers is worth buying. Davis would've been one of the better first-base mixed values even if Citi Field hadn't changed. Bay and Duda remain useful filler for deep mixed outfield crops.
What will a returning Johan Santana offer fantasy players?
Even before Santana had 2010 surgery to fix a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder, the workhorse's K/9 was on the decline while his danger in allowing home runs was skyrocketing; those abridged Citi Field distances won't facilitate his new skill set. Many forget how much mileage the soon-to-be 33-year-old carries.
New York kept pushing back his return date last season and, other than five innings at high Single-A, eventually shut him down for all of 2011 after a summer setback. The Mets weren't contending anyway. His opening day status is questionable, but brass lightened his winter workload so he'd have a normal spring regimen.
Santana's reports from the Grapefruit League will carry more weight than most players'. A significant velocity recovery would amplify his typically baffling changeup and increase drafters' confidence in the southpaw. However, in his past two campaigns, he used a two-seamer more; this approach alteration, which typically allows more contact, doesn't predict a noteworthy dominance boost.
His diminishing profile and probable rustiness worsen the odds of him being the ace of old in 2012 ... and beyond. Still, if he can continue working efficiently with runners on base and limit the damage his fly balls do, he could be a serviceable mixed No. 4 with the upside of a No. 2, though that ceiling is shrinking. Your foes might remember his formerly dominant name and, with him once again active, instantly think they'll get his acedom if they overpay. Let them.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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