FENCE DEPTH CAN HAVE A HUGE IMPACT by Tom Brennan
I have written a few times in recent weeks that I think the Mets ought to be aggressive with the fences being brought in, because it benefits the hitters. I really think it would benefit the Mets’ hitters more than most think.
My mind went to a former Met who played a big role in 1969, Donn Clendenon. 159 career homers, a decent but pretty ordinary total.
Except he played in extremely cavernous Forbes Field. So I thought I would look at one decent homer year he had – in 1966 – and see how the home field disadvantage of playing in a park the size of Montana might have affected him.
DRASTIC would be an understatement:
Home: in 75 games and 272 at bats, 3 homers and .404 slug %.
Road: in 80 games and 299 at bats, 25 homers and .625 slug %.
25 vs. 3 homers in essentially the same # of games! Good grief!
75% of his career at bats were with the Pirates while they were in Forbes Field.
Career-wise, he hit 58 homers in home games and 101 on the road, in roughly equal at bats.
He escaped to the Mets and Shea (also pitcher-friendly, but not nearly as much) and had 45 homers in 861 at bats, a fine ratio. My guess without calculating it is that only 25% - 30% of his homers in his Pirates days came at home. Too deep, screwed him up.
Had he played his entire career in Wrigley, would he have had 225 career homers and not 159? Most likely.
Moral of this story?
Move the Mets’ fences in aggressively this off-season and watch the hitters blossom. If Donn Clendenon were playing today, he would approve.