Cavernous Citi Field has held in a lot of potential home runs, unlike the new Yankee Stadium, where they are literally partying like it’s 1999. Aside from the Phillies’ Chase Utley, who has a knack for finding the shortest distance from the plate to the right field fence at Citi, both the Mets and their opponents have suffered from a power outage this season. But it’s not just at home, because the Mets have brought their power outage on the road as well.
Consider that the current leaders, Carlos Beltran and Gary Sheffield, have 8 home runs each so far. Beltran has three at home, five on the road. Sheff is split four and four. Meanwhile, David Wright, who has just 4 homers, has three at home and only one away from Citi Field. So how do you explain it? And what does it project out to? Well, Sheffield has played 58 games but can’t play every day because of creaky knees, and Beltran is on the DL. Either way, their current pace projects to 18 homers for the season. Wright’s pace is a paltry 9. NINE. We kind of cut the guy slack because he’s been leading the league in batting, but still — I expect nine homers from David Eckstein, not David Wright.
Fascinating, isn’t it? Well here is more to ponder. The last time a Mets player hit less than 20 home runs was Bobby Bonilla in 1992, with 19. Before that it was Lee Mazzilli’s 16 homers in 1980. The team’s lowest-ever output was a three-way tie of 12 homers in 1977—between Steve Henderson, John Milner, and John Stearns. It’s fathomable that if Sheffield and Beltran miss extensive time the rest of the way, the ’77 record could be broken, but it’s highly doubtful. Even Carlos Delgado, who has 4 homers, could return from the DL in August and reach 20 by the end of September.
So okay, it’s not necessarily Citi Field, though we’ve seen many potential home runs stay in the park there. This is a more interesting issue, and maybe one that no one is discussing—the possibility that some of our Mets were using performance enhancers the last few seasons and didn’t get caught. I’m not accusing, I’m just saying, the numbers just border on staggering, especially when Albert Pujols has 26 homers, 18 more than Sheffield or Beltran.
I’m curious to see what you all think of this. I don’t believe any Met will reach 20 this season, do you?