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Blog Entry

Back on the Wright Track

Posted on: June 19, 2010 11:30 pm
 
 David Wright burst onto the New York scene in 2004 with 14 HR’s in 283 at-bats as a rookie. He seemed destined to man the Mets’ hot corner and warm the hearts of fans for the next 10+ years. Then something happened, something called 2009. As the funk of last season seemingly lingered into 2010, some fans and critics even visited the notion of trading the face of the franchise. My thought at that time was simple……seriously??? For what??? What could the Mets have gotten that would have more potential return than David Wright simply starting to play like David Wright?

But hey, that was a couple months ago, waaaaayyyy back in late April when the 27-year old’s average hit a season low .222. At times he looked more like David Spade in Benchwarmers then David Wright and he was striking out more than Glen Quagmire (giggidy). Metaphors aside, Wright was just not very good and Met fans were justifiably concerned.

Over the past few weeks, however, Wright has ‘wrighted’ the ship (I promised myself I would never fall into that trap but it truly is impossible to resist). What, or when, was the turning point? David went 0-4 in a 2-1 series opening loss to the Yankees on May 21st. His average dipped to .255 and the Mets had lost 9 of their last 12. Then, just as the Mets got going, so too did David Wright. Over the last 22 games he has gone 30-85 (.353), helping the team to a stunning .773 win % (17-5) along the way. Not surprisingly, Wright’s recent turnaround corresponds with the simple fact that he has stopped using a fishing net as a bat and is no longer striking out at a Mark Reynolds type pace. Even with DW giving up on trying to swing out of his shoes, his power numbers are yet to suffer.

April 5-May 21 (43 games)- 149 AB, .255 avg., AB/HR = 18.6, AB/K = 2.2

May 22 – June 16 (22 games)- 85 AB, .353 avg., AB/HR = 21.3, AB/K = 4.1

While we’re only half way through June, signs of the third-basemen having his best statistical month of the season are glaring. With 12 HR on the season he has surpassed his entire 2009 total (10) by 2. Wright seems to once again feel snug batting 3rd with Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan commonly occupying the bases in front of him while Ike Davis and Jason Bay offer protection behind.

For better or worse this all comes amidst the undeniable fact that Wright still hasn’t figured out his home field. Of his 12 HR’s only 2 have come at Citi Field, where he is also batting 11 points lower than on the road. This isn’t too surprising when you consider that, according to MLB park factors, only Oakland Coliseum ranks as a more difficult place to hit one out. Still, the splits just aren’t nearly as dramatic for the Met’s other players, who have seemingly ‘learned’, for lack of a better word, how to level the playing field when hitting at home. Rod Barajas (6 HR away, 5 at home), Ike Davis (4 HR away, 4 at home), Jeff Francoeur (4 HR away, 3 at home), Angel Pagan (2 HR away, 2 at home) and Jason Bay (1 HR away, 3 at home) have simply not fallen victim to the Citi Field power outage Wright has experienced. Interestingly, it also took Wright a bit of time to warm up to hitting home runs at Shea stadium, going from 1 HR/24 AB in 2005, to 1 HR/22 AB in '06, to 1 HR/17 AB in '07, and 1 HR/14 AB in '08.

As time progressed and perhaps as he became more comfortable with his confines, Wright began hitting for more power at home than he did on the road. While I can’t imagine such a trend coming to be at Citi Field, if the Met’s third basemen can just follow suit with the rest of the team and keep a relatively even split, his numbers will go from good to exceptional in a hurry. He already leads the NL in RBI’s with 52 and talk of his early season demise would surely be replaced with whispers of ‘MVP’. Maybe all Wright really needs is more ‘situational training’ (gotta get this video clip whenever possible), but whatever the case, it’s good to have David back on the Wright track.

Comments

Since: Apr 12, 2009
Posted on: June 26, 2010 12:59 pm
 

Back on the Wright Track

Braves3116 you're 100% correct.  There's a ton of talk about Wright's struggles against the more 'elite' competition and I certainly can't refute any of it.  I don't really have a good answer except to say that, in all honesty, he's just never been that 'clutch'.  I found a stat the other day (when he K'd with the bases loaded and 1 out in a game the Mets lost by 1 run) that showed he has now had 52 straight AB's with the bases loaded without a grandslam.  Brutal.   He's literally my favorite player but if the Mets are going to continue to compete in the East, as you mentioned, we are going to need him to start executing in big situations against big teams.  Thanks for the comment!



Since: Apr 12, 2009
Posted on: June 26, 2010 12:54 pm
 

Back on the Wright Track

Ha ha, good point Wilie, I probably should have used a better ballpark index.  Glad you enjoyed the read, we post a lot of articles like this on www.Metszilla.com.  Enjoy!
-Jason



Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: June 21, 2010 3:53 pm
 

Back on the Wright Track

It's interesting that you would write this because I was looking at David Wright the other day...it seemed like he was hitting the ball better.  But I'm not convinced that's entirely true.  Over the stretch to which you referred, the Mets played 15 games against the Yankees, Phillies, and Padres.  In those games, Wright hit just .259, with 1 home run, 7 RBI and 19 Ks.  Meanwhile, during that same span, he had four 3-hit games against the Marlins, Orioles, and Indians.  I think that inflates the numbers.  Of course, I realize that all the games count the same.  I am not suggesting otherwise...He's clearly much more productive than last season.  And that's great if you're a Mets fan, not so great if you're a Braves or Phillies fan. 

But, right now, he's not doing much against the supposed tougher competition, which would seemingly have the better pitching.  If you're the Mets, you know you're going to need a consistent David Wright to stay in the East race against Philadelphia and Atlanta.  I don't think it's a stretch to say that you want your best hitters to hit consistently against any competition.  So, I'm just not sure he's really back just yet.  But your entry is titled "Back on the Wright track," and that's probably true.  I mean, there's not exactly anything wrong with hitting .283 overall and being tied for second in the NL with 53 RBI (Glaus, 55; Hart,53).



Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: June 21, 2010 12:36 pm
 

Back on the Wright Track

Nice read.  I also can't resist throwing this out regarding: "Oakland Coliseum ranks as a more difficult place to hit one out."  It's also a factor that one of the two teams that plays every single game there ......sucks.  :)




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