What’s wrong with Wright?

Sorry for getting out of the blocks late today. There was a job lead I needed to follow-up on and several phone calls that needed to me made. I was under consideration to cover Alabama football, but that didn’t pan out. Would have been interesting.

I’m working on several projects, one of which is ghost writing a book on martial arts. Very interesting subject. Once it is done, I’ll post where you can get a copy.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you guys again for last night’s blog. It is what I envisioned when I kept the blog going. It should be like a group of friends getting together at my house or a sports bar (better make it the bar, because I don’t want to pick up) with plenty of lively, challenging conversation. It was clean and civil. Some good-natured pokes, but isn’t that the way it should be when you’re with friends?

Most beat writer blogs are simply glorified message boards and chat rooms. Not much serious give-and-take. Intelligent conversation. Good job.

Thanks again.

WRIGHT: We miss that home run stroke.

WRIGHT: We miss that home run stroke.

i did want to talk about David Wright this morning. An absolutely horrible game last night. It’s OK, everybody has them. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays had horrible games, too. There was one error, but should have been two. A DP and a K with RISP. Wright gets a hit in one of those two spots and maybe the Mets win the game.

Wright is second behind Gary Sheffield (10) with eight homers. Daniel Murphy, Fernando Tatis, Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francoeur could all hit more homers than Wright this year. There are other ways to win besides home runs, but the Mets aren’t doing any of them. If they played consistent, fundamental baseball and kept the line moving, advanced runners, and hit when the situation declares it, their lack of power could be tolerated.

But, they don’t, and they make too many mistakes defensively, and walk far too many hitters, that dig them into holes. Power is the great eraser, but the Mets don’t have the power to erase the kind of mistakes they are making on a consistent basis.

Wright has done something with his stance and is just not driving the ball as he used to. I don’t care if he hits .320 as long as there is some run production, but there is not.

There is NOT ONE explanation for what has happened to Wright. The altercation of his stance is a contributing factor, and he obviously doesn’t feel as if he could adjust without getting into a funk. That happens. There is the added pressure of being the only one of the core playing for much of the season, and that has taken a toll. There is also the perception of Citi Field not being a hitter friendly park, but that has changed as the season wore on. Plenty of home runs are being hit, just not by the Mets.

WRIGHT: Needs hitting overhaul.

WRIGHT: Needs hitting overhaul.

Yes, lack of protection in the batting order plays a part, but then again, Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds, went seasons without serious back-up and look at their numbers. In all fairness, Pujols and Bonds are elite players above Wright’s level.

Wright has run either hot and cold all season. His average is good, but there needs to be more RBI next to it, even without the homers. Some of that could be attributed to those hitting in front of him, but remember, Luis Castillo has had a good season.

Most perplexing to me about Wright has been the strikeouts. He has 115 already and is on a pace for 138 (a little over 24 percent of his at-bats). Conversely, he’s on a pace for 79 walks. He’s also on pace for career lows in homers (10) and RBI (71), yet, his .406 on-base percentage would be the second highest of his career.

Wright’s power out age might have been more acceptable had Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado stayed healthy. Nonetheless, Wright has established himself as a power run-producer. We can write this season off as a bad one, but he’ll get no such slack next season.

Wright is the face of this franchise, like it or not, and his job description is to hit for more power. Whether we blame Wright for being stubborn or hitting coach Howard Johnson is immaterial. Wright needs to make an overhaul of his stance and mechanics this winter and return to being a run producer. That’s his job.

18 thoughts on “What’s wrong with Wright?

  1. One of the more perplexing things of this season thats for sure. Seems like this season he’s gone from a middle of the order bat to a 2 hitter with the HR power MIA. Average and OBP are good, so its not like he’s been terrible, but the Mets as constructed need the Wright that hits 25 + HR along with the great AVG/OBP not just the one with the great AVG/OBP. The strikeout rate at least had gone down considerably in the second half prior to his DL stint.

    Though it seems like he’s changed his stance several times this season, so I wouldn’t say that its about him and HoJo being stubborn and not changing, it just seems like whatever they are doing isn’t really working. Also not sure how much I buy the lack of protection angle since Wright himself back in 2005 and chunks of 2007 didn’t really have a ton of protection, but still put up great numbers.

  2. LGNYM (1): The protection angle is just a part of it. Sometimes, hitters can vary their stances several times in a game without a problem. I don’t think Wright is that kind of player. … There are a lot of factors, but the simplest, and most overriding, is he’s just had a bad year. I have to believe he’ll be better than this.-JD

  3. I put Wrights season down as a combination of 3 things:

    1. Carrying the team is getting into his head a bit and he is expanding his strikezone as a result. Yes his walks are up, but that is mostly because he is the only threat in the lineup so he is going to be pitched around.

    2. I think Citi Field’s dimensions have gotten into his head as well and he is trying to hit the ball harder than he should.

    3. It is just a bad year. And lets face it, if this is his bad years we are in pretty good shape. The RBIs would be there if we had Reyes in the lineup and Beltran and Delgado behind him. If the power continues to vanish next year it will be disconcerting, but this isn’t exactly horrible production for an off year where everything that could have gone wrong has.

  4. Thats true JamesSC. While it is possible to put up some good RBI numbers without hitting a lot of HRs, thats next to impossible to do with the lineup the Mets have constructed. Castillo’s OBP is great, but most of his hits are singles so he’s not going to score on simple base hits or even all doubles. Wright has hit well with RISP this yr, so its not like he’s not cashing in on those opportunities, but less opportunities combined with the massive power outage = less RBI

  5. Pagan and Castillo have set the tables as well as any 1-2 combo could do. Wright has not delivered. Maybe 70 RBI from a 3 hole guy is horrendous when you have two tablesetter on base regularly. Even worse he has taken his offensive futility onto the field this as his defense has deteriorated significantly. There’s no one to blame for his crappy defense.

  6. I would guess it’s most likely several things, the largest one being the last few years. We know all about 2008, 2007 and the LCS lost against the Cardinals (my joy of beating the superior Reds in 1973 has been tempered by losing to the weak Dodgers in 1988 and Cards in 2006). But we also have the 2005 wild card race where the Mets were 1.5 games out and proceeded to lose 12 of 14 to the Phils, Fish and Braves. Athletes can deny it all they want but that has to plant a seed of doubt.
    Is it possible that Wright is our version of Bobby Murcer? A guy out of the farm system we desperately wanted to lead us out of bad present, does terrific his first few years and then just loses it, both offensively and defensively? I think he will recover and be a solid middle-of-the-lineup guy but trading him now to someone who thinks he may recover may not be such a terrible idea.

  7. Dan (6): I think there is too much of an upside to Wright to trade him now. First of, he’s an All-Star who isn’t making enormous dollars. He’s had one bad year, do he deserves a break.-JD

  8. John: so do I. I was just wondering if anyone ever had any explanation to Murcer’s collapse other than “he played at Shea Stadium in 1974 and complained about the ballpark”. It’s best to give him at least anther year. Even if he was having a standout year the Mets would be (ceteris paribus) at 68 wins instead of 62.

  9. I have no problemo giving him next year. I do have a problem with all the excuses being made for him while the kids are pounded for not being perfect.

  10. I don’t really know what kids have been pounded for not being perfect. We don’t really have any “kids”, and none of them have really been pounded, and none of them have been as good as Wright.

    The notion of trading Wright is crazy. Even in a “bad” year he’s still been hitting around .320 with a .400+ OBP. Obviously the the non-existent power its not been a season we expect out of Wright, but if a guy hit .320 with a .400+ OBP every year he’d still be considered pretty good even if he didn’t hit a lot of HRs.

    And Harry, Pagan has done well, but his .340 OBP still isn’t ideal from a leadoff hitter. And Wright has hit well with RISP (.325) and with runners on (.339) this season, so its not like he’s not getting hits when Pagan and Castillo do create the opportunities. But he’s still not getting as many opportunities as the typical 3 hitter gets with RISP. Jeter batting leadoff has about as many AB with RISP as Wright has. The lack of HR power is the biggest factor in his lack of RBI, but its not like he’s not getting any hits when Pagan or Castillo do get on base.

  11. the season is over.

    perhaps wright will regain form.

    but this is not the first time.

    he lost his power after the home run derby too.

  12. one more thing on david.

    he has a plus 300 avg and has had his share of runners on 2nd or third. his batting avg in those spots is around 200 or so.

    it is not just the power.

    not saying the game is easy. pressure has a way of making you crumble. but he has shown so far that he cannot take the pressure.

  13. In the simplest terms, Wright gets himself out all too often. Just about every righty throws him low-and-away sliders, at which he flails. Then they bust him inside with fastballs and he flies out (the added depth of the new ballpark isn’t helping him here). And any little tinkering with his stance often serves to exacerbate this dilemma.

    Wright is no longer a feared hitter in key situations because he can be pitched to, as described above. I got the distinct impression this year that opposing pitchers would much rather face Wright than Sheffield with the game on the line.

  14. Dears Taj: If you are pleased with a guy who has knocked in 100+ runs every year reaching about half that total and brag about his OBP then let me ask you this. How do win games without scoring runs????
    As for Pagan yes he is not an isdeal lead off man but him and Castillo have been on base enough for any mediocre # 3 hitter to drive in at least 80-100. Wright has been pitiful.. Excuses excuses.
    And if you haven’t seen kids get pounded then I suggest you read posts more often banging away at Murphy, banging away at Parnell. They are given seconds to develop while prince daveid gets a lifetime.

  15. I am not saying Wright is having an ideal season. Clearly he was better from 05-08 when he was hitting for power as well. But just b/c he had hit for power and average in the past and now he’s just hitting for average doesn’t mean he’s not been good at all. If he never had hit 25+HR in a yr, but was just a .320/.400 guy people would still consider that good. Its only in the context of what Wright has done in the past that this season is considered a bad one.

    And Wright has not had any many AB with RISP as most typical middle of the order guys. Jeter hitting leadoff has had nearly the same number of RBI opportunities. And overall OBP/OPS, RBI wise Jeter’s numbers are very similar to Wright’s and people are talking about him being an MVP. I am not saying Wright is having a great season at all…clearly this has been his worst year, just that I don’t think a guy who’s been top 10 in the league in hitting and OBP is horrible.

    And I’ve seen Wright pounded a lot more than I’ve seen Murphy pounded. And if Murph was putting up the AVG/OBP numbers anywhere close to that of Wright we’d be hearing more of the “he’s like Pete Rose/Mattingly” talk we heard all ST.