Wednesday, May 02, 2012

David Wright quietly having great season

The New York Mets really seem to be out of the mainstream of baseball discourse. Who talks about them besides the thousands of New York Mets bloggers? We might have heard a few things about Santana and his comeback. We might have heard about Davis and his slow start. But the Mets are a surprising 13-11 with a team full of home grown players that few people know. We do not even hear much of David Wright these days except the occasional foray into his pending free agent status. But David Wright has been terrific thus far this season.

Would you know before this post that David Wright currently leads all of baseball with a .495 on-base percentage? That is even higher than that Kemp guy out in Los Angeles. Think about that for a second. In 21 games, David Wright has been on base for half of his plate appearances. Astounding. In those 21 games, he has not been on base in a game only once this season. And he is batting .395!

David Wright had all but disappeared for the past two seasons. His home ballpark had seemed to suck the life right out of him. In his first four full seasons with the Mets, David Wright finished in the top twenty in MVP voting every season--the last three seasons in the top ten. The last three seasons? None. After hitting 86 homers the previous three seasons, Wright sunk to just ten in 2009 when Citi Field opened. He rebounded in 2010 with 29 but he became vulnerable to strikeouts, which rose dramatically to 161. Then he only played 102 games in 2011 and hit just .254.

But there are signs that the old David Wright has made a reappearances. His strikeout rate is back down to where it was in his glory days at 15.1 percent. That rate had zoomed in the above 20 percent range for the past three seasons. But his walk rate is the highest of his career at 17.2 percent. In fact, he has walked more than he has struck out. But there is a caveat there.

Five of his sixteen walks have been intentional. With hitters behind him like Ike Davis and Lucas Duda struggling, pitchers are being careful with Wright. And when a guy is hitting .395, that is probably a smart thing to do. Davis is starting to hit some and if the Mets' first baseman can again be productive, pitchers might have to face Wright more often.

Despite the struggles of Davis and Duda, the Mets are currently second in the National League in batting and on-base percentage. Guys like Thole and Murphy are hitting really well as is their new center fielder, Nieuwenhuis (who has become the new hardest name to spell in MLB). But David Wright is again the team's leader. Wright is quietly piling up some great at bats and this can only help his case as he becomes a free agent after this season. 

Wright has been a resurrection story this season. If people haven't noticed this as of yet, they will soon if his great season continues.

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