People had forgotten how good David Wright really is. Falling off his peak seasons of 2007 and 2008, his value as a player dipped in 2009 to half of what he was worth in 2007 and only rebounded slightly in 2010. But then in 2011, David Wright became invisible as his season was filled with injuries and sad production that saw his OPS fall all the way to .771. Oh, that was still better than your average third baseman. But he seemed to have lost his luster. Not turn the page to 2012. Whoa! David Wright this season is the second most valuable player in the National League.
David Wright's season to this point has been breathtaking. His OPS of 1.020 does little to totally explain how good Wright has been. His wRC+ is second only to Votto in baseball. But his overall numbers give a more well-rounded picture of what kind of season he is having. There are gold nuggets wherever you look.
Let's start with plate discipline. David Wright will not swing at bad pitches. He has only swung at 21 percent of pitches out of the strike zone. A tremendous rate and the best of his career. While being more choosy at the plate, when he does swing, he is not missing. Wright has averaged over a hundred strikeouts a season for his career. This despite a swing and miss rate that on average was in the 7.1 percent range. That is not bad. But this season, that swing and miss rate is all the way down to 5.9 percent. Combine that will his added discipline and Wright's strikeout rate is the lowest of his career at 13 percent. His career average is 18 percent.
The converse of not striking out is walking. Again, Wright's walk percentage is the highest of his career. It currently sits at 14.7 percent and his career average is 11.4 percent. He has been walked intentionally eight times and that helps a little, but for the first time in Wright's career, he has more walks than strikeouts.
David Wright played only 102 games last season and had 99 hits. He has played 69 games so far this season and has 91 hits. Wright hit 23 doubles last season. He already has 24 this season. Wright walked 54 times last season. He has already walked 44 times this season. Wright hit 52 line drives all last season. He has hit 49 line drives already this season. His line drive percentage is much higher than the last two seasons and more reminiscent of his 2007 and 2008 seasons.
And probably the favorite statistic of them all? David Wright has only popped the ball to the infield once all season.
Wright's season has helped the Mets in their improbable position of contending in the National League East and in the wild card race. But it also creates a quandary for the Mets who must decide what to do with Wright long term. It would have behooved the Mets to tie him up long term after last season when his value was at its lowest. The team has an option on him for 2013 at $16 million and most certainly will exercise it. But his long term cost has now gone through the roof.
David Wright should really be one of those franchise players that plays his entire career with the Mets. Whether that will happen or not seems about 50/50 right now. Like most elite players, Wright has had some off seasons. But when his seasons are on, they are unbelievably good. 2012 has been one of those and if it wasn't for that guy named Votto, Wright would be the MVP if that award was voted on right now.