David Wright is completely lost

Posted: May 18, 2010 in Mets

I’ve always been a big fan of David Wright. From the moment he came up in 2004, there was excitement and it seemed the 21-year-old had limitless potential.
He produced big seasons early in his career, making you think once he hit the prime years of 27-31, he’d be a megastar capable of carrying a team.
The young David Wright is no more. And although he is only 27, one can’t help but think we may have already seen his best seasons. I’m hoping I’m wrong, but there are plenty of negative signs. Wright used to be a clutch hitter, a quality two-strike hitter able to take the ball to the opposite field with authority.
Sure, he struck out like any young hitter, but he kept it in a manageable range (around 115). Last year, his power completely disappeared (10 homers) and while he still hit for a decent average, the strikeouts inexplicably came up to 140. This year, he’s on pace to shatter that mark and right now, he’s a threat to match Mark Reynolds’ all-time record of 223, set just last year. No lie, that’s how much Wright is swinging and missing right now.
It seems he’s got to be ahead in the count to do any damage (his power is back on the upswing with eight homers) and while he still has a strong on-base percentage, he’s quickly morphing into an all-or-nothing hitter or a three results type of guy (walk, HR, strikeout) along the lines of Adam Dunn.
One thing I’d do if I was in the Mets’ front office is fire hitting coach Howard Johnson immediately. I’m not naive, I know Wright’s problems can’t be solely pinned on a hitting coach, but it’s no secret Wright has regressed under HoJo’s watch. And if he hasn’t helped Wright find the solution by now, he’s clearly part of the problem.
I’d bring in a hitting coach that can help him shorten his swing, focus on taking the ball to the opposite field and not worry about hitting homers. He’s killing the team with strikeouts in big spots, tonight was another perfect illustration of how bad Wright looks. He had a chance with a runner on third and one out in the ninth to bring the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly, but you just knew a strikeout was coming against former Met Billy Wagner. And once the count got to 1-2, it was all over. Definite strikeout whenever he gets to two strikes. And if that wasn’t bad enough (he struck out three times overall), the Braves scored the winning run on a Wright throwing error. Ouch.
He needs a day off and will probably get one in the upcoming Nationals series. He’s got to get back to the player we used to know. If he doesn’t, not only are the Mets in deep trouble this year, but in coming seasons as well.

  1. GravediggerHebner says:

    That Adam Dunn comparison made my physically ill. I wish I could dispute it. Their similarly poor defense doesn’t help. How long before Wright is removed late in games for defensive purposes?

    I agree with you that the hitting is not HoJo’s fault necessarily but we are talking about this team’s biggest star and if the batting coach is taking this long to help him figure it out, something is not working in that pairing.

    Obviously I’m just some guy on the street but I think some combination of Citi Field psych out & Matt Cain beaning psych out as well as the pressure inherent in growing up a fan of the team he now plays for is turning him into the Dunn-lite you describe, and I have no clue at all how to rectify any of those issues. I can’t go back in time and undo the beaning or make him a childhood fan of the Padres, and I don’t imagine Citi Field is going to be re-designed.

    Another thing that makes me feel physically ill – the thought that it may be best for the Mets and Wright to part company. Ugh.

  2. I really hate to say this, but I think playing for the Mets through all this disappointment is a big part of it. Missing the playoffs on the last day of the season twice in a row is taking its toll and now they’re not even looking like they’ll even get that far for the foreseeable future. I would not be surprised if Wright ends up like what Francoeur was to the Braves: someone who was once happy and a fan favorite but is getting to the point where he needs a change of atmosphere.

    • Andrew Sodergren says:

      Grave and Dave (hey it rhymes),
      I’ve had that thought too (about the Mets and Wright parting company), but I’m not quite ready to pull the plug yet. I honestly believe if he worked with a better hitting coach, he just might rediscover his groove. Hey, he finally had a game without striking out last night, driving in four runs. At least it’s a step in the right direction….

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