Sorry, David, but your training session with “The Situation” hasn’t worked. After a decent Spring Training and a home run on Opening Day, Mets fans hoped we would see the David Wright of old in 2010. Instead, we are left to wonder if we will ever see that David Wright again.
Remember when David Wright was one of the best 2 strike hitters in the league? The announcers would always remark about how “now the at bat was beginning” when he had 2 strikes. Wright would battle, foul off tough pitches, and though he would strike out his fair share, it was usually only after multiple foul balls. He was also one of the best in the game at going the other way, hitting line drives to right and right center.
So what happened? 2009 was a miserable season for Wright. It’s not often that you would label a season in which someone hit .307 as miserable, but I don’t think many could dispute that. His homers dipped from 33 to 10 – yes, just 10! And despite 100 less at bats than the previous season, he struck out 22 times MORE than he had in 2008. It’s one thing to see an increase in strikeouts coincide with an increase in power, but to see power numbers disappear and see the K’s pile up, you have to wonder – what is going on?
2009 was a mess for the Mets on many levels. The team was absolutely decimated by injuries. With no protection in the lineup, pitchers had no reason to pitch to Wright, so it’s understandable that he might try to expand the strike zone as a result. Citi Field also was a factor, but it’s not like Shea Stadium was Coors Field. However, the change did affect Wright more than others due to the expansive alley in right center. At Shea, you’d often see Wright homer to right center or into the right field bullpen. At Citi, those drives were long outs. Was he consciously (or subconsciously) trying to pull everything as a result? The icing on the cake for 2009 was when Wright was hit in the head by a Matt Cain fastball and was forced to the DL with a concussion.
So now it’s 2010. The Mets added Jason Bay to provide some protection, and though he hasn’t been producing at all (I’ll beat up on Bay soon enough), the supporting cast around Wright is clearly superior to last season. Wright has shown more power this season (he already has a 7 – WOW!), but he is striking out at an even more alarming rate, on pace to strike out over 200 times. His stance keeps changing (he’s crouching, he’s upright). Through it all – even when he has been getting hits – it’s not the same. He’s not making the same contact (that is, when he makes contact). He’s rarely hitting the ball to right field. When he gets to 2 strikes, it’s over. He’s somehow hitting .272, but it certainly doesn’t seem like it.
So what’s the answer to this “situation?” Is it mental? Is it the hitting coach? Hopefully Wright and the Mets can get this figured out soon, because the Mets will never be right without the old Wright.