Why we should be worried about David Wright

Omar Quintanilla (.298) has a higher wOBA than David Wright (.295) after a month of the season.

All Mets fans have been acting like an ostrich, burying their heads in the sand rather that admit the obvious – that a lot of the team’s offensive struggles can be traced to Wright. There was hope that a four-game trip to Colorado, one of his favorite places to hit, would jump start his bat. Wright has a lifetime 1.145 OPS in Coors Field, thanks to a fantastic .677 SLG.

Wright has gone 5-13 in the first three games of the series but only one of those hits has gone for extra-bases and that was a double. Compare that to the three games played in Colorado in terrible conditions last April, when Wright had five hits, including two homers. When even Coors Field can’t help Wright’s slugging, it’s time to start worrying.

Let’s look at Wright’s season to date and compare it to the same point a season ago:

2014 .348 .659 4 0 1 8 29
2013 .333 .955 5 3 4 19 18

We can’t say that Wright’s been unlucky, as his BABIP is higher than it was a season ago. But outside of doubles, everything else is worse than it was this time in 2013. Two things jump out immediately. The first is his lack of power. He had 12 extra-base hits this time a season ago, compared to five now. Wright homered on Opening Day and since then he’s gone 127 PA (115 ABs) without a HR, a streak that would look at home in Ike Davis’ 2013 season.

And the real issue is the strikeouts. After having more walks than whiffs this time in 2013, Wright has a 3.5 K/BB rate here in 2014. His K% is 22% and regular readers here know that Wright has never had a good season when his K% has been over 20.

From his debut in 2004 through the 2008 season, Wright was very consistent with his strikeout rate, never posting a mark above 17.2 his first five seasons in the league. But then the Mets moved into Citi Field and Wright started to strike out at a noticeably higher rate. Over the next three seasons, Wright’s K% topped 20 each year, with a career-worst mark of 24% in 2010.

From 2009-2011, Wright averaged a 124 OPS+ — a good mark but significantly worse than the 139 OPS+ he posted his first five years when it seemed like he was building a case for Cooperstown. But in 2012, Wright’s K rate dropped under 20% and he followed it up with a similar rate in 2013. Those two seasons, Wright saw his OPS+ leap up to 149, thanks to a career-best 156 mark last year.

Wright started 2014 off fine with his strikeout rate. In Spring Training, he had just 8 Ks in 45 ABs. This carried over to the regular season, when in his first two weeks, Wright fanned nine times in 54 PA (48 ABs). But since April 14th, he has struck out 20 times in 78 PA (72 ABs) for a 25.6 K%

Perhaps Wright started to press after the poor start that Curtis Granderson and the rest of the offense got off to here in 2014. Perhaps it’s nothing but a small sample fluke. Whatever the reason, if the Mets hope to be playing meaningful games after the All-Star break, it would be a great thing if Wright got his strikeout and walk numbers back to his 2013 rates.

And hopefully once that happens, the power numbers will come, too.

6 comments for “Why we should be worried about David Wright

  1. Name
    May 4, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I’ve been saying this for a while now and finally someone else is showing my concern. 5 XBH over 5 weeks is very troubling.
    However, Wright has one more game to get his slugging up. Murphy was able to finally break through yesterday with 2 doubles and a triple and in the process raised his slugging from .333 to .385 so a big game from Wright could do the same.

  2. NYM
    May 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I think K’s are more of a symptom of a problem than the cause of it. His swing is off right now for whatever reason.

    And in this case maybe the lack of HRs is what is causing the K problem and not vice versa. I didn’t think he looked particularly good earlier in the season either, but perhaps knowing he hasn’t hit a HR in awhile he’s overswinging a bit now…trying to get that HR and that’s leading to the increased strikeouts.

  3. Joe Vasile
    May 4, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    If we don’t talk about David Wright struggling, it’s not happening, right?

    • Chris F
      May 5, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Ha!!! Priceless.

  4. May 4, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    David Wright has always been a great guy, but he has not been the same player since he got beamed in the head a few years back. The front office as we all know stinks, but they should have traded him, instead of signing him to a big contract. They should have went with youth instead. they could have picked up some good minor league players for him. They had plenty young players that could had played 3rd, David murphy, Zack Lutz and more. But until the Wilpons sell the team, it will remain the same. That’s why true met fans are not buying tickets. the Wilpons have their cousin the commissioner behind them or they would be gone.

    • NYM
      May 5, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      The beaning didn’t stop Wright from being great in both 2012 and 2013.

      And Wright is worlds better than Lutz and Murph. “Youth” only gets you so far… you need some established good players on the team too if you want to win. Besides, Murph and Lutz aren’t particularly “young” anyway. Murph is only 2 years younger than Wright. And Lutz is only 3 years younger and hasn’t shown himself necessarily even be a major leaguer at this stage.

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