And this is not a nasty Phillies or Yankees fan talking here; as many of you already know, I'm a die-hard Mets fan. Nonetheless, I am obligated to speak the truth:
David Wright is not a superstar.
That's it. I said it. It's out there in the open now...
And of course I won't say it without backing it up, and I'll make sure to give David credit where credit is due. Let's go to the numbers for this season:
.326 batting average, .414 on-base percentage, 80 games played (durability), 20 stolen bases, 45 walks.
Five homers, 42 RBI, 84 strikeouts, caught stealing eight times, 12 errors, .167 BA with the bases loaded
Sure this is only one half of one season, but Mets fans know that David's a different player these days. I'd love to go back to his numbers of past years (.302-33-124, .325-30-107), but they aren't indicative of the player that David Wright has morphed into.
He used to be an all-around offensive threat with power and the ability to hit to all fields with pop. Now he's a high batting average guy that dinks and dunks his way on base. He's showing little-to-no power, and he's pulling off the ball with regularity.
He used to be consistent. Now he's a one-man roller coaster, with high highs and oh-so-lows.
I miss the consistent version of David Wright. I miss the David Wright with some thunder in his bat. I miss the David Wright that stayed in on the ball, and boasted extremely sound offensive mechanics.
Now his mechanics are messy, and his results have gone hand-and-hand.
His "Good" stats are exactly that. The BA and OBP are bordering on exceptional, but the stolen bases are offset by the high number of CS.
"The Bad" are horribly bad. Pretty terrifying for we Mets fans, actually.
Five home runs? Really? I mean, I know Citi Field is spacious and pitcher-friendly, but it's not Yellowstone Park. Ralph Kiner, who hit bombs a million years ago when the parks were MUCH bigger, said the players and media members need to stop whining about Citi Field's dimensions. Kiner said it's a "small" park. In the grand scheme, I believe him. The guy is a living legend with the numbers to back it up.
So are we really going to say that David Wright has only five homers because of his new home ballpark?
Nahhh, that would be lame. Let's own up -- something is wrong with Wright, both physically and mentally. Physically, it's obvious: fouling off too many sweet pitches to hit, striking out too much, not making adjustments, not shortening his swing with two strikes, pulling off the ball with both head and front hip. I think his .326 average is a small miracle.
Mentally, that's another thing. I can't testify as to what is going on in David Wright's head, but whatever it is, I don't approve. He has only 42 RBI, and yet the Mets have been one of the top OBP teams in the National League throughout the year. The runners have been there for David, but he's hitting .167 with the bases jacked. That ain't gonna cut it, especially with Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Delgado out of the picture.
A true superstar would respond with those key players on the disabled list. A true superstar doesn't crumble because of a lack of "lineup protection." If the pitches to hit aren't there, take the walks. Wright does that; but when he finally GETS the pitches to hammer, he's late. Swing is too long, and it takes too much time for him to get through the zone. Essentially, he's getting beat.
So what can we do as Mets fans?
Sadly, not much. Really, nothing at all. We'll just have to hope that David somehow finds his power stroke and/or consistency in the second half, or else we're totally finished. The problem is, Wright hasn't shown me any indications of potential improvement. He's stubborn, and he seemingly refuses to adjust.
And let's not forget about defense. D-Wright already has 12 errors, and that number doesn't include the favorable hometown scoring decisions. I've counted six errors of Wright's, already this season, that were ruled as hits by the Mets' official scorer. Anything to protect the Golden Boy's reputation, apparently.
He's a mess. The Mets are a mess, top to bottom. But when we've been good, we collapse when it matters. Now that we suck, well, maybe we'll turn it around before it's all said and done for 2009. Who knows?
Don't ask me. I can't predict the future...I don't think.
(The Red Sox are the new Yankees. How did they make the transition? "JFro," aka John Frascella, is the author of "Theo-logy: How a Boy Wonder Led the Red Sox to the Promised Land."
It's the first full-length book centered on Boston Red Sox's popular
general manager Theo Epstein. Preview or purchase it online at Amazon.com, Barnes
and Noble or Borders. It's currently stocked in Barnes and Noble stores
throughout the U.S. Also, check out John on Twitter.)