COMMENTARY | David Wright is having a great start to the 2013 season. To-date, the 30 year-old Mets captain is batting .293 with a 17.7% BB%, 139 OPS+ (4 points above his career rate), and has even made some fantastic defensive plays. With teammates John Buck, Daniel Murphy, and Lucas Duda all powering the Mets offense, the fate of the Mets' run production hasn't entirely fallen on the shoulders of the Virginia native. Heck, Matt Harvey's ace-like three starts have even pushed Wright out of the New York Mets spotlight for the time being.
That said, through 11 games, Wright has yet to hit a home run.
Even though it's far too soon to actually be worried, Wright's inability to go yard is perplexing, and would certainly become an issue once Buck ceases to hit like Lou Gehrig. Despite the small sample size, some of the Wright's peripherals look similar to or worse than his 2009 peripherals; the season Wright only hit 10 home runs.
For instance, in 2009, Wright posted a substandard .140 ISO (Isolated Power) with a relatively low 35.9% FB% (Flyball Percentage). By comparison, so far in 2013, the hitter has posted a .135 ISO with a 27.6% FB%. Wright is also hitting more balls on the ground, sporting a 44.8% GB% (Groundball Percentage), versus his career 38.7% GB rate%.
And while many people--including Wright himself--blamed Citi Field's expansive dimensions for the power drop-off in 2009, the fences were moved-in before the 2012 season to make the park less pitcher-friendly, and perhaps to spark the franchise player's confidence too. Yet, even before the fences were adjusted, Wright's power rebounded.
In 2010, the hitter posted a drastically improved .220 ISO and 15.5% HR/FB rate (he owned a pathetic 6.9% HR/FB in 2009), resulting in 29 home runs. Even in Wright's injury-plagued 2011 season, the corner infielder swatted a superior .172 ISO and 12.0% HR/FB, putting 14 dingers out of the park (in 447 PAs). Ironically, however, when the Mets officially changed the lofty outfield dimensions, Wright's ISO (.186), HR/FB (12.5%), and home runs (21) were still inferior to his 2010 rates.
Suffice to say, the current culprit of Wright's lack of longballs is not Citi Field.
It's likely that Wright, who signed an 8-year, $138 million contract extension this past off-season, will shake off his home run drought in the near future. Baseball Prospectus, for instance, projects 22 home runs for the slugger. Regardless of small sample sizes and premature concerns, there is no doubt that David Wright must start lifting more balls in the air to make that apple rise.Ben Berkon is a freelance sports, humor, and tech writer/blogger from New York City. Berkon's work has been featured on The Huffington Post, The Onion, Contently, Medium, and Rising Apple, and he also manages The Beanball and Blah Blah Berkon, his personal stat-heavy baseball and humor blogs, respectively. He's [unfortunately] been a Mets follower his entire life.
Follow him at @BenBerkon.
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