Around the Horn – Third Base
February 10, 2010
I recently posted how shortstop was the most important position for the 2010 New York Mets, other than starting pitching. There is, however, an overwhelming majority of bloggers who feel that this next position is the most important. I am talking about third base.
David Wright – Of all the players on the Met roster, no one garners more attention than David Wright. He is the face of the organization. He also was the lone key player to actually play the majority of last season without injury, his several week absence due to a concussion aside.
A lot of pressure rests on Wright’s slimmed down shoulders if the Mets are to rebound in 2010. The level of scrutiny that Wright has received is mostly due to his fall off in production last season. Whatever reasons you would like to suggest for his fall last season, the reality is that this is of major concern to everyone involved with this franchise and its future. The Met poster boy fell off the proverbial cliff last season, and everyone knows it.
Let’s dissect a bit here. His batting average, on-base percentage, doubles, and stolen bases remained on his career average. Unfortunately, all of his other statistics fell off at least moderately. We all know how the home run completely disappeared for Wright last year. However, his slugging percentage, runs, and perhaps most troubling, his strikeout numbers all went south. Wright always contributed his fair share of strikeouts, but 140 in only 535 at bats (nearly seventy-five fewer than his average total of at bats) is far too many for a number three hitter. Wright looked very uncomfortable at the plate for long stretches last season, and that makes any Met fan feel the same. He stopped hitting to his strength as well. No longer did Wright seem to drive the ball to right-center field with power. Rather, we saw him pull the ball more often than not, often times pulling off with his swing. The most disturbing trend that I noticed was that he was often beaten with inside heat, something that rarely happened in earlier seasons.
Ultimately, the Mets will need David Wright to be more than a “soft” .300 hitter this season. They will need him to drive the ball like the old David Wright, even if it only leads to more doubles and more contact. If you are a Met fan, you would have to accept that offer if it were granted. Forget the home runs from him, and hopefully, he forgets about them as well. What this analysis also states is that perhaps he is not a middle of the order guy any longer, even though the Mets have no choice but to place him there. Time will tell.
Fernando Tatis – I know you know what I am going to say here. You are right. If he plays even a little, forget this season and find a new warm-weather hobby.