It’s safe to say that David Wright has been in a real rut at the plate as of late. He’s back to pressing at the plate, his swing is way off kilter, and he’s even letting his emotions get the best of him.
On the surface, you look at Wright’s numbers on the season and there’s really a lot to be encouraged about. He already has seven home runs to go with a .930 OPS that puts him among the league’s top players right now. But still, the strikeouts are starting to become very worrisome.
Wright is currently striking out in 37.5 percent of his at-bats or 30.5 percent of his plate appearances, both marks putting Wright among the worst in the league. Is it mental or is something mechanical?
Buster Olney of ESPN noted the following,
Clearly, he is not comfortable at the plate; scouts are noticing that he is flinching at breaking pitches, a tendency that they believe started after Wright was beaned last summer in a game against the Giants.
I really hadn’t given that much thought and quite frankly I had completely put the beaning in the past, but could Olney be on to something here?
He points out that Wright has hit for a .324 average with eight home runs in the 426 at bats before the beaning, as compared to a .253 average and nine homers in the 217 at bats since.
While the rise in power numbers is a step in the right direction, the fact that his batting average has sunk as much as it has is certainly discouraging for someone who is approaching his prime years.
Mark Simon, also from ESPN, points out some additional information with regards to his overwhelming strikeout rate. As most of you know, Wright now holds the Mets record for striking out in nine straight at-bats, but worse yet is the fact that if the current trends continue and if Wright comes to bat 735 times this season, he could match Mark Reynolds’ major league record of 233 strikeouts set last season.
Obviously nobody wants to see Wright achieve that dubious distinction, and I don’t believe it will happen, but a career high strikeout rate and a huge decline in batting average is taking it’s toll on the team as well as Wright, who is clearly frustrated as evidenced by his ill-advised tantrum the other night which resulted in getting him tossed for arguing strikes when the Mets had already used up their bench. Obviously, Wright’s head was clearly not in the game or he would have otherwise thought better of his actions.
Hopefully, this is something that will eventually work itself out, but for now it’s become very clear that David Wright is just not himself right now. He is in a deep funk that not only is affecting him at the plate, but it’s also affecting his ability to keep his head in the game. A day or two off and a couple of bull sessions with hitting coach Howard Johnson, might be what Wright needs more than anything else right now.