I was chatting with a Yankee fan by the water cooler on Monday, and something he said really resonated with me. He told me that when David Wright came up against Mariano in the 9th, on Friday…. he knew the game was over. This really convinced me that things have changed drastically for Mister Wright.
This isn’t going to be another article written about my theories on why David has morphed from a dangerous, pure, clutch hitter, with power; into an all-or-nothing slugger, with speed, and mediocre power. Nor, am I going to expound with theories on how he can recover his long-lost aura of super-stardom. What I would like to do is talk about an epiphany I had when looking over his projected stats for 2010.
David Wright is slowly but surely transforming into his long-time hitting coach….Howard “HoJo” Johnson. Now, I am not saying that this is a conscious thing that HoJo is trying to do to David. I’m only speaking of a familiar feeling, and the end results.
Howard Johnson was an awesome player, certainly one of my favorite Mets in the late 80’s. He had multiple 30-30 seasons for the Mets, and was easily their most dangerous hitter for more than a few years. The problem with Johnson (besides the fact that he lost it at all 31) was that he was a classic compiler.
He never hit for a high average; He would get the occasional clutch hit; He would steal 25-40 bases; He was an ok third baseman (with a cannon arm); and he would hit 30 plus HR every other year; In other words he was a very solid but unspectacular ballplayer. With all his numbers, he wasn’t someone that teams had to game plan for, in order to beat the Mets.
I fear this that David is becoming this type of hitter. The numbers are so similar. .260 30 HR 30 SB 100 RBI is what most projections have David at this year. Hardly numbers to sneeze at, but not the numbers we where hoping for, from the face of the franchise! Those numbers are eerily similar to an average Howard Johnson year.
The problem with emulating Howard Johnson (besides the fact that no one outside the Mets even remembers him), is that HoJo was never a “core” player that other teams feared. He finished in the top 5 for MVP twice and had multiple silver slugger awards, yet he is a distant memory for your average baseball fan outside NY.
I don’t know about you guys, but I had vastly higher hopes for David. I really thought he was going down the road to all-time Mets greatness, I fear this is now at risk. Forget about numbers, we as Mets fans know that certain aspects of his game have been declining since 2008, and I now fear that he is settling into mediocrity.
I hope I’m wrong, but did anyone here even think for a second, that he would come through against Mariano last Friday? I surely didn’t.