Saturday, October 22, 2011

The "New" Citi Field May Save David Wright

Photo Courtesy of Michael Baron
Whatever your stance is on Citi Field, it is clear that the Mets' new home has left a somewhat sour taste in the mouths of many Mets players.  No one player has been more negatively impacted than David Wright.  This is no secret.  Wright, who is not a traditional power hitter, has seen more balls than we care to count come up short in the expansive 415' right-centerfield gap.  He has also hit numerous balls of the towering wall in left field.  Many of these shots would have been long gone in most ball parks, including Shea Stadium.  So what impact will the new dimensions have on David Wright and his future in Flushing?

A quick look at his career statistics highlights the negative effects of Citi Field.  Wright saw his home run output cut by two-thirds in 2009 (the first year at Citi).  But this isn't just about home runs.  That same year, Wright's RBI total dropped by more than 50...50!  It was clear then, and has been pretty clear since that David Wright has changed his approached at the plate.  Despite a brief increase in his power numbers in 2010, Wrights batting average has steadily declined since having to call Citi Field home.

Wright knows he isn't hitting for power.  Lord knows the media asks him about it regularly... It would appear that his search to find an extra 20'-30' in his power stroke has had repercussions.  First and foremost, he has seen his strike out totals rise, but it may even play a role in Wright's new found health concerns.  David was once a contact hitter with a natural swing that regularly drove the ball out to right field.  Now, it is clear that he is pressing, swinging harder and trying to pull the ball for more power.

With a lower wall in left field, and a 25' reduction in the right-centerfield gap, David Wright shouldn't have to look to crush the ball any longer.  He can, hopefully, return to the days when he regularly drove the ball to all sides of the field.  Whether or not this will see his power numbers increase and strike out numbers decrease, obviously remains to be seen, but its logical to think that these changes can nothing but positive for Wright.

As a result of his struggles, and now injury issues, Wright has fallen out of favor with a pretty decent portion of the fan base.  Furthermore, the idea that the Mets may jettison Wright in order to afford Jose Reyes has seen even more fans turn on the former boy wonder.  But let me ask you this?  How many of you would be so ready to trade away your starting third baseman should he return to .290/30/120 next summer.  These new dimensions play to his favor.  They should aid Wright immediately, potentially return him to all-star status and ultimately extend his future with the New York Mets.

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