It’s season preview time! Each Saturday I will analyze each position, lookinHpog at the quality, as well as the depth of the Met roster, and how players at each position could perform this season. Enjoy.
2012 will be one that will make or break the career of the guy manning the hot corner in Queens. David Wright will need to bounce back from a rough 2011 season with the Mets in order to keep his spot on the Mets roster for the years to come.
David, who will be making $15 million this year and possibly $16 million next year, had a down year last year. He hit .254 with 14 homers in 389 at-bats. Wright had been hurt while diving into Carlos Lee in a tag at third base against the Astros, breaking a bone in his lower back. He went on the DL in mid-May and came back, after 59 games, on July 22. He got hot for a while after coming back to the team, but faded the last month of the season, hitting just .216 in September.
Many fans, journalists, and other sports personalities have called for a trade of David Wright and they have reason to be concerned. Wright has not been nearly the same player recently that he was in ’06, ’07, and ’08. His strikeouts have risen and his batting average has gone down. You could even argue that Wright went from being on track to one day end up in Cooperstown, to just being one of those very good players. He has to overcome his injuries, which he has become more prone to, as well as reduce his strikeouts. If he can do that, his batting average and overall production level will rise. If he can’t he may find himself in another uniform come Opening Day 2013.
If Wright, God forbid, got hurt again, one of two guys would likely take over at third: Zach Lutz or Daniel Murphy. Lutz, 25, has hit very well at every level down in the minors. He definitely has the experience needed to be at the big league level. Last year, Lutz hit .285 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI in just 63 games.
Murphy… well we all know what he can do. If Wright goes down, even if Murphy is already the starting second baseman, he may move to third because that is his natural position. That will open up an opportunity for either Justin Turner to get some playing time or for Reese Havens to make his major league debut. No matter what he decides, Terry Collins will have a solid bat to plug in if Wright gets hurt again.
Overall Grade: B
Why the grade is this high:
Despite the rough past few seasons, there is no arguing that David could still pull it all together and have a great season. He also still has his power. He will be a solid third or fifth hitter, even if he doesn’t improve much from 2011.
Why the grade is this low:
While Wright has the talent to be an All-Star, he still needs to lower his strikeouts. Before his career went into it’s three-year downturn, Wright was around 115 strikeouts per year. During his three-year slump, Wright’s strikeouts went up to 140, again to 161, and would have had about the same number last year if he’d stayed healthy. Until he gets over this hurdle, David can’t be considered an “elite” player.
Come back next Saturday when I preview the left field position!