The New York Mets are in a state of flux dealing with showing that they intend to knock the Phillies down from the NL East throne while also having to deal with lengthy absences due to injuries to key players.
With Carlos Delgado and Jose Reyes shelved with injuries, the burden of leadership from the core players falls on the shoulders of David Wright and Carlos Beltran.
Wright is showing that he wants to run aggressively, he is currently the team leader with 14 SB's and 8 CS so far. Last season he was not able to run consistently for a variety of reasons, but worked very hard this past winter strengthening his legs.
Jose Reyes and Endy Chavez were the ones running frequently, and Wright was looked to for the power in the third spot even though he walks and doubles frequently and his OBP was close to 450.
In 2006, Wright came in a very close second to Ryan Howard in the Home Run Derby, which even his own brothers were shocked at, but he made everyone stand up and take notice of his power that night in Pittsburgh.
Since then, he has shown himself to be good for 30+ home runs per season, added to about 40 doubles and 100 singles. He currently only has three home runs in 2009, but most likely will end up with close to 25-30 home runs before the season is over as he will most likely play 160 games, barring serious injury of course.
Howard Johnson and Jerry Manuel have both worked with Wright to level his swing to take away some of the upper cut that he had as a result of hitting so many home runs on pitches beneath the strike zone.
Beltran has missed some games recently with stomach virus and knee pain, but has seven home runs and will also probably hit between 25-30 home runs.
Delgado's power is missed, no question, but the Mets are doing a great job of small balling wins with their speed. They have been overaggressive at times, but for the most part, it is getting the job done.
Gary Sheffield has been excellent in the lineup but cannot play every game, so they cannot rely on him for their home run hitting numbers.
The Mets knew that Citi Field would challenge their home run numbers and they seem to be making the adjustments to hit more doubles and triples.
I would not be surprised to see both Beltran and Wright hit inside-the-park home runs at Citi Field by the end of the season.
Home Runs are a big part of the game, no doubt, and can change the game as fast as anything, but as fans, we should enjoy what our players provide in the way of how they approach each at bat and move the runners along the bases.
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