David Wright Still Haunted by Beaning: Strikeouts Are Mounting Higher
This has been a roller coaster ride season for David Wright, who now has struck out 130 times, surpassing last year's total of 118.
With ten games remaining, it's possible that Wright will strike out another 20 times, ending his season with 150 strikeouts.
Although Wright is the team leader in RBI at 68, many more RBI opportunities presented themselves during the 130 strikeout at-bats, and this has hurt his overall production.
It would be dishonest and unfair to say that the Mets would be in the playoff chase had Wright had 30-50 less strikeouts and 50 more RBI, but it does play a big part in the run production for the Mets.
Mark Reynolds, one of Wright's childhood friends from Norfolk, VA, who is on the Arizona Diamondbacks, struck out three times last night, which brought his season total to a career high 206. But with 100 RBI, management is not overly concerned about Reynolds' strikeout numbers.
Even before his concussion on August 15th, Wright had season-long streaks of high strikeouts that lasted for several days. Yet Jerry Manuel seemed only somewhat concerned, which is more than a little alarming given the fact that Wright has been the heart of the lineup for much of the season.
The Mets have been destroyed by injuries this season and Mets management hiding the team's failures behind injuries as opposed to working as much as possible with the healthy players has hurt the players and the organization.
To his credit, Wright returned to the lineup on September 1st, the very first day he was eligible to return to the active roster. He has only sat one game since, and that was strictly for precautionary reasons.
Much was written about the new helmet that he wore the first two games he was back, but it probably was more distracting than helpful for two reasons - it was too big and bulky and it also was another reminder that he is recovering from a concussion from beaning.
Recent statements by Wright tell that he is holding the memory of the 94mph fastball to his helmet in the back of his head and is flinching when the ball comes inside. Therefore, his pitch location perception is not where it should be in the batters box.
The scouting report on David Wright has always been up and in, as he is a notorious low ball hitter who prefers the ball from the inside corner to out over the plate.
Brad Thompson of the St Louis Cardinals was suspended for two games by the Commissioner's office for throwing near Wright's head in early August. The initial ruling was three games, but Thompson appealed the ruling, and the suspension was reduced in Thompson's favor.
Adam Eaton, previously of the Phillies, had grazed Wright in the helmet in June of 2007, and Matt Lindstrom of the Florida Marlins has come extremely close to hitting Wright in the head with 96 mph fastballs on several occasions.
Pitching inside is part of baseball and that will not change, but when it comes to being thrown at or near the head, that is real danger and can alter the way a batter approaches a game situation.
David Wright and hitting coach Howard Johnson have a father-son relationship, and Johnson has invited both Wright and Jeff Francoeur to his Tampa, Florida home this winter for an informal hitting camp.
The Mets are looking for Wright to be able to have the comfort level in the batter's box that he needs to be successful, and hopefully this will be accomplished by the Spring of 2010.
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