Year Team Lg Age Lvl AB XBH BB AVG/OBP/SLG ----------------------------------------------------------- 2001 Kingsport App 18 Rk 120 11 16 300/391/458 2002 Capital City SAL 19 A 496 43 76 266/367/401 2003 St. Lucie FSL 20 A+ 466 56 72 270/369/459 2004 Binghamton East 21 AA 223 37 39 363/467/619 2004 Norfolk IL 21 AAA 114 16 16 298/388/579Wright signed within a month of being drafted and reported to Kingsport of the Appalachian League, showing good discipline and decent pop in his first taste of professional ball. He began the 2002 season with Capital City of the South Atlantic League and struggled a bit with his average. His power dropped off a bit from the limited action he saw in the prior year, but much of that can be attributed to the dip in average. He displayed outstanding plate discipline for a nineteen-year-old, walking 76 times in 496 at-bats. Many players never develop that kind of strike zone judgement, so Wright's mastery so early on was a great indicator of future success.
Wright continued his climb through the Mets' farm system with a promotion to High-A St. Lucie in 2003. He maintained his batting average and terrific discipline and saw a nice bump in his power production, improving his extra-base hit rate from 8.6% to 12%. That he was two years younger than his competition at every level made his development even more impressive. But even Wright's steady rise up the Mets' organizational ladder couldn't have prepared the front office for what would happen next.
Wright advanced to Double-A Binghamton as a 21-year-old and immediately established himself as a dominating force; a man playing against little boys. In 223 at-bats Wright tore up Eastern League pitching to the tune of a .363/.467/.619 batting line. He hit for average, he hit for power, he drew walks. After easing him through one season apiece at three different minor league levels, the Mets wasted no time in promoting Wright to Triple-A Norfolk, just a stone's throw from his childhood home.
Wright spent all of 31 games in Triple-A before making his inexorable debut at Shea Stadium on July 21, 2004.
Year Age PA XBH BB AVG/OBP/SLG EQA WARP3 VORP -------------------------------------------------------- 2004 21 283 32 14 293/332/525 .289 2.2 17.2 2005 22 657 70 72 306/388/523 .310 9.5 57.2 2006 23 661 71 66 311/381/531 .307 10.2 54.3
Wright only got better in his sophomore campaign, appearing in 160 games and improving his batting average to .306 while exhibiting considerably improved plate discipline. Wright can be forgiven for being a bit anxious in his first go-round, but he adjusted very well in walking 72 times and bumping his on-base percentage up to .388, besting runner-up Floyd by 30 points. He even picked up a few MVP votes, finishing 19th in the balloting.
Wright began the 2006 season on fire, batting .316/.386/.575 in the first half with 39 walks and 45 extra-base hits. Wright's power surge led to an All Star Game selection and an invitation to its annual homerun derby, during which he admirably finished second to Philadelphia's Ryan Howard. Subsequent to the derby, Wright struggled in the second half to reproduce the power he demonstrated in the first. Some blame the so-called homerun derby jinx, though Howard had no such trouble as he mashed his way to a league-high 58 homeruns. Wright did well to maintain his batting and on-base rates despite the reduced power production, and his persistence paid off as his September slugging percentage spiked up to .551 after two down months.
It's hard to say what is yet to come for David Wright. His first two-plus years with the Mets have been as good as any in the team's history, and he is only now entering his age-24 season. If he continues to hit the way he has to this point, his position on this list in the coming years will assuredly rocket northward.