“Look, kid, don’t ever – ya ‘understand me? – don’t ever let anyone monkey with your swing.” - Ted Williams to Carl Yastrzemski.
David Wright has sucked this year. His power is gone and his strikeouts have raised tremendously. But what's most horrifying is the fact that it's a result of changing his approach, something that was instigated by Howard Johnson. The following quotes are from an article by Larry Brooks in the NY Post: http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/mets/power_struggle_not_big_issue_for_MOdv7u3VfFRnvqIo2FcaJI
“Going into the park we knew it was going to be big, but I don’t think anyone realized just how big it was going to play,“ Wright told The Post before going a quiet 0-for-3 in last night’s 6-3 defeat to the Marlins. “And so in order to be successful here I had to alter my approach a bit.
“You no longer can work the count to get ahead and then look for a pitch to drive out of the park. Instead, you look for a pitch you can shoot into the outfield for a base hit. That’s the approach I’ve been taking, and I’ve carried that onto the road.
“You’d have to be a dummy to keep trying to hit home runs when almost all your fly balls wind up reaching the warning track.”
Now, this is all really frightening, if true. The notion that they tinkered with the swing of a top 5 player in baseball and he's now become Casey Blake is enough to make one sick to their stomach. I can't imagine how you could ever let this happen to your franchise player, but this is the Mets after all. The real question is, has he actually changed his approach, or is he just retroactively making excuses and bullshitting? Often times players say shit that isn't true, just to have an explanation. It's easier to say you changed your approach than it is to say that you've been absolute dog shit. Hopefully, all that's happened is he's had a terrible year at the plate, with a combination of awful luck/slumping/whateverthefuck converging at the apex of the vortex of suck. Here's his hit charts from the last two seasons. I don't see a substantive difference in the balls he's put in play; the only thing that's different is the lack of homeruns and doubles. That doesn't mean he's changed his approach, that just means he isn't hittign homeruns and doubles. Most of his outs are grouped the same, as are his singles. He might just not be making solid contact and is making an excuse for it. Hopefully. If there's a god. Who doesn't hate the Mets.
Regardless, Howard Johnson has to be fired. You can't tell Wright to change his approach. That's just egregious. He should never work in baseball again after that. But that's of secondary importance to Wright getting his shit together.