2010 Postmortem: Third Base

Thirdbasepostmortem_medium

For the second straight season, David Wright's performance at the plate and in the field lagged behind the standard he set from 2005-2008. His strikeout rate shot up to 27.4% in 2009 and was a ghastly 35.7% on May 31st in 2010. The topic was an obsession for Met fans -- there seemed to be five articles/posts a day about it in the early part of the season (some good came out of it as well). Audible booing of David became a regular occurrence at Citi Field, as fans continued to be afflicted with Blame The Superstar Syndrome. When his OPS fell to a season low .811 on May 29th, I stopped thinking that his subpar 2009 was due to a hidden injury and started wondering if the old DW would ever return.

He continued toying with our emotions, posting a 1.130 OPS in June. Was he back? Was a ~.400 BABIP sustainable? Unfortunately, the answer to both questions was no. David was among the top five most valuable players in the league at the All Star Break -- then proceeded to perform at near-replacement level the rest of the way. He cracked 15 homers in the second half but managed just 24 walks. His power re-appeared in 2010 while his patience eroded. My heart believes David can figure it out and become a superstar again. My head considers his ugly peripherals (O-Swing %, Swinging Strike %, yikes) and sees him as a ~.370 wOBA hitter going forward. Still good, just not 2007-2008 David Beast Mode good.

The defensive metrics pegged David as one of the worst third basemen in MLB this season. I don't think he was quite that bad, but I do agree that his D has worsened the last two seasons. He needs to lose that habit of unnecessarily backhanding grounders. Drives me nuts.

The most common question asked of me by friends/family about the Mets is a variation of "Should they trade [Wright/Reyes]?" I respond with this Ted Berg blurb -- it concisely sums up my feelings and calms the resentment I feel toward fans who want to "shake things up" and "blow up the core":

David Wright and Jose Reyes are excellent players in their primes. Trading them for other excellent players in their primes in the right deal might be reasonable.

Trading them for the sake of trading them would be stupid.

David is signed through 2012, with a club option for 2013. Hopefully he sticks around longer than that.

Desired 2011 starting third baseman: David Wright

Projected 2011 starting third baseman: David Wright

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