Coming into the 2016 season, my go-to line about the Mets' third baseman and captain has been: "Never doubt David Wright."
There was legitimate cause for concern, as Wright missed much of last season because of spinal stenosis, a condition that won't go away for the rest of his career. He had also put up an exactly-league-average year at the plate in 2014, the lowest level of offensive production of his career. But Wright has excelled when skeptics were out in droves before.
Wright was only a pretty good hitter in 2011 rather than the great one that everyone had become accustomed to. The next two seasons were some of Wright's best at the plate, particularly when accounting for the changes in the run-scoring environment across Major League Baseball.
It is only late May, and there's a long way to go before we know what sort of year Wright has in his first full season playing with a significant back condition. The strikeout rate has been high, but he's gotten on base at a good clip and hit for some power.
Until recently, Wright's overall production at the plate was well above average, despite the strikeouts. But he had gone into a slump, and earlier in the Mets' Saturday afternoon games, there were a handful of boos when he struck out for the second time in the afternoon.
All of that made the end of the game sweeter. With the scored tied a four runs apiece and the bases loaded, Wright got into a 3-0 count. Everyone probably figured that he'd take the next pitch, but he instead swung and ripped a ball—at 106.1 miles per hour, per Statcast—into the right-center field gap to win the game for the Mets. Officially speaking, it was a single. Had it not won the game, it would have been a classic opposite-field David Wright double.
It was a joyous finish to a comeback win, a great moment for Mets fans and their longest-tenured player who happens to be the best in franchise history in a bunch of different categories.
Of course, there was more to the game before all of that. Curtis Granderson hit another leadoff home run to begin the bottom of the first inning. Jacob deGrom's stuff looked like it was back, but he struggled to hit the strike zone and wound up giving up four runs in five laborious innings.
In the fourth inning, Asdrubal Cabrera cut the Brewers' lead to two by singling home Yoenis Cespedes, who had reached on a single himself that inning, with two outs. And in the bottom of the sixth, Michael Conforto drew a walk in front of Cespedes, who of course hit a home run to tie the game at four.
That comeback at the plate, plus four excellent innings from the Mets' bullpen—two from Hansel Robles and one each from Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia—set everything up for the bottom of the ninth. And an Eric Campbell single, a Kevin Plawecki walk, and a sacrifice bunt by Matt Reynolds—with two strikes via failed bunt attempts—set things up for Wright to play the role of hero. The Brewers opted to intentionally walk Curtis Granderson and bring up Wright. And then the Mets won.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Yoenis Cespedes, +27.9% WPA, David Wright, +13.4% WPA, Jeurys Familia, +12.0% WPA, Hansel Robles, +11.0% WPA
Big losers: Jacob deGrom, -25.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Yoenis Cespedes’s game-tying two-run home run in the sixth, +30.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Ramon Flores’s two-run home run in the second, -23.1% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +6.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: +43.2% WPA
GWRBI!: David Wright