Today is poised to be one of the most emotional days in New York Mets history. David Wright is set to make the final appearance of his career, getting the start tonight at third base in front of a sold-out Citi Field crowd that will assuredly drown him in much-deserved appreciation all night long. His daughter will throw out the first pitch to his father. There will be video tributes. He will make a speech after the game. Everyone’s emotions will be in shambles by the second inning.
Today is also David Wright day here at Amazin’ Avenue, in case you haven’t noticed. We’re honoring the captain every single way we can. Personally, though, one of the ways that I honor athletes best is by making making a bunch of clones of them in video games and seeing what happens.
My colleague, Steve Sypa, gave me the wonderful idea a few weeks back to do this with Wright, and create an “All-Wright” team full of Wright clones in MLB: The Show. And frankly, there’s no better way I can think of to send the captain off than to simulate some nonsense in a video game and write about it for other people to read and judge me for the amount of time I spent on this. So let’s do it.
How it will work
I could have simply created a team of 25 Wright clones just to see what happened, but I decided to do things a little differently this time. For this simulation, the entire pitching staff will be left completely alone. I’m not touching them at all. Instead, I’m going to create a team that only has 14 Wright clones, and they’re all going to be position players. The team will have 14 position players and 11 pitchers (don’t worry; they’ll be fine).
But it won’t just be one identical clone of Wright 13 times over. Instead, I will leave the game-issued, current version of Wright alone, and surround him with 13 other clones. Each of the other clones will represent a different season in Wright’s career, from 2004 to 2016. Each clone will possess a skillset that represents Wright’s skillset in the assigned season. So for example, the 2007 Wright has the skillset of an MVP-caliber player, and is faster and more agile than the 2016 clone of Wright, who is older, slower, and not contending for the MVP award.
In addition, I will assign each clone different positions based on their skillsets. Basically, this means younger versions of Wright will get the more athletic positions while his older clones will get the less physically-demanding ones. That said, the current, untouched 2018 Wright gets to stay at third base, and he will start there as much as possible.
The clones will be distinguished by the number they wear, with the 2004 clone wearing number four, the 2006 clone wearing number 6, the 2010 clone wearing number ten, and so on. The only ones that deviated from this setup were the real Wright, who got to keep number five, the 2005 Wright, who can’t also wear number five so he was assigned 25 instead, and the 2014 Wright, who can’t wear Gil Hodges’s retired number 14 so he was given number 24 instead.
Here is a brief table outlining each Wright clone’s overall skill and the position he plays:
The David Wrights
|Clone Year||Position||Overall (out of 99)|
|Clone Year||Position||Overall (out of 99)|
|2005||Starting Right Fielder||82|
|2006||Starting Second Baseman||89|
|2008||Starting Center Fielder||91|
|2012||Starting Left Fielder||95|
|2013||Starting First Baseman||97|
|2015||Backup Third Baseman||73|
|2016||Backup Second Baseman||74|
|2018*||Starting Third Baseman*||76|
Obviously not everything is perfect there, but I tried my best.
The first half of the season
The Wrights begin their quest to experience the thrill of raising a World Series trophy, something Wright never got the opportunity to do in real life. Here’s a look at the lineup they will trot out there this season:
Some minor quibbles could be had, like moving David Wright up to second in favor of dropping David Wright a few spots. You could also argue that David Wright serves much better as a cleanup hitter than David Wright, but I’d argue giving David Wright and David Wright the two most at-bats on the team is never a bad thing. Plus, even if it doesn’t pan out, the team is stacked with a bunch of other options, including David Wright and David Wright.
The season begins. Equipped with at least three MVP-caliber hitters, several other solid players, and a pitching staff headlined by Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, the Mets come absolutely flying out of the gates. They win their first nine games, and then 11 more in a row after that. They’re 21-1 in their first 22 games, and finish April with a ridiculous 25-3 record.
After one month, five Wright clones have OPS’s over 1.000. Two of these, interestingly enough, are the 2015 and 2009 iterations of Wright, who weren’t exactly the best of the bunch here.
Fast forward to the All-Star break now, and the team is parked atop the NL East with an astounding 66-29 record; they sit 8.5 games up on the 58-38 Nationals. Unfortunately though, many of the Wright clones have cooled off considerably. Nobody has an OPS over 1.000 anymore. The 2007 and 2008 clones are the best hitters on the team, with OPS’s of .986 and .975, respectively. There are no Wrights in the running for the MVP voting, though the 2007 Wright leads the league with a 5.2 WAR. I don’t know how MLB: The Show calculates WAR, but 2007 Wright has been the best at whatever they put into their formula.
Some other notable performances to this point include 2009 Wright, who has an .871 OPS. 2011 Wright, interestingly enough, has an .885 OPS, while the 2006, 2004, and 2013 iterations are severely disappointing, with the first two OPSing under .700 to this point, and the 2013 clone having a measly .765 OPS despite being one of the more well-rounded players on the team. Most amazingly, though, the current, 2018 version of Wright has a .277/.380/.437 line with 10 homers.
There are also no Wrights in the Home Run Derby, and the only two who even made the All-Star game were the 2007 and 2008 clones. The 2007 Wright starts at leadoff and goes 1-for-3. The 2008 clone did not even play in the game.
The second half of the season
Having built such a comfortable lead in the first half of the year, the Mets cruise to the NL East title in the second. Here’s a look at the final standings:
Yes, the Mets finish with 108 wins; the same win total of the 1986 Mets, the best team in franchise history. The Nats somehow almost snuck up on them at the end, but nothing was ever really in danger.
As far as the individual performances go, nobody on the team was in the conversation for MVP, though the 2007 Wright finished 3rd in WAR. Here’s a look at how every single Wright did:
The Wrights’ results
The 2006 Wright is easily the biggest disappointment, followed by the 2013 clone, who had an extremely pedestrian season. The biggest surprises wound up being 2011 and 2018, and the fact that the “real” 2018 Wright had such a good season is the best story to come out of this.
The composite team batting line for the season is .272/.357/.438. This is noticeably worse than Wright’s career batting line of .296/.376/.491. I think the disappointment of the 2013 and 2006 Wrights really dragged this number down, and the 2012 Wright didn’t quite live up to his assigned skillset, either. As a team they stole 157 bases, knocked in 736 RBI, and hit 194 home runs. Those are all also lower, but not actually that far off from Wright’s career totals in those categories. The team’s composite sample size was obviously smaller than Wright’s career sample size.
Also, look who won Cy Young:
19 wins. It’s amazing what happens when you get run support.
In the NLDS, the Mets face their first test of the postseason: the Washington Nationals. Now, the Nationals, mind you, have never won a playoff series. It would be a shame if their first ever playoff series victory came against the Mets and the All-Wright team.
The Mets take Game 1 of the series in a walk, 7-1, but then drop the next two games by scores of 7-4 and 5-1. The Mets and their gang of Wrights are at the brink now, down 2-1 in the series, and facing elimination. However, this is still the Washington Nationals, who have never won a playoff series. Have I mentioned that already? I may have brought that up earlier, but I can’t remember. So I just want to make sure I got it in here that the Nationals have never won a playoff series before.
Game 4 goes scoreless into the eighth inning, with Steven Matz and Gio Gonzalez matching zeroes. But with two outs in the eighth inning, the Wrights load the bases for the 2007 clone, the best hitter on the team. With the fate of the entire series potentially riding on this at bat, he laces a base hit into center field, scoring two runs on a hit so poetically similar to Wright’s real-life base hit in Game 1 of the 2015 NLDS.
The Wrights take a 2-0 lead, and Jeurys Familia—still with the Mets here—closes it out to send it to a Game 5 at Citi Field, where deGrom is set to take the mound against Aaron Nola, who the Nats apparently traded for.
deGrom unsurprisingly dominates in Game 5, striking out 10 over eight one-run innings, while the Wrights give him four runs to work with. Familia locked it down, and the Mets took Game 5 and the series, 4-2. The Nationals lose another playoff series.
The Mets move on to face the Dodgers in the NLCS. They drop the first two games, but rattle off the next four in a row to win the pennant and get David Wright and all of his clones back to the World Series where the Mets and their army of Wrights will take on the Cleveland Indians.
In Game 1, the Wrights give deGrom three runs, and he exits with a 3-1 lead. However, the bullpen cannot hold the lead and gives up five runs, four of them charged to Jerry Blevins. The Mets drop the opening game.
The Wrights bounce back, though, and take Game 2 by a score of 1-0, with 2007 Wright driving in the only run. Game 3 is another loss, this time by a score of 5-2, after Blevins blew it with four runs in the eighth inning again. The Mets also drop Game 4, giving the Indians a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Mets and the Wrights were, once again, pushed to the brink. And the Mets’ bullpen blowing multiple late leads in the World Series is a hauntingly familiar sight.
They send deGrom back to the hill in Game 5 and emerge victorius by a score of 6-1. They also take Game 6 by a score of 5-4, tying the series at 3-3, and sending it to a decisive Game 7 at Citi Field.
The Mets give Zack Wheeler the start, and the Indians counter with Corey Kluber. Wheeler surrenders three in the first, but true to character, the Wrights persevered. They answer back with three of their own in the bottom half, and push across a fourth run in the second to take a 4-3 lead. Wheeler settles down until the sixth, when he gives up two runs, propelling Cleveland back in front, 5-4.
On offense, the Wrights can’t do much in the middle innings. Kluber settles down as well, and he stifles the Wrights after that second inning. The game goes into the eighth with the Indians still leading 5-4. The Wrights only have six outs left in this World Series. It’s do-or-die time. This is the type of situation where Wright has always shined in his career. Can his clones replicate that?
2009 Wright pinch hits with one out in the eighth, and notches a single. That turns the lineup over for the best player on the team, 2007 Wright. There really is no other player you want up in this spot. This is the best chance right here. He works the count to 2-1. And then he gets a fastball.
And he hits the most David Wright home run that there’s ever been: a clutch, go-ahead homer in a huge moment to right-center field. Wright has always had a sense of the moment. He’s always come through. He’s always overcome. You didn’t actually think they’d lose, did you?
The Mets win the World Series. The Wrights get to celebrate a World Series victory. David Wright gets a ring. Well, 14 of them actually, and he deserves every single one of them. The World Series MVP fittingly went to Wright’s 2006 clone, who represents the season where he probably should have won a ring more than any other.
Alright, I have to level with all of you now. After a team wins a World Series in this game, they show a shot of one of the players holding up the World Series trophy, surrounded by his jubilant teammates. I was hoping when this team won they would show Wright hoisting the trophy while surrounded by all of his Wright clones, so that I could capture that Kodak moment and give you all a touching image and a feel-good takeaway from all of this. But I didn’t get that. I didn’t even get deGrom. Or Wheeler. Or Syndergaard. Or even Familia.
Paul Sewald. I got Paul Sewald. MLB: The Show decided that Paul Sewald was the best choice for this seminal image. So please enjoy that image of the world champion New York Mets, saddled with 14 different versions of David Wright, huddling around the World Series trophy that’s being hoisted by their true leader, Paul Sewald. Video games are weird.