QUEENS, NY — New York Mets slugging third baseman David Wright has donated more than 50 bats to charity after deciding he had no need for them.
The three-time All Star, speaking exclusively to Fantasy Hardball: a bloop and a blast – said he would rather donate them to a good home than carry them from Major League city to city.
Clubhouse officials insist the decision was made solely by Wright, while fans across the country are speculating on his future with the team.
David Wright is currently 23/82 with 27 strikeouts to start the 2009 campaign. He’s on pace for a record 161 Ks and he is said to be embarassed by not being able to perform to his previous heights.
Wright has never whiffed more than 118 time in his big-league career, so to see him leaving his bat on his shoulder so often is strange.
Wright said: “I thought it was only [Dustin] Pedroia who couldn’t hit the high and inside fastball. But I guess not.
“I don’t really know what is the matter with me at the minute. I tried swinging at the beachball in BP on Wednesday before the Marlins game, but I was late on it and kept shanking it foul.
“Jerry Manuel told me to shorten up my stroke, to choke up a little, but then I was too early on it. I kept pulling it foul. I mean c’mon, how do you pull a 12mph beachball foul?”
He clearly doesn’t need his bat, so Fantasy Hardball found some uses for it.
He could recreate the famous NYC skyline…
Take up the oboe…
AFTER a pair of September collapses, Mets fans can be forgiven for thinking they need to have a playoff spot in the bag by July.
But why all the panic when the Mets are underperforming after a fortnight? Yes, every game counts, but really this is glorified spring training with real-life wins and losses on the line.
Nobody wants to lose any game, but the reaction of some Mets fans has been surprising.
They have been criticising the front office for only improving the bullpen; bemoaning our corner outfielders; calling for immediate change.
Everyone realises that the Mets need to work on the back of their rotation, on getting another left-handed middle reliever and a reliable backstop. But now is not the time to be overly critical.
While we have not started as hot as the Marlins, we’re also nowhere near as bad as the Nationals
There are going to be statistical pros and cons after so few pieces of 2009 information, so here’s a few bits that I’ve gleaned.
The Mets have the fifth best batting average in the bigs at .283 but they are in the bottom quarter of teams in terms of the number of runs (61) and RBI (57)
Only the Giants and Athletics have hit fewer home runs and only four teams have attempted fewer stolen bases.
Yes, it’s a small sample size – 467 at bats compared to the 5,606 they had in 2008 – but even at this early stage there are obvious variances to last season’s campaign.
Last year, the Mets ranked in the top half of all Major League teams in homers and RBI and only three teams attempted more stolen bases.
And just for those who are counting, the last time the Mets were three games below .500 was after a June 12 extra inning loss to the Diamondback.
The Mets are drawing walks and avoiding the strikeout. The team’s 11.2 per cent walk rate is the third best in the National League and its strikeout rate is fourth best in the NL and sixth overall.
One caveat to these statistics – other than the fact that we are only in the third week of a 25-week season – is that the Mets have had an above-average of batted balls fall for hits. (.324 is the fourth ‘luckiest’ in the Majors).
Expect the Mets team batting average to reduce towards that of 2008 when this anomoly corrects itself, as it invariably will
So the Mets are putting the ball in play and putting a lot of runners on base. With an above-average batting average and walk rate and a miserly strikeout percentage, it is clear that the Mets are winning half the battle. The problem has been driving these runners in.
So, are there any scapegoats? David Wright is being blamed for the Mets offensive failures and I don’t think that’s fair.
Firstly, it’s waaaay too early to be blaming supposed below-par performances. Secondly, Wright is not the main problem. Just because he is the poster child of the franchise, not everything that is either good or bad necessarily has to be pinned to him.
Yes, David has struggled with the high fastball and yes, he has had a ridculous amount of infield hits. He left another man in scoring position today (he’s 3/11 with risp), but there is nothing to suggest any of these trends will continue.
The good news is that he is drawing walks and getting on base. The bad news is that he has struck out 16 times already through April 22.
Last year he fanned 16 times in March and April combined. Wright’s eye is good though and his plate discipline is rock steady – the problem is his bat speed isn’t where it needs to be right now.
Only Luis Castillo has swung at fewer pitches outside the zone than Wright and only Murphy has seen fewer first-pitch strikes.
You want somebody to blame?
How about Fernando Tatis who is 0/8 or the catchers’ spot where Brian Schneider, Ramon Castro and Omir Santos are 9/49 (.183).
Other than Johan, the pitching has not been amazing, but that’s a rant for another day.
Off all the games the Mets have lost, none have been more than by three runs. It’s only a matter of time before the Mets start tearing up the division. Just have a little faith and get behind the boys.