Richard did a good job looking at the Mets (lack of) offseason moves through an optimistic prism, so let’s look at some players with our rose-colored glasses on, right? A lot has been made of David Wright‘s loss of power last year, but was it so bad? Maybe not.
First, let’s take on this idea that Citi Field stole his power. Sorry to be short, but it did not do any such thing. Consider the following picture. It shows all of Wright’s 2008 home runs on top of the Citi Field map. I’ll let you consider it for a second.
Thanks to Greg Rybarczyk and Hit Tracker Online for all of the information. See those three home runs inside the blue line that represents Citi Field? Yeah, Citi Field would have robbed David Wright of three home runs in 2008. Before last year, he averaged 29 home runs per full season. Take three a way, and you’re talking about a guy who could still put up 25 a season even in the tough environs.
So if it wasn’t Citi, what happened? It looks like Wright altered his batted ball profile for some reason. Maybe the loss of his high-profile teammates caused him to press.
Consider that his fly ball rate was the second-lowest of his career (35.9% last year, 38.9% career), and his his HR/FB rate was easily the lowest of his career (6.9% last year, 13.9% career). These things led to his career-low .140 ISO (.210 career).
All of this lack of power came despite having a normal ground ball rate (38.4% last year, 37.5% career), and the same always-stellar line drive rate (25.7% last year, 23.6% career). So he was still hitting frozen ropes, they just weren’t going in the air. Maybe Citi Field did get to him – psychologically. On the other hand, he didn’t reach more than normal (21.5% last year, 20.1% career), so he wasn’t pressing too hard.
So what can we conclude? His walk rates didn’t change, and his line drive rates were still stellar. He just didn’t hit the ball in the air and struck out a little more than usual (26.2% last year, 20.1% career). Perhaps he didn’t hit an early home run that would have settled him into his normal routine. Perhaps he was trying to hit double after double to make up for the absence of Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. Perhaps it was a bad year.
But it still looks like Wright is the line-drive hitting, base-stealing, all-around excellent third baseman we thought he was. So don’t count out the power just yet. And don’t blame it all on Citi Field.