Little has been said of David Wright‘s rather pedestrian spring training so far, but as a career .301 hitter over ten years, he has obviously earned that indifference. That won’t be so during the regular season though. The upcoming 2014 campaign comes with heavy expectations placed on David Wright’s high-salaried shoulders. After all, the Mets have a right to expect a return on their investment. And, whether justified or unfairly, money and productivity almost always get linked together.
David Wright, 31, can certainly benefit from a change of fortune. Various injuries have plagued him during his prime. He was already on the long road back from what started out as a down 2009 season, which ended with a scary beaning and concussion.
He bounced back well in 2010, but what followed was an injury riddled 2011 campaign. All things considered, his 2012 season was widely regarded as triumphant comeback. He made 670 plate appearances, and in 581 official at-bats hit 21 home runs and had 93 RBI. Last year, Wright’s season was again cut short by injury, but he still managed 430 at-bats, and hit 18 home runs.
This year, both he and the Mets are no doubt trying to change their narratives. While 2015 is increasingly looking like the season of more realistic contention, 2014 is still being projected as the year in which the Mets started turning the corner. A healthy David Wright lies at the heart of that. He will not only be trying to put recent troubles behind him, and helping get the Mets turned around, you can bet he’ll be trying to recapture a measure of personal lost glory as well.
In light of Sandy Alderson’s offensive free agent acquisitions, and the newly gained line-up protection Curtis Granderson and Chris Young can potentially provide, murmurs abound that David Wright can, or should, contend for this year’s MVP award.
The highest consideration Wright ever achieved was 4th in 2007, and then in 2012 he placed 6th in the MVP race. In 2014, I would be thrilled with even a top three consideration. That would have meant Wright posted a very productive season. Above all, that’s my one, only, and true interest. But let’s entertain the notion, and ponder an MVP award. As the new owner of most Mets hitting records, who better to win the club’s first MVP?
At this point, recapturing 25+ home run levels is the only lingering question regarding David Wright. He has accomplished that five times in his career, but not since the 2010 season. In his defense, much of that can obviously be attributed to injuries. Even with his recent setbacks, David Wright still averages 26 home runs per season.
Otherwise, he is coming off posting back to back .300+ batting averages. Last year, he got his slugging average back over .500 after two sub par seasons, and also got his OPS back over .900 for the first time since the 2008 season.
I would include David Wright in a group of players capable of winning the National League triple crown. Such a feat would call for something resembling, or exceeding his 2007 and 2008 seasons, but at the same time, this could potentially be the best line-up he’s participated in since those days.
For truly great players, there should be little distinction between, say, their fourth and fourteenth seasons. By season’s end, and with a little luck, we could be marveling over David Wright’s 5th and 11th season comparisons.