Wednesday, March 07, 2007

David Wright's 2006 Playoffs Houdini Impression

In October, I mentioned that the responsibility for the Mets untimely playoff failure fell on the shoulders of none other then David Wright. Not saying he's a choker, not saying he sucks, not saying I want him run out of town. He's a fantastic player. A leader. Good defensively. Willing to walk, dive, slide, and get on base by any means. Moves runners. Hits to the opposite field. Clutch.

However, this October, he stunk. I said so. People disagreed. Well, here's an article by Bob Klapisch which discusses Wright's performance in October. Draw your own conclusions:

Instead, they're counting on Wright to be the hitting machine who had 20
HRs and 74 RBIs in the first half of the 2006 season. An All-Star at the age of
23, Wright had the can't-miss credentials of someone preparing for a long,
uninterrupted run of stardom in New York.

But then came the All-Star break -- and, specifically, the Home Run Derby -- and Wright was evicted from Olympus. He hit just six HRs in his final 243 at-bats, and was uncharacteristically vulnerable in October, too, batting just .160 in the NL Championship Series against the Cardinals.

In fact, while it appeared the Mets were doomed when they lost Pedro
and Orlando Hernandez in the postseason, it was Wright's untimely slump that sabotaged them.

What exactly went wrong? Scouts say Wright became vulnerable to
sliders down and away, chasing pitches out of the strike zone. There's a fine
line between an aggressive swing and one that's fueled by panic; Wright crossed
the line as October's pressure mounted. One bird dog who watched Wright during
the Cardinals series described him as "tight as a drum."

Wright didn't disagree. "Next time, I'll know how to control my emotions better and
relax," Wright said. "Everything is under a microscope in the postseason, and it's easy to get carried away. I definitely got too excited."

That's hardly a sin for a player who debuted at the age of 21 and became a bona fide star in just two summers. Sometimes it's hard to believe Wright is still so young; he
looks and acts like a veteran who understands the challenges of being a big city