While the New York Mets look to slowly rise out of an early rut, their captain with the question marks continues to answer.
Everyone and their mothers know: The New York Mets are off to a disappointing start in 2016.
Although the team sits with a 3-5 record through their first eight games, their sub-par play so far has been sprinkled with a couple of silver linings.
For one, there’s been the pure dominance of 23-year-old ace-on-the-rise Noah Syndergaard. Through two starts, he leads the MLB in strikeouts, with 21, and currently has a 0.69 ERA.
Still, there’s been one familiar face whose play has arguably been the biggest surprise and most promising, thus far, even outweighing the dynamic Thor.
That man is David Wright.
That’s right, the man who was by far the biggest question mark heading into a season filled with monumental goals and expectations, has been the biggest surprise (for the better) of this young season.
Missing all of four months last season after being diagnosed with the degenerative back condition known as Spinal Stenosis, many questioned whether the Captain could ever regain his form of year’s past.
In 2012, Wright posted a stunning season, delivering a .306 batting average, with 21 home runs and 93 RBI. In turn, the Mets organization rewarded the face of the franchise with an eight-year, $138 million contract in the winter of that year.
During his 12-year tenure in the Big Apple, the seven-time All-Star has filled his trophy case with two Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. Not to mention, he owns nearly every batting record in the Mets All-Time Rankings.
Wright is atop the leaderboards in runs scored (934), hits (1,753), total bases (2,895), doubles (385), RBI (956), and the list goes on.
The man even leads the team in career Hit-by-pitch (45). He truly does it all.
Lest we forget, he even appeases the Mets Nation-Mothers, like my own, with his infectious smile.
If you haven’t realized by now, Wright is as much of a Met-lifer as Tom ‘Terrific’ Seaver was decades ago (we’ll choose to forget those few Cincinnati Reds years). Therefore, it fantastic to see the Captain off to such a great start.
Speaking of that start, Wright’s played in 7 of 8 Mets games so far; great news, considering the back condition. He’s hitting .280 (7-for-25), with three doubles, and no home runs. He hasn’t hit above .300 since batting .307 in 2013, and that’s completely fine.
At his point in time, with the massive contract handed to him four years ago, there’s no way Wright can be expected to live up to the millions upon millions he’s due to make.
He doesn’t need to hit .300, but he does need to be a catalyst for this team, hitting in the two-hole, because he’s the franchise face of a blossoming Mets’ baseball machine. He’s the veteran and he’s the Captain.
Hopefully, the power will eventually return…maybe he’ll hit 10 this year, which he hasn’t done since 2013 when he sent 18 out of the park.
So, that’s the good news. Wright may not have an RBI yet, but he’s certainly showing signs of life, something Mets fans need a heavy dose of.
The single most impressive aspect of this seven-game ‘tear’ for Wright is his .438 on-base percentage, which measures how often a player reaches base. In 25 at-bats, he’s walked nine times, already.
If sustained, which, granted is unlikely, the .438 OBP would be a career high for the Cap.
Additionally, it would be only the second time in his historic career that David posted a +.400 OBP since the good ole’ days of the collapsing 2007 Mets.
His .416 OBP that year, coupled with 30 home runs and 107 RBI demonstrated the MVP caliber ability Wright once had. Nevertheless, nine years later, those days are long gone.
Yeah, his .280 average isn’t incredible, but his ability to get on base consistently during these rough times are, no doubt, the highlight of the first two weeks of Mets baseball.
Overall, while the team struggles, he’s churning the machine onward exactly like a captain should.
Not to mention, he’s saying all the right things. Speaking to ESPN’s Adam Rubin in a postgame presser, discussing the Mets slow start, Wright said:
“Guys are upset when we lose. But, when you look at the big picture of things, we’re still trying to get our feet under us at the beginning of the season…It’s baseball, and, when you play this long season, you’re going to go into some ruts where, for a couple of days, you just don’t play as well as we’re supposed to play.”
Well, Captain, you’re playing just fine.
In short, if Wright can sustain his play over the course of 162 games – of which he’s expected to play around 130 – the New York Mets, with their No. 2 hitter back on track, can reach their goals and accomplishments put forth as the regular season began.
The Captain deserves his first World Series title, wants his first World Series title, and he’s going to do everything in his power to deliver his first World Series title.