The (David) Wright kind of 'Met'rics
July, 9, 2012
By Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information
Getty Images/Nick LahamDavid Wright can look ahead to the second half knowing the first half was MVP caliber.
There are a lot of ways to twist the numbers when looking at the first half of David Wright’s 2012 season.
But our favorite is the one in the chart on the right. Since the All-Star Game divided the season into two chunks in 1933, there have been 16 instances in which a New York City baseball player racked up 250 plate appearances, a .350 batting average and a 1.000 OPS.
They didn’t know about OPS back in the days of Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, or Duke Snider, but New York baseball fans knew a special season when they had one.
Those numbers have only been achieved by the most beloved of ballplayers to come through these parts (Willie Mays didn't hit them until the Giants moved to San Francisco).
Three Yankees have had a first half like that since the Mets inception in 1962, but no Met had until 2012.
Wright became the first.
What else was special about Wright’s first half? Read on …
Playing the Percentages
Wright finished with the second-highest batting average (.351), second-highest on-base percentage (.441) and third-highest OPS (1.004) at the break in Mets history.
He was beaten out only by Jose Reyes (.354 batting average last season) and John Olerud (.450 on-base percentage 1999) in the first two categories, along with Mike Piazza (1.107 OPS in 2000) and Todd Hundley (1.046 OPS In 1997) in the latter category.
Wright also matched the Mets mark for most seasons with a .400 on-base percentage prior to All-Star Break. This was his second, surpassing his .410 in 2009. Edgardo Alfonzo, Olerud and Darryl Strawberry each also had two. Olerud was just short of a third in 1997, finishing at .398.
Double Your Pleasure
Wright finished the first half with 27 doubles. That’s tied with Kazuo Matsui (2004) for second-most at the break in Mets history, trailing only Carlos Beltran’s 28 last season.
Wright also had 40 extra-base hits, the fourth time he hit that mark as a Met (he’s had as many as 45 in 2006). That’s the most instances in club history, snapping the mark he shared with Beltran.
Wright finished the first half with 19 go-ahead RBI, tied with Keith Hernandez (1985) and Alfonzo (2000) for third-most by a Met prior to the break.
The two with more: Bernard Gilkey had 24 in 1996 and Olerud had 20 in 1997.
The single-season mark is 36, set by Hernandez. Wright's career-best is 33 in 2007.
Best among Mets?
Where does Wright’s first half rank among the top offensive first halves in Mets history?
Statistician Bill James devised a runs created metric to gauge a player’s offensive value, looking at all facets of offensive ability.
By his formula, Wright created 69 first-half runs, and a lineup of nine David Wright’s would score 8.7 runs per 27 outs.
That’s the third-best first half by a Met, trailing the Piazza (10.4 in 2000) and Hundley (9.4 in 1997) seasons that beat him out for best OPS, and just ahead of the Olerud season (8.6 in 1999) that edged him out for top OPS.
However, given Wright's advantages over Piazza and Hundley on the defensive side and the significant difference in offense in this era compared to the late 1990s/early 2000s, we have no problem with someone who wants to proclaim his half the best first half in Mets history.
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