Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Expecting big bounce from Mets' Wright
How unprecedented was David Wright's power outage last season? As Eric Seidman writes, literally unprecedented:
Wright hit 10 home runs last year in what was, for all intents and purposes, a full season of playing time. That's right, 10! After averaging 29 dingers per season from 2005-08, Wright’s bopping of just 10 long balls would be akin to Ichiro batting .264, Roy Halladay posting 4.47 ERA, or the Royals acquiring a batter whose OBP exceeds .319. It just isn’t bloody likely, and it can drive fans batty searching for causes. Was it the new Citi Field and its dimensions (not likely, as park effects would account for a dropoff of, at most, three or four homers)? A change in swing mechanics or in hitting philosophy? A lingering injury? Or, perhaps, a decision to mail it in until Omar Minaya signed more backup catchers? Whatever the cause, it was particularly peculiar that he sustained talent in the midst of being sapped for power, as Wright hit .307/.390, a BA and OBP virtually identical to his PECOTA forecast, but with a .447 SLG that more closely resembled what one might expect from teammates Daniel Murphy or Fernando Tatis.
The actual 2010 projection pegs Wright’s weighted mean at .313/.415/.541, compared to the 2009 projection of 2010 which had him at .305/.405/.543. Simply put, PECOTA is very bullish on Wright moving forward and appears to be dismissing his 2009 power output, thinking it to be immaterial to what Wright is capable of moving forward. The anti-Brady Anderson in every sense of the term, there are few reasons to expect Wright to continue last year’s putrid power output. Something definitely happened last season to cause such a vast decrease, but searching through the annals of history reveals very, very few comparables from even a broad perspective, indicating that his 2009 campaign was not only anomalous, but literally unprecedented.
In all likelihood, fans a decade from now will look back at his 10-homer season as a blip on an otherwise fantastic career consisting of many more 30-plus dinger years, and in a few weeks, when live regular-season baseball once again occupies our time and Wright looks like the player of years past, few will even think about what happened last season.
Obviously, before dismissing Seidman's prediction you should RTWA.
I expect a big year out of Wright, too.
There's another way to look at this, though. If something literally unprecedented happens, shouldn't we at least consider the possibility that our usual models don't tell us what we want to know?
I believe in the projection, too. But probably not with quite as much conviction as I would if Wright's 2009 season, you know, precedented.