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Friday, November 30, 2012
Wright's revival pays off, but was it real?

By ESPN Stats & Information


Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
David Wright's performance over the last few seasons has been up and down, but the Mets still rewarded him with reportedly the richest contract in team history.

According to sources, the New York Mets and third baseman David Wright have agreed to a deal that would be the largest in team history, surpassing the six-year, $137.5M contract given to Johan Santana.

He joins Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman as third basemen to recently receive contracts of at least $100M to stay with their original clubs.

But now the question shifts to whether Wright will be able to live up to that contract.

Wright is arguably the Mets' greatest position player ever. He’s already the franchise all-time leader in runs, hits, doubles, RBIs and wins above replacement.

He also brings a unique blend of speed, power and on-base ability to the hot corner. Wright has had six seasons with at least 20 home runs, 15 stolen bases and a .350 OBP. In the Live Ball Era (since 1920), that’s the most such seasons by a third baseman, with Alex Rodriguez in second with five, and Mike Schmidt third with four.

Last season, Wright put himself in the MVP discussion with 6.7 wins above replacement, ranking him fourth in the National League among position players.

However, despite his resurgence in 2012, Wright’s performance has still dropped in the last four seasons, compared to 2005-08, his first four full seasons in the majors, when Wright’s average season was a .311 BA, 29 HR and 112 RBIs. The chart at the right shows how his performance has dipped since his breakout.

Even last season, Wright’s performance dropped off considerably after the All-Star Break.

In the first half of the season, Wright had a .351 BA and a 1.004 OPS. But after the break, Wright batted .258 with a .750 OPS, and saw both his strikeout rate rise and his walk rate drop.

The biggest reason for the drop in performance was Wright’s propensity for chasing pitches out of the strike zone. In the first half, Wright chased 18 percent of pitches out of the strike zone, but that number grew to 25 percent in the second half.

Still, his 6.7 WAR over the entire season tied him for seventh in all of baseball among position players, and was the third time in his career that he had a WAR at least that high.
However, in the three seasons preceding 2012, Wright’s WAR was a 2.9 or lower, ranking him outside the top 75 position players in all of baseball.

Wright's deal will reportedly keep him in a Mets uniform through at least 2020, but what Wright will be on the field remains in question.