By: Joe Messineo

Don’t Look Now, But David Wright is Finally Back


For a while there, it looked like David Wright was done. He’s been an injury risk for half a decade now, bouncing in and out of the lineup with all sorts of problems. And this year, it was worse than ever. It started when Wright injured his hamstring while stealing a base in April. The Mets put Wright on the 15-day disabled list: a bad start to the season for him, but not the end of the world.

Everything Wrong With David Wright

Then, the bombshell came: David Wright was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. In some forms, spinal stenosis can be a career-ending injury. David Wright, at 32 years old, was expected to miss most of the season. Would he come back at all?

And even if he did come back, how would he hit? Because of Wright’s health problems, projecting his performance has been difficult for years. His aging would explain the downward trend in his statistics, but how much did his injuries exaggerate his decline? Wright has continued to hit for average, but he went from topping or flirting with 30 home runs in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010 to struggling to reach the teens and twenties from 2011 on.

The Mets were reportedly considering trading for a third baseman before the deadline. Could this mean that Wright was done for good?

The Return

The Mets picked up Juan Uribe as a temporary solution, but they made no permanent change at third base. Their confidence was rewarded. Remarkably, Wright was able to battle back from spinal stenosis. He returned to the Mets lineup in late August, and in his first at-bat, he crushed a home run. Mets fans hoped it was a sign of things to come.

The immediate returns weren’t amazing, however. Wright took 26 at bats before the month was up, and he ended August with a .269/.367/.752 slash line. The debut homer was his only extra-base hit in the month. That was okay with Mets fans: they had Yoenis Cespedes now, and Wright just needed to be decent, not the superstar.

The Resurgence

David Wright used to be all that Mets fans had to talk about. Now, thanks to Cespedes, great young pitching, and a National League East division championship, Wright can operate with a bit less scrutiny. But he’s been quietly building back up to a player that fans might recognize from the late 2000s.

In September, Wright hit a stronger .299/.396/.283. He hit seven doubles and three homers, and he showed strength in the field that belied his injury history. Wright’s September was better than his August in nearly every category: batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, extra-base hits (per at-bat), and RBIs (per at-bat). And he’s only getting better: in every one of those categories, he’s been better in the past seven days than he was in September.

Sure, these aren’t huge sample sizes, but the progress has to be very encouraging for Mets fans. Wright is getting hot at just the right time, and his play has proven that he’s made a full recovery from his earlier injuries. If he can stay healthy, he may be able to prove that it was his injuries, and not a decline in his skills, that have been holding him back for the past few years.

About Joe Messineo

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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