New York Mets third baseman David Wright had been his franchise’s cornerstone for the first five and a half years of his career entering last summer. He was hitting .324 on August 15 last year when he was hit in the head by a 94 mph fastball from San Francisco Giants starter Matt Cain.
Wright was immediately taken to the hospital and was diagnosed with post-concussion symptoms and went on the disabled list for the first time in his career. Despite the severity of the injury he was activated from the DL on September 1. Since that day Wright has hit just .253.
The 27-year-old Wright has been visibly frustrated by his performance thus far in 2010 and that boiled over into an uncharacteristic ejection in the Mets’ 6-5 loss to the Giants on Sunday. It’s visibly obvious to anyone who watches Wright hit that he’s not comfortable at the plate. A guy for who things came so naturally to for so long is now completely out of his comfort zone in the batter’s box.
In his blog today, Buster Olney reveals that scouts are noticing that Wright “is flinching at breaking pitches, a tendency that they believe started after Wright was beaned last summer.”
Teams are starting to bust Wright in with hard stuff, believing that he’s still suffering from the memory of Cain’s gas to the dome last summer.
To compare, before he was hit by Cain Wright had these numbers in 2009: .324 average, eight home runs, 55 RBI, 65 walks, and 105 strikeouts in 426 at bats. Since then his numbers look like this: .253 average, nine home runs, 39 RBI, 33 walks and 76 strikeouts in 217 at bats. He’s currently third in the league in strikeouts, far higher than he’s ever been before. At his current pace, he’ll strikeout 213 times this season. Last year he K’d a career-high 140 times, his previous high was 118.
His current numbers aren’t awful for your average major league player, but Wright was (and probably still is) a superstar. He was one of the best players in baseball before the incident last summer and it’ll be interesting to see if this is something that haunts him for the rest of his career or if he can overcome it and return to his former self.