We have already established that the New York Mets have enough young talent to be successful in the next few years. In my last post, I discussed the impact that Johan Santana, Jon Niese, and Matt Harvey will have on the Mets in the upcoming season. But what about the New York offense? Any question you have regarding the Amazins' offense can be answered with two words: David Wright.
The all star third baseman has set numerous offensive franchise records in his time with the Mets. Wright holds the Mets' club record for career RBIs (818), doubles (321), total bases (2,376), runs scored (783), hits (1,426), extra base hits (541), times on base (1,993), runs created (929), and walks (613). Wow.
How much of the Mets' offense is impacted by Wright's presence season-by-season, though?
We all know that 2006 was the last time New York reached the postseason. Wright appeared in 154 games that season and recorded a .311 batting average (his second best of all time). Wright scored 96 runs while driving in another 116. Wright was supported by a cast of offensive machines during the Mets' magical run to the NLCS in '06. Carols Beltran and Delgado, Jose Reyes, and Paul Lo Duca provided a pretty hefty boost to the Mets line up.
Wright's 2011 season was cut short by a stress fracture in his lower back. The Mets' biggest offensive threat played in just 102 games that season. He scored 60 runs and drove in 61. Without Jose Reyes to pick up the slack, the Mets offense would have been completely doomed. The Mets finished at 77-85 in 2011 and failed to reach the postseason. 2011 was one of the worst seasons in a while for New York, largely in part to Wright's injury.
Now, things are different. Wright doesn't have the same cast of characters to work with. No more Beltran. No more Delgado. No more Reyes. Outside of first baseman Ike Davis, there's no one in the Mets' line up that makes an opposing pitcher cringe.
In 2012, David Wright appeared in 156 games. He racked up 670 plate appearances and 581 at bats. In addition to the 91 runs that Wright scored, he drove in 93. The Mets' offensive accounted for 650 runs in 2012. David Wright, theoretically, was responsible for about 28% of those.
Granted, Wright's numbers were not the best last season. Wright drove in 124 runs in 2008 (a career high) and also scored 115 times (also a career high). The Mets' put up 799 runs that season; Wright accounted for nearly 30% of those.
The moral of the story: when David Wright succeeds, the rest of the offense succeeds.
A large majority of the success that New York is destined for lies within the hands of David Wright. Number five is forced to produce big numbers if the Mets' want to have any kind of success. It's not always about the long ball, it's about producing runs and outscoring opponents. David Wright is clutch, he's young, and he's strong. He needs to come through if New York is going to have any chance at a playoff spot.
During the offseason, Wright signed a mega contract extension that pretty much guarantees he will be a Met for life. It's time for him to earn that contract. Wright needs to put up a batting average of at least .300, drive in over 100 runs, and hit at least 25 homeruns. Is that asking too much? I don't think so.
In my next blog, I will analyze the impact that Terry Collins has had on this Mets team since taking over the managerial position. Until then, follow me on twitter and check back here at MLBInsideTheNumbers.com for more.