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Wright Man For The Job

Yes, I know that everyone may be talking about the Most Valuable Pedro today and that's fine, as I'm sure I'll have something to say about that in the near future. Today I'd rather talk about the Mets best chance at winning Most Valuable Player.

I hadn't really bought into the David Wright for MVP talk until the last week or so, but a few things (victories) have happened to change my mind. I took a closer look at the numbers and it got me to thinking that the Mets have a really good chance to have their first MVP winner.

The last two days, David Wright has hit go-ahead home runs and that prompted me to take a closer look at his 26 homers this season. What I found is that all 26 could be considered meaningful.

11 of the 26 snapped ties. Add the one he hit on Monday against Aaron Harang and you have 12 home runs that have given the Mets the lead. The other New York third baseman doesn't have that many go-ahead dingers and he's got a lot more to work with. Wright also has three other home runs that tied games, so that accounts for 15. But what of the other 11.

Seven of those increased a lead, but it wasn't like they increased a 6-run lead to 7 runs or anything like that. Each of these lucky 7 were hit with the Mets ahead by one or two runs, so Wright was the significant factor in trying to salt a game away.

That leaves us with four. Of those four.

One cut a 3-0 lead to 3-1, but it was only the 4th inning, so the Mets were very much in the game.

One cut a 4-0 lead to 4-2, in a game in which the Mets eventually beat the Cubs (see Carlos Delgado's walk-off walk).

One cut an 8-6 lead to 8-7 against the Tigers, in the 8th inning no less, so Wright increased the Mets chances of coming back significantly. They didn't, but that's besides the point.

And the other, cut a 7-4 Braves lead to 7-6 in the 9th inning, and would be a lot better remembered had Willie Harris not immediately robbed Carlos Delgado of a home run thereafter.

That's a pretty good register and we've still got a month to go.

Consider this as well. In August, we witnessed one of the great individual months in Mets history. In 28 games, David Wright had 39 hits and 26 walks. He scored 28 runs and drove in 21. His on-base percentage was a Bonds-esque .516.

In April, I wouldn't have thought we'd be having this discussion, not when he hit .244 with no home runs and six RBIs. I said to a Phillies fan at the end of the month that I was sure that Wright would come around.

"But what if he doesn't?" was the obnoxious reply. I like to think that moment (and not the head-shaving, after which MetsBlog notes he's hitting .340) turned Wright's karma around.

There are a couple of things that need to happen for Wright to win the MVP. Staying hot goes without saying, but some of the other factors are beyond his control.

* Silly as it sounds, he needs Jose Reyes to stay in the .290's. If Reyes cranks it up, and I have no objections to him doing so, back to .300, he's going to steal some of Wright's MVP votes.

* Those he doesn't steal will probably go to Prince Fielder or Jimmy Rollins, so it would help Wright immensely if the Brewers and Phillies don't make the playoffs.

* Lastly, Wright needs a knockout punch kind of moment, the kind Chipper had in that series against the Mets a few years back. There's one thing missing from Wright's statistical inventory, not just this season, but for his career. A walk-off home run would do wonders, particularly if it could come in one of those six meaningful games next week.


Anonymous said…
Nice research on this, Mark. The other thing that could help is for Utley to steal some of Rollins' MVP votes.
If the Mets win the division and the Phils miss the playoffs, though, Wright has a good chance, though.
-- Barry Federovitch
Anonymous said…
I just started taking this talk seriously today, which must be why David went 0-for-5.

One point of contention: The Phillies don't have to make the playoffs for Rollins to make off with the award. The voters are overly impressed with guys on teams that do more than expected. That's how playoffless Ryan Howard wrenched the MVP from Albert Pujols' hands last September (though it was that stupid fence in Houston that wrenched it from Carlos Beltran's hands at the beginning of the month). The Phillies, even if they don't go to the postseason, will be looked at, for some mysterious reason, as a feelgood story and Rollins will get amazing amounts of credit.

Wright needs a monster September to follow his better than I realized August. Prince Fielder has probably peaked in the voters' estimation. There's always a guy who's a lock early who tails off late. I'm thinking Pedro Guerrero as a prime example.

Wouldn't bother me one bit if Jose and Carlos B. and ten other Mets not so much stole David's thunder but spread it around. Come November it would be nice to see a Met WALK OFF (huh? huh?) with the MVP, but it would be way nicer to see it happen while hung over from several weeks of celebration.
Ceetar said…
g-fafif mentions Rollins, and I actually think Howard winning last year hurts him.

If the Brewers completely fail, I think Fielder does also. Probably the same with Colorado and Holliday.

Pujols is an issue if he gets the Cardinals into the playoffs, otherwise who knows. Cabrera and the Marlins? probably not.

He's obviously got to play well in September, but he can. (I also think he'll be getting revenge for his poor October last yaer)

I think one of those key walk-offs would help if he did it on a game televised by ESPN.

What is his biggest plus, that I don't know if most writers will realize, is that he's been amazingly consistent and well-rounded on a team that's been anything but.

He's also pretty much the leader of this team, he's the guy living and dying with them, watching the Cardinals get their rings, politely watching. Tipping his hat to Ralph Kiner while warming up in right field, the first one to congratulate Reyes and Castillo after a great DP. And he's willing to learn from his peers, I noticed him on third one day, playing Reyes trying to induce a balk. His increased stolen bases show that he's always willing to improve his game.

I actually think Reyes playing better will help Wright, because it'll increase his RBI total, and Reyes on the basepath distracts pitchers so that they throw worse pitchers.
Ceetar said…
damn, I wrote too much. I should really make my own post on this topic.
Anonymous said…
I can't remember an MVP vote that seems this wide open. If Rollins does little over the last three weeks and the Phils don't make the postseason, he may not get it. Utley's had a nice year too and could steal some votes.
Right now Rollins is ahead in RSC: 123-97. Wright is ahead in RBIs, 93-81. Rollins had 78 EXB hits compared to only 62 for Wright. Rollins is ahead by 50 bases in total bases, a big number.
If Wright finishes ahead in RBIs by more than 15 and if the Phils miss the playoffs, it could be a very tight vote.

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