New York Mets: David Wright Will Be a 2014 NL MVP Candidate
Yahoo Contributor Network By Matt Musico
23 hours ago
COMMENTARY | After the New York Mets locked David Wright up to an eight-year, $138 million extension, the next phase of "the plan" was to put a team around him.
A strained hamstring limited Wright to 112 games played in 2013. It was the second time in three seasons he's played less than 120 games. Outside of those two occasions, he's been incredibly durable.
Since his first full season in 2005, he's played in at least 144 games in a season seven times. To be considered for an MVP Award, it's crucial for players to stay healthy and put up numbers for a full year.
Legitimate protection in the lineup
It's been a few years since Wright has had legitimate lineup protection. Ike Davis was supposed to be providing that, but his inconsistency has made the spot behind Wright a revolving door.
The acquisition of Granderson will force pitchers to challenge Wright more often. His on-base percentage over the last two seasons has shot up to the .390 range because he's been forced to keep the bat on his shoulder.
With a proven power threat standing on deck while Wright is hitting, pitchers must choose to either challenge him, or take their chances with Granderson.
2013 was one of his best statistical seasons
The 2013 season was cut short due to injury, but advanced metrics show it was one of the best overall seasons of his career.
His .904 OPS was the highest since he posted a .924 mark in 2008. His Isolated Power was .207 last season, the best since 2010. Wright created runs 55% more than the league average with a career-best 155 Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+).
He's in the prime of his career where he can use the wisdom he's gained over his big league tenure and still has the physical ability to use that knowledge to play at a high level.
The Mets are a different team without him
While part of being an MVP is putting up great statistics, it's also about a player's value to his team. Mike Trout has put up crazy numbers over the past two seasons, but has lost to Miguel Cabrera both years in the AL MVP race.
Why? Without Cabrera's performance, the Detroit Tigers wouldn't have made it to the postseason. The Los Angeles Angels were still a mediocre team, even with Trout's amazing contributions.
Wright is the heart and soul of New York's lineup -- that's why Alderson locked him up to a long-term extension instead of Jose Reyes. Without his presence, the Amazins don't look nearly as intimidating.
Improved team performance
It's tough to justify a player being the most valuable in the league when he plays for an organization that put together a 74-88 record. The acquisitions made this winter have already improved the Mets dramatically on paper, and more changes are likely to come.
When New York enjoyed one of its most successful stretches in franchise history from 2006 through 2008, Wright was in the middle of it all. He went to three All-Star games, won two Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, and was in the top 10 of NL MVP voting each year.
If the Mets have a successful season in 2014, Wright will likely be a big reason why, thrusting him into the MVP conversation