Since returning from the disabled list, David Wright is hitting .390, has an OPS of .989, and most importantly has struck out only 6 times in 59 at-bats. The strikeout rate for July and August is at 10% which crushes the 27% strikeout rate he had from 2009 through the first two months of this season. The sample size (14 games and 59 at-bats) is so small, but it has added importance under these circumstances. First of all, this is the sample size after he was physically hurt. Now he is healthy (probably) and is able to take better hacks at the plate without worrying about the response his body has. I think the last 14 games has more validity than Wright’s first 39 games of this season.
The sample size also takes on added importance because of the perspective that Wright gained during his injury. He witnessed his teammate Jose Reyes having the best year of his life and the resurgence of his ex-teammate Carlos Beltran. Much like an Aaron Rodgers under Brett Favre or a Ryan Howard waiting for Jim Thome to get out of the way, Wright had to observe for the first time since he was called up on July 21, 2004. And so far it looks like he has made a pretty significant adjustment. Looking at the three walks he has since returning, it doesn’t take much to figure out that he is being more aggressive earlier in counts. Here is a look at the pitches he has seen per plate appearance and the percentage of balls and strikes that he has seen since 2007.
2007: 41% balls, 59% strikes, 3.98 pitches/PA
2008: 41% balls, 59% strikes, 3.98 pitches/PA
2009: 41% balls, 59% strikes, 4.14 pitches/PA
2010: 39% balls, 61% strikes, 3.96 pitches/PA
1st half of 2011: 43% balls, 57% strikes, 4.41 pitches/PA
2nd half of 2011: 38% balls, 62% strikes, 3.79 pitches/PA
Wright went from seeing the most amount of pitches per plate appearance early in this season to the least amount of pitches per plate appearance. Obviously the more aggressive approach has helped him not only with the strikeouts, but in being an effective hitter. Pitchers could be in the midst of an adjustment with Beltran gone and Wright now clearly making an effort to be more aggressive. That said, for leagues that have to make a decision right now on whether or not to move Wright as part of getting better for 2012, I’m not sold that he is worth trading. Next season’s third base class will have Jose Bautista clearly at the top, and either Wright or Ryan Zimmerman right behind him.
- Coco Crisp stole four bases last night. With the A’s out of the race, they have turned to promoting the Moneyball movie at this point in the season by doing the exact opposite of what Billy Beane advocated in the book. Crisp has now stolen 10 bases in his last 7 games and has established a new career high for the second season in a row while in his 30s.
- The outcome wasn’t there last night, but Brandon Morrow looks dominant right now. He retired the first 15 batters he faced last night, but ultimately lost because of one mistake to Adam Jones.
- Tommy Hanson didn’t look as good for the Braves yesterday, but did not indicate if anything was wrong with his shoulder. Hopefully Hanson is fine because the Braves placed Jair Jurrjens on the 15-day DL with a knee injury yesterday (not too serious). Mike Minor was called up to replace him.
- While the world is pretty much sold on the Rangers bullpen after the trade deadline, there is still plenty reason to doubt it. That’s because of Neftali Feliz who is hardly the player he was a season ago. Feliz has 29 strikeouts to 20 walks in 42 innings. Last night Feliz blew his 6th save of the season.
- David Ortiz is not happy with the lack of contract talk.
- Zach Stewart got the win in his White Sox debut. It will be listed as a quality start, but he was shaky at times allowing 9 base runners in 6.1 and only striking out two.
- After his best start of the season, Johnny Cueto had his worst start yesterday lasting only 3.2 innings.
- Speaking of worst starts of the season, C.C. Sabathia gave up 7 earned – the most he’s allowed all season – to the Red Sox yesterday. Sabathia is now 0-4 against Boston this season with a 7.20 ERA. That stat needs to be part of the voting for the Cy Young.
- Jered Weaver dropped his appeal to his suspension, but fantasy leagues with weekly lineup changes need not worry. He will make his next start on Saturday.
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