Mets third baseman David Wright may have hit the end of the road. After a decade of strong, consistent play at one of the thinnest Fantasy positions, Wright's production has dropped off this season. The third baseman is hitting just .266/.324/.368 over 537 plate appearances. He has just 8 home runs and six steals. Almost all of those numbers are career-lows, or close to it.
It's not like Wright is getting any younger, either. He'll be 32-years-old in December. That puts him squarely in the decline phase of his career. Is this officially the end of his run as a Fantasy asset?
That's incredibly tough to say. Everything about Wright's struggles this season suggested he was playing through some type of injury. Turns out, that's the case. Wright admitted his shoulder was still giving him issues Tuesday. On top of that, Wright is also dealing with neck issues. Despite the injuries, Wright has not landed on the disabled list all season. He initially injured his shoulder while sliding into a base June 12.
Since then, he's hit .260/.318/.372 over 236 plate appearances. He has hit half of his home runs over this period, but it's clear he hasn't been right physically.
The injury complicates things for next season. Wright's number fell off in a big way. His strikeout rate is his highest in three seasons, while his walk rate has dropped. His zone percentage, which measures how many pitches he's seen in the strike zone, is the highest it's been in five years. That could be an indication that pitchers have taken notice of Wright's injury, and aren't afraid to challenge him. Wright hasn't helped himself, making less contact this year.
Despite all those issues, it's hard to completely write him off. Wright's home run rate is likely due to his shoulder, and screams fluke if he can get healthy. Same with his lower-than-normal .314 BABIP. Provided Wright can get his shoulder right during the offseason, there's a strong chance at a rebound.
Unfortunately, we won't know if that's the case until maybe Spring Training. As long as his shoulder gets solid reports throughout the offseason, and Wright is able to play next spring, Fantasy owners should get an idea of whether he's healthy. It's a risk to depend on a 32-year-old coming off his worst season, but Wright has an elite track record. He'll likely go for a discounted price next year, making him appealing as long as the shoulder looks, and feels, good.