David Wright is Unorthodox?

At first I thought this was the reason Wright played on the high holy day of Yom Kippur. Then I realized I had read the quote too quickly, and also realized Wright isn’t Jewish (though he and many Mets had plenty to atone for).

Jerry Manuel had this to say about David Wright’s problems at the plate, per The Daily News:

“There are some mechanical issues we are trying to address with him,” Manuel said. “David is a gifted, unorthodox type of hitter. Sometimes what you find is that type of hitter has stretches of being really, really hot and stretches of not being very good. Because you’re unorthodox, when you’re not good, everybody can point out flaws. That’s kind of the trick or the difficulty you have in trying to make those corrections.”

I’m not sure what it is about Wright’s hitting that is “unorthodox”. To me his swing looks pretty solid, with mechanics that are similar to that of many other good hitters. At times he has a bit of a loop, but it’s no more pronounced than any other big league hitter. In fact at one point while discussing Wright’s style, my good friend (and former MLB scout) Lar Gilligan of Akadema / ProPlayer Academy commented that D-Wright “looks almost TOO mechanical, TOO ‘textbook’ — it’s like his swing is a direct product of constant training at a hitting school”.

David Lennon posted this additional quote from Manuel:

“It’s a little loop that will make him susceptible to balls up and in,” Manuel said. “There seems to be a lot of pitches recently that have been right where he’s looking and he’s fouling them off.”

I’m still not getting what is “unorthodox”. A loopy swing may be considered by some hitting instructors as a flaw, but there are just as many who think a “little loop” is perfectly fine, and necessary to lift the ball (as in, over the fence) and generate bat speed. Heck, Ted Williams felt a slight uppercut (the product of a loop) was necessary in order to defend against the baseball coming at the batter on a downward plane from the mound. In any case it’s not unusual.

This is not to say I disagree with Jerry Manuel. Rather, I’d like him to further elaborate on what he means by “unorthodox”. Saying he has a “loop” isn’t enough to differentiate him from anyone else — and it’s certainly not a Dave Kingman-like loop, when it occurs (I see a mix of “loops” and short strokes directly to the ball — both during his hot streaks and his cold streaks). Perhaps there is something unusual about his mental approach? Or the way he zones for pitches? Inquiring minds want to know.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.