Sunday, November 27, 2011

Misleading Stats On David Wright Change Everything

Since 2004, David Wright has been a fan favorite.  His name can be found all over the Mets' all-time offensive leaderboard and he has accomplished this all before his 29th birthday.  Because of this, some Mets fans would find it impossible to see the team without David Wright and would consider it sacrilege to trade him.

However, I've been doing some research on the Mets' career leaderboard and made some comparisons to another team's leaderboard.  Fans who bring up the fact that David Wright holds or is close to holding many of the club's all-time offensive records might change their minds on their favorite player once they read this.

The Mets came into existence in 1962, joining the National League with the Houston Colt .45s (who became the Astros in 1965).  Therefore, it would be fair to assume that both teams would have similar cumulative offensive statistics since they have both completed 50 seasons of play.  It would also be fair to assume that since David Wright has cemented his name at or near the top of the Mets' all-time leaderboard in many offensive categories, he'd rank just as highly in those categories had he been a member of the Astros.  Unfortunately for Wright, that is not the case.

Currently, David Wright ranks in the Mets' top ten in the following cumulative offensive categories:

  • Games played: 1,106 (8th)
  • At-bats: 4,161 (5th)
  • Plate appearances: 4,782 (4th)
  • Runs scored: 699 (2nd)
  • Hits: 1,248 (3rd)
  • Total bases: 2,112 (1st)
  • Doubles: 281 (1st)
  • Home runs: 183 (4th)
  • RBI: 725 (2nd)
  • Bases on balls: 535 (4th)
  • Stolen bases: 151 (6th)
  • Runs created: 825 (1st)
  • Extra-base hits: 481 (1st)
  • Times on base: 1,816 (2nd)
  • Sacrifice Flies: 53 (2nd)

 Wright's bat has taken him far up the Mets' all-time leaderboard, but how great does that make him?

David Wright is currently the all-time Mets leader in total bases, doubles, runs created and extra-base hits and ranks in the top five in nine other categories.  Barring injury (and the potential departure of Jose Reyes via free agency), he could break the career club records for hits, RBIs, walks, times on base and sacrifice flies in 2012.

In addition to the above categories, if Wright plays 130 games in 2012, he will move into the No. 3 spot in games played for the Mets, surpassing Darryl Strawberry, Mookie Wilson, Howard Johnson, Cleon Jones and Jerry Grote.  He can also realistically enter the top three in at-bats, plate appearances and home runs during the upcoming season.

Without question, David Wright is one of the best offensive players in Mets history.  His high ranking in many of the club's career offensive categories clearly establishes that.  However, it would be a whole different story if Wright had achieved his numbers as a member of that other expansion team from 1962.  Let's look at where Wright's numbers would rank him on the all-time Houston Astros' offensive leaderboards in the same categories listed above.

  • Games played: 1,106 (14th)
  • At-bats: 4,161 (11th)
  • Plate appearances: 4,782 (10th)
  • Runs scored: 699 (7th)
  • Hits: 1,248 (9th)
  • Total bases: 2,112 (8th)
  • Doubles: 281 (6th)
  • Home runs: 183 (5th)
  • RBI: 725 (7th)
  • Bases on balls: 535 (8th)
  • Stolen bases: 151 (12th)
  • Runs created: 825 (7th)
  • Extra-base hits: 481 (7th)
  • Times on base: 1,816 (9th)
  • Sacrifice Flies: 53 (T-5th)

 David Wright's bat wouldn't get him very far up the Houston Astros' all-time leaderboard.

If David Wright had been in Houston since 2004 and compiled the same offensive numbers he has for the Mets as an Astro, he wouldn't be considered an all-time great for that franchise.  Wright ranks in the Mets' top five in 13 different categories and is the team's all-time leader in four of them.  As an Astro, he wouldn't rank higher than fifth place in any of Houston's all-time cumulative offensive categories.  He wouldn't even rank in the top ten in three of them.

The fans who don't think Wright should be traded usually make their point by saying he's been one of the Mets' best players of all-time and he's not even 30 yet.  Yes, it's true that Wright has been one of the Mets' best offensive players of all-time.  It's also true that he's accomplished all of his accolades before age 30.

But the reason why Wright has been one of the all-time greatest Mets is because the Mets haven't had many great offensive players for him to be compared to, and when the Mets have had a game-changing offensive player, they've either traded him away (Rusty Staub), let him walk as a free agent (Darryl Strawberry and perhaps Jose Reyes) or acquired him after he established himself with another franchise (Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Mike Piazza).

Simply stated, the Mets haven't had a homegrown offensive player stay with them long enough to become a bonafide all-time great of the game.  The Astros had Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, two of the game's best players during their time in Houston and both potential Hall of Famers.  The Mets' sole Hall of Famer has been Tom Seaver, a pitcher.  Sure, the Mets have had future Hall of Famers play for them in the past, but most of those players had already locked up their ticket to Cooperstown before they became Mets (Yogi Berra, Warren Spahn, Willie Mays, Duke Snider, Richie Ashburn, Gary Carter, Eddie Murray, Rickey Henderson, Roberto Alomar).  Only Seaver and Nolan Ryan came up through the Mets' farm system, but both of them were pitchers.

It's sad to say it, but as of right now, there has never been an everyday player inducted into the Hall of Fame who was developed in the New York Mets' farm system and came into the major leagues as a member of the Mets.

David Wright will someday have his plaque displayed in the Mets' Hall of Fame and Museum to recognize him as an all-time great Met, but unfortunately, he is not an all-time great of the game.   When fans realize this instead of trying to make him bigger than what he really is, perhaps they'd realize that he'd have more value to the Mets as trade bait than he would have as a player for the team.


Mack said...

would you like thi hung up on the ST locker ? :)

Ed Leyro (and Joey Beartran) said...

If it can help David go back to his 2006-2008 levels, when it looked like he might actually become the most complete hitter in Mets history, I'm all for it!

MetsGirl5 said...

I don't even know where to start. So he's not in the top 10 in only 3 categories (and 2 out of 3 aren't offensive categories) based on the Astros leaders stats... so? I'd like to see these comparisons with Jose Reyes too. Just for the interest of fairness. And then we shouldn't look at what he's done to become an all time great Met too closely because they didn't develop more great offensive players over the last 50 years? How is that even relevant to the point, it's not in his control. Downplaying David Wright's accomplishments and what he brings to the field/team is the en vogue thing for most Mets fans lately and it's just sad

Deb said...

I think what's sad is that so many Mets fans cling to any scrap that Fred throws their way. That's what's sad. Now, I'm not pointing any fingers here; just an observation. And what seems to be, uh, en vogue especially in the blogging community, is venerating and solidifying the writers own fandom and belonging to the club. Reality, and truth, be damned...or at least taking a the furthest back seat to the writer's version of Stockholm Syndrome. That's what I've noticed in the past few years. Some used to disdain and pole fun at someone else for selling I long suspected and believe, all the while, jealousy was the true motivator.

Joe D. said...

Loved this Ed. Wright's been in decline since 2008. With his walk year upon us I'm sure his performance will ramp up as will his entire approach at the plate and play on the field in 2012. I hope you and Coop had a great Thanksgiving.

Joe D. said...

Oops I forgot to wish Joey a Happy Thanksgivig too. Sorry Joey. ;-)

Ed Leyro (and Joey Beartran) said...

To MetsGirl5, I am a fan of David Wright myself. It seems like when I go to a game, he is the player I take the most pictures of (him and Angel Pagan, but Pagan is more because he's the closest player to where my seats are). But although I think he is one of the best Mets hitters of all-time, he's not among the best in baseball, although he was for a three-year period from 2006-2008.

Jose Reyes is the club leader in a number of offensive categories as well, and in some of those categories, he's far and away the team leader (triples, stolen bases), but think about this. As a leadoff hitter, Reyes should not expected to have many RBIs or hit for much power. In fact, only once has he driven in more than 70 runs in a season or hit more than 16 HR. Yet, despite that, only ten Mets have driven in more runs than Reyes and only 17 players have hit more HR. That's the problem with the Mets. They don't develop many good hitters and when they do, they let them walk or trade them away. In some cases, the high rankings on the all-time leaderboard is more a product of the other players than the performance of the "all-time Mets great" himself.

Ed Leyro (and Joey Beartran) said...

Deb, I agree with you. It's been a while since Mets fans had an all-time great player. St. Louis has Albert Pujols, a player that fans should cling to. With Mets fans wanting to hold on to Wright for as long as possible, it's like they're elevating him to Pujols' status. The only thing Wright and Pujols have in common is the No. 5 on their backs. Wright is good, but he's no Albert Pujols.

Ed Leyro (and Joey Beartran) said...

Ah, Mr. Joe D! I'm bringing this piece over to MMO as well to see what the readers there think about it. I believe it'll get some hot debate going, especially since it's on a player that many of the MMO readers either love or hate.

And yes, The Better Half and I had a lovely Thanksgiving together, as did Joey. Hope yours was enjoyable as well!

Anonymous said...

I don't think wanting to hold onto Wright means that fans think he's as good as Pujos. Pujols is a once in a generation type player. The Mets have never had a player close to as good as Pujols, neither have a majority of organizations. Wright isn't Pujols, but it doesn't mean he's not worth holding onto.

He has a career OPS of around .890, and OPS+ of 134, and has driven in at least 100 runs and hit 25 HR in 5 of his 7 full seasons. Thats good regardless of what the history of the club is like. Besides, those numbers show he'd rank pretty well in Astros history as well...though I think that is pretty irrelevant.