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On the 10th anniversary of his MLB debut, let’s appreciate David Wright

Jul 21, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

David Wright AP AP

Today is the 10th anniversary of David Wright’s big-league debut with the Mets, which came on July 21, 2004.

Wright is having a poor season, at least for his lofty standards, but he’s been a helluva player since basically Day 1 and my perception is that he’s one of the most underrated stars in baseball because so much of the focus on his performance is based on the Mets struggling to emerge as contenders for most of his career.

Yet in the middle of his age-31 season he’s already made seven All-Star teams, won a pair of Gold Glove awards, finished among the top-10 vote-getters in MVP balloting four times, and hit an even .300 with an .879 OPS, 230 homers, 187 stolen bases, and 1,660 hits.

To put all of that into some context, here’s how Wright ranks among the all-time leaders in Wins Above Replacement by third basemen through age 31:

Eddie Mathews     81.7
Mike Schmidt      66.6
Ron Santo         64.8
George Brett      61.9
Wade Boggs        59.9
Buddy Bell        54.3
Scott Rolen       53.2
Adrian Beltre     52.3
Brooks Robinson   51.2
Home Run Baker    50.4
DAVID WRIGHT      49.1
Chipper Jones     48.5

He’ll need to stay healthy and get back to his pre-2014 production to have a Hall of Fame career, but Wright is among the dozen best third basemen in MLB history through age 31 and he’s certainly on a Hall of Fame path 10 years in.

  1. greymares - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    NO !!!!!!!

  2. thomas844 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    A lot would have to go in Wright’s favor in terms of injuries for about 9 or 10 more years, but not completely out of the question at this point.

  3. hojo20 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    No way. Wright isn’t an immortal player. Compilers like Biggio have a better shot of making it into the HOF.

    • cohnjusack - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:13 PM

      Right! He’s not an immortal player like Rabbit Maranville, Chick Hafey or Jim Rice.

      • twinfan24 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        Citing others you don’t think belong does not make someone else that is lesser all of a sudden belong.

      • cohnjusack - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:49 PM

        Note: My citation about his use of the word “immortal”. Likely referring to players like Willie Mays, Ruth, Mantle, etc. Players of that caliber are overwhelmingly *not* who makes up the hall of fame.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        If your definition of the HoF is that it only includes “immortal” players, then there better only be immortal players in there. cohnjusack’s response is perfectly legitimate when you consider some of the awful players elected to the HoF.

        Never mind that hojo20’s comment sound an awful lot like the Willie Mays HoF:

    • stex52 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      Some day you are going to reveal what heinous thing Biggio did to keep you continuously on his case.

      Not that I really care what you think. But someday you will reveal it.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:14 PM

        Clearly he thinks he is a “compiler”. Whatever that is? I’ve always assumed that a compiler is a player that was very good for a very long time, which apparently is a bad thing.

      • hojo20 - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:24 PM

        We just can’t have a watered down baseball HOF. I can’t think of one noteworthy moment from Biggio’s career, either regular season or playoffs. He’s not a guy that you would stay in your seats for at the ballpark if his at-bat was coming up. If ESPN ran a highlight tape of Biggio, it would be a bunch of unnoteworthy moments, just a guy who was lucky to be good for a long time, not an immortal HOF player.

      • raysfan1 - Jul 21, 2014 at 2:36 PM

        Then you no doubt feel more than half of the players in the Hall should be removed. If so, that’s fine as there are plenty of other “small hall” guys out there.

        I am not a “small hall” person, though. I see little wrong with the truth that most players in the hall would not really be considered “immortals.” HoF induction is an honor, but the HoF is also a museum and archive of the history of the sport we love. To keep the doors open needs the business from the tourists, and about 75% of that business comes during August when the new inductions occur. Even still, fewer than 2% of players get inducted.

        Meanwhile, regardless of why you keep singling out Biggio, you might as well get used to the notion of hearing “Craig Biggio, Hall of Famer,” as it is very likely he gets inducted in 2015. Plus you are also wrong if you think there weren’t a lot if fans who did stay in theirs seats specifically to watch Biggio bat. Maybe you didn’t, but others did.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 21, 2014 at 10:32 PM

        “We just can’t have a watered down baseball HOF. I can’t think of one noteworthy moment from Biggio’s career, either regular season or playoffs.”

        Can you think of Herb Pennock’s noteworthy moment?

  4. gmkev - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Wright needs to play at his currently level for 6-8 more years to be mentioned in the HoF conversation. A guy like Scott Rolen is borderline and has 70 war.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:13 PM

      might want to look up Ron Santo’s career stats then

      Wright has more doubles than Santo did for his whole career right now.

      Wright is 112 HR’s behind Santo though.

      Wright has a .300 career average to Santo’s .277
      Wright has a .379 OBP to Santo’s .362
      Wright has a .500 Slugging % to Santo’s .464%
      Wright has a .879 OPS to Santo’s .826

      Wright as an OPS+ of 135 (which is very good mind you but he hasn’t played older yet, aged I mean).

      Santo’s OPS+ is 125

      NO, Wright is NOT a HOF player right now and it isn’t close. But Wright has a great chance to pretty much surpass all of Santo’s stats.

      Time will tell.

      • jimeejohnson - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        Thanks, stat mahn.

      • senioreditor2 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        Who said Santo deserves to be in????? Cubs fans??????

      • scatterbrian - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:49 PM

        Right, because Santo walked right in to the Hall of Fame.

      • jeffbbf - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:57 PM

        Santo dWAR = 8.9 (through age 31 season)
        Wright dWAR = 1.8

    • pauleee - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      Well, he’s good enough to have the conversation about having the conversation, so he’s got that going for himself.

      /Baby steps

  5. xdj511 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    If Wright stays healthy and productive for several more years I think he’ll warrant consideration. He could be one of those guys that reaches 2,500 hits at 36 and you suddenly go wait! If this guy makes 3,000 hits he’s a hall of famer! He’s also a third baseman which is under represented in the hall of fame.

  6. bleedgreen - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    If Utley isn’t, neither is Wright. I consider them to be similar to each other. Both VERY good, borderline hall of famers based on CURRENT stat/production, but need to keep it up another 3-5 years for it to stick.

  7. chip56 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    From a pure baseball standpoint, when you consider the team and the stadium, the Mets probably made the wrong choice in signing Wright over Reyes long term. Citi Field would have been as great for Jose Reyes as it is awful for David Wright.

    • epi44 - Jul 21, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      So “awful for Wright” that he put up 13.4 fWAR and a 147 wRC+ from 2012-2013? Keeping both Reyes and Wright should’ve been the way to go…but if they could only keep one the Mets kept hte better player.

      He might lose some HRs in Citi, but he was still an elite player the past couple years. Citi plays more fair now that they moved the fences in. He’s having a down year thus far this year, but I wouldn’t attribute that to the ballpark

  8. twinfan24 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    I think he would need 4-5 more really good seasons to even reach borderline HOF. It’s possible, but he has a lot of work to do.

  9. themagicfanguy - Jul 21, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    Anybody who uses the ridiculous term “compiler” in a HOF conversation doesn’t deserve to be in the conversation.

    • jrbdmb - Jul 21, 2014 at 5:11 PM

      Why? One of the qualifiers people tend to use for potential HOFers is whether there was a period of time that player was “dominant”. When was Biggio ever a “dominant” player? He was a pretty good player for a long period of time. He was in 7 All Star games (starting 4 times) in his 20 years. His best MVP finish was 4th in 1997 and 5th in 1998. He got to 3060 hits only because the Astros continued to play him in 2007 when there were better options available – and if he had not gotten to 3000 his HOF induction would be much more dicey.

  10. 4grammarpolice - Jul 21, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    Once Bert Blyleven made the Hall if a Fame, it stopped becoming relevant in my eyes.

    • moogro - Jul 21, 2014 at 6:14 PM

      oof. But then again, I was adamantly against the acquisition of Damien Hirst pieces into the museum’s permanent collection. But after sulking and complaining for a few years, I got over it. Now I think the museum is lovely, and I just don’t notice anymore.

  11. nycbucfan43 - Jul 21, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    As a lifelong Met fan – I would not currently consider D.Wright at HOF’er. He’s a very good player, but he’s been mostly un-clutch throughout his career and hit his peak way too early.. He may have 230 HR’s, but I think he’d be lucky to get to 350 based on his pace over the last few seasons.

    I also think it’s pointless to bring All-Star appearances into a HOF discussion. Two completely different voting formats – although both are ridiculous.

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