Sell High Candidate: Are David Wright’s Days As An Elite Third Baseman Over?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

David Wright is hitting .311 with 27 RBI and 23 R. It doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Then you realize that he has just 3 HR and 2 SB, plus the average is tenuous at best.

Remember when some people called me crazy for initially having Josh Donaldson ranked ahead of David Wright (when it looked like Donaldson was going to hit second, I did flip the two because of the risk of losing counting stats)? It’s not so crazy after all, is it?

The lack of SB should not be a major surprise. Wright is now 31-years old and seeing the Mets reign him in a bit, in order to keep him healthy, should have been expected.  He also may have simply slowed down a bit, as he’s been caught stealing 3 times. It’s the other issues that are glaring.

We are a quarter of the way through the season and he has 3 HR? We can complain about CitiField all we want, but what about the games he’s played on the road? In fact, all of his home runs have come at home with a big goose egg in 97 road AB.

We would expect him to start producing a little more power, eventually, but the days of him being a 30 HR threat are well behind him. In fact, the days of him being a 20 HR threat may be over as well.

Over the past three seasons his best total was just 21 HR while his HR/FB has been between 12.0 and 13.0%.

Suddenly, a player who was once a 30/30 threat, or at least 20/20, may be just a 15/10 type player…

Without the power, is he really a lock to produce runs or RBI in the middle of the Mets’ “juggernaut” offense? He has thus far, which is impressive, but if the average were to fall as well things could get dismal. Unfortunately, that’s not an unrealistic event.

Wright has hit the ball hard, with a 27.4% line drive rate, though it’s still easy to imagine his .396 BABIP regressing. It’s also easy to envision the line drive rate falling, considering his 22.7% career mark, dampening things a little bit more.

If that weren’t enough, Wright’s strikeouts are up this season (22.9%) and his walks are down (5.8% vs. career mark of 11.1%). That’s certainly not what anyone wants to see. It’s not that he’s chasing more pitches or anything like that, he’s simply missing more often.

It’s not to say that Wright won’t improve, because it’s hard to imagine him not getting hot at some point. However, his days as one of the elite third baseman for fantasy owners may simply be behind him. While I wouldn’t give him away (aka sell low) seeing if someone in your league still values him as elite makes sense.

If you can get his preseason perceived value, I would make the deal. It may unfortunately be your last opportunity to do so.

My current 3B Rankings:

  1. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
  2. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
  3. Josh Donaldson – Oakland A’s
  4. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
  5. David Wright – New York Mets

Source – Fangraphs

5 comments

  1. Tabes says:

    I need some opinions on an offer I just received…Cueto and Matt Carpenter for Cano and Ian Kennedy. Thoughts? Am I crazy for even considering it?

    • BB says:

      It sort of depends on the type of league, league settings, etc. But I don’t think you’d be crazy to consider it. I would probably rather have the Cano side. But if you really think Cano will keep doing what he’s doing — hit for average, no power — then is he necessarily that different from Carpenter? And there is no doubt Cueto is better than Kennedy.

      I think Cano will eventually hit for power (say, 15 HR rest of season), and also finish significantly ahead of Carpenter in avg, RBI, and even SB. So I wouldn’t do the deal. But if you are lower on Cano/higher on Carpenter, or really need an ace and think Cueto can keep up something close to this pace, then it might make sense for you.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I agree with BB here. I don’t think it’s nuts, but I prefer the Cano side. I do believe the power will be there and think Cueto is due to regress a decent amount from his current level

  2. bigwang says:

    This article feels more like the author attempting to vindicate himself for his opinion on donaldson, instead of trying to analyse Wrights disappointing start, which can be best described as puzzling.

    • bigwang says:

      Funny thing is, wright doesnt even count as a sell high guy. And this is supposedly a sell high article. Everyone knows his power has gone MIA and that his average is mostly empty, unless your league mates are total rookies or have been living under a rock.

      Do you actually know why Wright is swinging and missing more? Do you know the root of his issues? Dont you think its way premature for power and speed to fall off a cliff at age 31? If you are speculating just like the rest of us, how sound can the fantasy advice be? Obviously cashing in and selling him for elite value now is the nobrainer here, but who exactly is going to pay elite value for wright at this point. (Unless, of course, one happens to be playing in a league with his 13yr old cousin who lives in new york, loves Wright to death and thinks that batting average is the most important stat in the world)

      In reality, in most competitive leagues its already too late to sell wright for anything close to elite value. The best thing might then be to hold and wait for this situation to play itself out. Or until one can be fairly certain of whats the go with wright.

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