by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We all know David Wright’s days as an elite player are behind him. When I first started Rotoprofessor back in 2008, I remember the first article I wrote was a debate over who should be the third pick in the draft with Wright among the candidates (as was Jose Reyes). It’s amazing what’s happened since then, as the argument now could be made that he’s no longer even a starting fantasy third baseman, let alone a Top 5 option.
Injuries have really crippled him in recent seasons, including a shoulder injury in 2014. You could argue that it helped to cost him power (8 HR), but he’s been in decline ever since the move to CitiField (whether you want to blame that or not). Just look at his average distance on non-groundballs over the past five seasons:
- 2010 – 279.421
- 2011 – 273.548
- 2012 – 266.278
- 2013 – 269.577
- 2014 – 256.470
Sure a healthy Wright should see an increase in home runs, but let’s not mistake him for the slugger he once was. He’s not hitting the ball as far, which we’d expect from a 32-year old who has suffered back and shoulder injuries, and regardless of the dimension changes to CitiField he just isn’t going to produce big numbers. Maybe he can get back to 15-20 range, but anything more than that would be a bonus.
We also have seen a noted decline in his stolen base attempts. Once a threat to steal 25-30 bases, he attempted 20 in 2013 and 13 last season. Is it an attempt to keep him healthy? Quite possibly. Has he lost a step? Also very real.
So we have a third baseman with questionable power and questionable speed?
Last season there were 36 players listed at 3B with at least 300 PA. There were seven who hit at least 15 HR and stole at least 5 bases. Now consider Wright may not even return to that many HR or that he could see his stolen bases decline again (he had 8 last season)…
Unless he’s going to be a .300 hitter, which he’s hardly a lock to be given the potential lack of power and increased strikeout rate (19.3% in 2014, 21.1% in the second half), he’s really a tough sell. You can argue that third base is a shallow position and Wright has the upside, but there are several players who offer similar (if not better) potential.
Josh Harrison from the Pirates?
Xander Bogaerts from the Red Sox?
Manny Machado? Nolan Arenado?
All of those players have their own risks, but we also could argue that they have a higher upside at a potentially lower cost. The bottom line is that Wright is a player fantasy owners should not be reaching for. The risk far outweighs the reward, especially given the potential alternatives.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Heat Maps
Make sure to check out all of our early 2015 rankings:
- First Basemen
- Second Basemen
- Third Basemen
- Starting Pitchers
- Relief Pitchers
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