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The David Wright roller coaster ride seems destined to continue in 2013
I apologize to all of you David Wright fans out there for my Jekyll-Hyde reference. It is meant to be descriptive and not necessarily a pejorative, although I certainly understand the reasons(s) it might be taken that way.
Since 2008, the Mets third baseman has been on-again, off-again as if doing his best impression of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In even-numbered years he has been “on” (averaging .297, with 28 HR, 107 RBI, 98 R and 16 SB), in odd-numbered years not so much (.284, 12 HR, 66 RBI, 74 R and 20 SB). This year (2013) is an odd-numbered year. Caveat emptor.
Over the last five years, his underlying metrics have been all over the place:
Contact rate: low of 73 percent, high of 81 percent
Hit rate: has varied from 31 to 40 percent
Home run rate: fluctuated in a 10-point range (from seven to 17 percent)
The only peripheral that has been stable during the last few years has been his walk rate, which has been 12 percent in three of the last four seasons (and was 11 percent in 2010). On the plus side, he has lowered his strikeout rate in each of the last two years, and last season it sat well below league average (16.7 percent, as opposed to the league average of 19.2 percent).
His “off years” aren’t bad years—there are lots of third basemen out there who would be happy to lay claim to them—but they are not characteristic of a player selected at the end of the second round or early in the third round. Regardless, there are owners out there who will draft him as if he were a consistent fantasy producer. I say, good luck to them—better them than me.
There are as many theories about how to construct a team as there are people who participate in fantasy baseball. Competitive fantasy teams are created by drafting cautiously in the earlier rounds—laying a solid statistical foundation while avoiding potential land mines. Once the foundation has been laid, championships are earned in the later rounds when owners identify players who will significantly outperform their salary or draft slot (and the “profit” those players create for their owners).
If Wright enjoys an “on” season, he will produce stats worthy of a first-round pick; if he doesn’t, he could produce stats reminiscent of a 15th rounder. With an Average Draft Position (ADP) of 25, he provides limited upside and tremendous downside. Of course, that can be said for any first- or second-round pick—the difference is that sometimes the struggles come from out of nowhere and at other times fantasy owners have clear signs that identify players with a track record of inconsistency (Wright, Evan Longoria, etc).
Projection: .280 BA, 22 HR, 85 RBI, 85 R and 14 SB