Friday, February 03, 2006


Mookie Wilson is my favorite baseball player. Until 2004, Melvin Mora, who should still be a Met, was my second favorite player. Since 2004, David Wright, who was born a mere two miles from my childhood home here in beautiful Norfolk, VA, is second on my list.

David Wright is the best young third baseman in baseball since Richie Allen in 1964. Wright's 2005 OPS at age 22 (.911) was the highest for a 3B that young since the Phillies faded in Allen's rookie year. Of course, Allen, due to defensive deficiencies, stopped playing 3B full time at age 25 and predominantly played 1B the rest of his career, which was hampered by injuries, atttiude, and politics. Wright, though, is a much better fielder than Allen, needs no attitude adjustment, and possesses the talent and demeanor to be immune from team and front office contretemps. He will be a 3B and New York Met as long as he's healthy and happy. It is true that the great Pujols played some 3B in his fabulous rookie year at age 21. Some. And he hasn't played there much since. It is true that OF Miguel Cabrera is the same age as Wright and wants to be a full-time 3B again, but he isn't a 3B yet. He also hasn't produced at the more physically demanding position over a full season.

So, what's my point? With the standard disclaimer regarding injury or other unforeseen misfortune, David Wright will retire sometime between 2021 and 2026 recognized as the greatest third basemen of all time. Better than Schmidt. Better than Matthews. And yes, better than A-Rod. He can play the position, but most importantly, Wright is a hitter. He can hit fastballs, breaking balls, changeups, outside pitches, inside pitches, low and away pitches, up and in pitches, behind in the count, ahead in the count, with men on, in late game situations, and, hopefully soon, in the postseason. He has much better strike zone judgment than Schmidt at this age, as shown by his better BB/K rate. He certainly has produced more at this age than Schmidt. Just check out Schmidt's age 23 season some time. Dat is ugly.

NY does not faze David Wright. Playing in his hometown at AAA did not faze him. He is a hitter. He will keep getting better until he hits his peak around 2012, and should finish his career well over .300, 500 HR's and 1500 RBI's.

Now, the Steinbrenners currently have a pretty good 3b, as well. A-Rod's 2005 season at 3B was one of the best at that position in history. Currently, and I do mean currently, he is the best 3B in baseball. But he did not start playing 3B until age 29. He may play 3B for the next 10 years, who knows? Maybe he'll be moved to his more valuable position at SS and Jeter will be released. Ha! As a sworn enemy of the New York Steinbrenners, I thank them every day for handicapping themselves by placing the greatest SS since Honus Wagner, statisitically speaking, and plopping him at 3B to suit Jeter. Jeter is a great hitter and a decent defensive SS, but A-Rod is better. Much better at both positions.

Anyway, it is only a matter of time until Wright is better than A-Rod at 3B. 2006, probably not. 2007, again, most likely not. 2008, maybe, but by 2009-2011, certainly. And he'll only be 29 in 2011. Yes, 29--A-Rod's age at the start of the 2005 season.

So, even if A-Rod plays at 3B until he's 40, he won't be the best 3B ever. He might not be considered be the best SS ever simply because he only played the position for eight full seasons. He's in great player limbo. Too bad for the Steinbrenners. Meanwhile, expect to see another adjective added before David Wright's name over the next few years as he mashes NL pitchers, leads the Mets to renewed glory, and becomes the face of a city: ubiquitous.



Blogger Mycue23 said...

Let's give it a few more years before we put Brett, Schmidt and Matthews in the rear view mirror.

11:14 AM  

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