According to the RotoTimes Player Rater, David Wright is one of five hitters to be among the top 12 batters in both 2007 and 2008. Wright finished fourth in dollar value both seasons. The only player better is Hanley Ramirez, who finished second in both years. Should Wright be the second player picked in your fantasy draft next season?
In 2007, Wright had a .362 BABIP. He was able to retain his elite status in 2008 despite a 34-point drop in BABIP. He accomplished this because no one had a monster year like Alex Rodriguez did in 2007 and because there was an across the board drop in fantasy numbers. According to RotoTimes, each one of the top 12 fantasy batters had a lower dollar value in 2008 than their counterparts did in 2007.
Wright was crucified because of his lack of “clutch” hitting in 2008. And a quick review of the numbers shows he did not produce the same stats with men on base or runners in scoring position. Last year with men on base, Wright had a .906 OPS compared to a 1.064 mark the year before. And with RISP Wright’s OPS was .703 last year compared to .976 in 2007.
But Wright compensated for that drop by having more opportunities in both categories. In 2007 he had 204 plate appearances with RISP and 328 with men on base. In 2008, those numbers were 229 and 375, respectively. Rate wise, he was less efficient but in raw numbers, which is what fantasy players crave, he was more productive. He had a 17-point jump in RBIs from 2007 to 2008. Wright posted 18 more RBIs with men on base in 2008 than in 2007.
What does this mean for 2009? Last year, none of Wright’s peripherals changed in any meaningful way. He showed a slight increase in slugging due to tiny increases in both FB% (37.5 to 38.2) and HR/FB (16.1 to 16.7). And his BB% and K% were nearly identical. Which means Wright is one of the safest picks around.
The top half of the first round of any fantasy draft is about minimizing risk. That’s why no smart players took Albert Pujols in the first six picks last year. Not because there were doubts about Pujols and his skills, but because there were rumors that he was not going to play a full season. There simply was too much risk to take Pujols that high when equally productive players with no injury concerns were available.
That Pujols played the whole season and was the top fantasy player in 2008 is virtually irrelevant. The risk was too great. With David Wright, we have a player whose risk is extremely low. He has no health concerns, he has been both remarkably productive and consistent all while playing a key position. And Wright is entering the prime of his career.
Any draft where he is not one of the top four picks taken is not a league with serious players. Personal preference can dictate the order of the top four players but Wright’s name simply has to be there. The second overall pick is a safe spot for Wright and you could even justify taking him first if you are concerned about Hanley Ramiez losing steals if/when he drops lower in the batting order.