During his prime, New York Mets third baseman David Wright was one of the best in baseball. If he stayed healthy, I believe a trip to Cooperstown was possible.
Wright played only 38 games in 2015 and another 37 in 2016. When he took the field in 2016, he didn’t play very well either. The Captain has already missed all of 2017 and there doesn’t seem to be a plan to return anytime soon.
The rehab process has been a tiresome one for Wright. The most disheartening part of it all is that he essentially had a decade of baseball taken away from him.
Wright made his Mets debut back in 2004 in his age 21 season. For the next ten years, he stayed relatively healthy. Wright was an All-Star seven times and a regular top-ten finisher in the MVP race.
Unfortunately, his body did not hold up. The injuries have already cut deep into his career, ending what could have been a Hall of Fame career.
Predicting what Wright would have done over the last three years is impossible. Taking his age into account, we should have seen more productive years. Even if he did see a decline at the plate, Wright had the talent to carve out a path to Cooperstown.
Currently, Wright owns a career batting line of .296/.376/.491. He was likely two seasons away from reaching 2,000 hits and had a chance at hitting his 300th home run in that same amount of time. These are not Hall of Fame standards, but consider how much more he could have added if he could play until he was about 40.
Wright’s career was basically over at 31. This was his age in 2014 when he played in his final full season. For many players, this is around the time they are in their prime or just starting to decline. Players who fit this criterion are still able to have many solid seasons thereafter, adding to their Hall of Fame standard.
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If we’re going to look exclusively at WAR, Wright still had a long way to go before reaching Hall of Fame status. He owns a career total of 50.4 which is well below the average of 68.4 from the 14 third baseman already in Cooperstown. He’s below many guys not in Cooperstown, including former Met Robin Ventura.
Giving him the benefit of the doubt, Wright would have added to this number well over the last few seasons. In his disappointing 2014 season Wright still posted a 2.8 WAR.
For the sake of argument, let’s just assume he averages this total in the next three seasons. I do believe he would do better, but let’s go on the low-end.
This would bring his career total up to 58.5 at the start of 2018. If he continues to average this total through the end of his contract, Wright finishes at a nice 66.9.
By no means does topping 68.4 mean he’s a Hall of Famer. Scott Rolen is above this total and he’s not in Cooperstown nor will he ever be. Home Run Baker and Jimmy Collins are below it and they are in.
This does still give us an idea of what could have been.
Wright never had a shot at 3,000 hits. The 400 home run mark would have been even further as his power numbers did appear ready to decline.
With a chance to compile a few more solid years and possibly develop into a guy whose average and OBP carries him through leaner years, I do think Wright had an opportunity.
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Sadly, we will never know for sure what a brighter fate had in store.