David Wright Superstar?

david wright 1419 hitsYou’ve probably read an article like this before.  Lord knows enough of them have been written.  Is David Wright a superstar?  Its an argument that still rages on an almost daily basis across every social media forum.  On one side, you find a group of super-critical fans who feel Wright can’t possibly live up to his eight year, $138 million dollar contract.  On the other side, you find the “apologists”, the “fan girls”, and a variety of other groups who admire Wright as the captain of the team and face of the franchise.  So where does the truth lie?

First and foremost, how do you define a superstar?  For the purposes of this post, I’m going to say that a superstar has to have been in the league long enough to be compensated like one.  This will provide a “track record” that we can use to see where Wright lies amongst his peers.  Does this leave out the Mike Trouts and Bryce Harpers of the world?  Yes, but its important to consider money because it is always an important dynamic in this argument.

With that said, if there is anything both Wright’s supports and his critics can agree on, its that Wright’s new contract compensates him like a superstar.  Despite making only $11 million dollars this season, he will average $17.5 million over the length of the deal.  So for the purposes of comparison, I will use this $17.5 million dollar figure so Wright goes up against players considered to be the best in the league.  IF Wright were to make $17.5 million dollars this season, he would find himself to be the twenty-third highest paid player in Major League Baseball.   As it turns out, there are eleven higher paid position players in the game under this scenario.  Therefore, for the purposes of this comparison, I will use those eleven players and the first eleven that fall below him.  Each of these players have been productive enough on a consistent basis to be amongst the highest paid position players in the league.  Does Wright belong in this group?

This is how they match up over the course of their careers in the major statistical categories:

Wright Superstar Stats
Click to enlarge. All statistics obtained from www.baseball-reference.com. All statistics are averages over every 162 games played.

I chose these statistics because they are the most commonly known offensive categories for the average/traditional baseball fan.  I included batting average with runners in scoring position as a way to measure “clutchness”, which always seems to come up when discussing Wright.  So what have we learned…

Wright is actually above average when it comes to runs, hits, runs batted in, stolen bases, batting average, OPS, and finally, “clutchness”.  Consequently, he is slightly below average when it comes to power numbers and also averages a few additional strikeouts than his peers, neither of which should come as a surprise to anyone who watches Wright on a daily basis.  Which of these statistics you value most will go a long way in making your determination of whether or not Wright is in fact, a superstar.

I’ll allow you to make that determination for yourself.  What I do take away from all of this is that David Wright has earned his place amongst the highest paid players in the league.  He may never hit the epic home runs that some on this list do.  That alone may be enough for some of you to never deem Wright a superstar, and that’s okay.  However, there are other aspects of his game that help to fill his power void, which may lead others to the exact opposite conclusion.  What do you think?  How does he match up?  Is David Wright a superstar?

Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

Disclaimer: I did not include defensive statistics in this comparison because each of these players play different positions, with several serving as a DH who don’t play defense at all.  Salaries were obtained from www.baseballplayersalaries.com/salaries.