Has David Wright passed Strawberry for best position player?

Who is the best position player in Mets history? The immediate answer is Darryl Strawberry although a quick look at the record book shows that Jose Reyes and David Wright also deserve consideration for that honor. Let’s look at their overall lines and then break the players down by categories.

1 Jose Reyes 735 20-28 1050 4840 4453 1300 222 99 81 423 333 509 7 370 .292 .341 .441 .782
2 David Wright 699 21-28 1106 4782 4161 1248 281 17 183 725 535 897 33 151 .300 .380 .508 .887
3 Darryl Strawberry 662 21-28 1109 4549 3903 1025 187 30 252 733 580 960 26 191 .263 .359 .520 .878
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/17/2012.

Wright – 2nd
Reyes – T 5th
Strawberry – Not in top 10

Wright – 4th
Strawberry – 10th
Reyes – Not in top 10

Strawberry – 2nd
Wright – 3rd
Reyes – Not in top 10

Strawberry – 7th
Wright – 8th
Reyes – 10th

Reyes – 3rd
Wright – 4th
Strawberry 7th

Reyes – 1st
Wright – 2nd
Strawberry – 3rd

Reyes – 2nd
Wright – 3rd
Strawberry – 9th

Total Bases
Wright – 1st
Strawberry – 3rd
Reyes – 4th

Wright – 1st
Reyes – 3rd
Strawberry – 8th

Reyes – 1st
Strawberry – 6th
Wright – Not in top 10

Home Runs
Strawberry – 1st
Wright – 4th
Reyes – Not in top 10

Strawberry – 1st
Wright – 2nd
Reyes – Not in top 10

Strawberry – 1st
Wright – 4th
Reyes – Not in top 10

Stolen Bases
Reyes – 1st
Strawberry – 4th
Wright – 6th

Adjusted OPS+
Strawberry – 1st
Wright – 4th
Reyes – Not in top 10

Runs Created
Wright – 1st (825)
Strawberry – 2nd (759)
Reyes – 3rd (706)

Strawberry – 1st (37.7)
Wright – 2nd (32.6)
Reyes – 4th (29.3)

The above category leaders in franchise history
Reyes (3) – Runs, triples, stolen bases
Strawberry (5) – Home runs, RBIs, walks, adjusted OPS+, WAR
Wright (3) – Total bases, doubles, runs created

If Wright plays a full season with the Mets in 2012, he has a good shot to become the Mets’ leader in runs, hits, RBIs and walks. And a return to his 05-’08 offensive level could put him above Strawberry in WAR. Strawberry will still have a claim to greatest offensive player, since he did it in fewer PA than Wright, but by the end of this season, Wright will hold more lifetime offensive records than any player in franchise history.

8 comments for “Has David Wright passed Strawberry for best position player?

  1. NormE
    January 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    You’ve limited your “position player” stats to offense only. How come?

    Also, your list seems to include only homegrown talent. How about including
    such standouts as Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Mike Piazza, Carlos Beltran and
    even John Olerud (even though his Mets tenure was shorter)?

    • Brian Joura
      January 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      Generally, people are more comfortable with offensive stats than defensive stats. Plus you get into the gray area of comparing people across different positions. It just seemed to make more sense to limit it to offense.

      And yes, I did limit it to homegrown players. If you add the players you mention, it still comes down to primarily Straw and Wright. The others just didn’t play long enough (and well enough) to be join those two. Beltran would be the closest.

      • NormE
        January 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm

        The problem is that you are basically asking a SS, Reyes, to compete with Straw and Wright based on there power numbers. By using available defensive metrics you level the playing field. After all, a SS is a SS primarily because he can play a skill position that a RF can’t, and a 3B probably failed at. I know that there are exceptions to the SS role (ARod being the prime example), but a SS performs a more important defensive function than the others. You might still reach the conclusion that
        Wright or Straw was the best position player, but you should paint a more complete picture.

        By the way, I know it undercuts my argument, but I’m not convinced that the newer defensive metrics are as valid as the offensive metrics.

        • Brian Joura
          January 18, 2012 at 9:08 am

          WAR – the last category where I compared the three guys – does exactly what you’re asking for and has Reyes behind the others, despite picking up 4.4 WAR over Wright (and 5.8 over Straw) in 2011.

  2. AJ
    January 17, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Strawberry was a central player on the most recent of the Mets’ only 2 championship teams – that has to count for something, too.

    On the other hand, Wright has been a central player during one of the most disappointing periods in the team’s history. But throughout it all he has conducted himself with professionalism and grace, providing untold hours of community service while basically being the “face” of the franchise. If I’m not mistaken, during the epic collapse of ’07 and the echo collapse of ’08 Wright continued to produce at a high level. He played with heart, and continued to do so over the last 3 seasons when suffering through the beaning and the drop-off of his production. I don’t recall ever hearing him whine or complain or blame his team mates, or the manager, or ownership.

    So, do these sort of positive character traits count as much as offensive (or defensive) statistical rankings?

    No. In my view they count for more.

    I think David Wright is the best position player the Mets have ever produced, because of his production and because of his character.

    It’s really going to suck when they trade him.

    • Brian Joura
      January 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      It’s certainly an interesting question if it’s better to be a stand-up guy in a bad situation or a pain in the butt for a championship team.

      Since the Mets haven’t won it all in so long, I’m ready for some of those latter guys to populate the Mets again.

      • Bus
        January 18, 2012 at 11:37 pm

        I think you can have both. You had the nice guys, the Mookie Wilsons and Gary Carters, along with the Strawberrys, Dykstras and Backmans.

        Either way, and I will say this until I find a reason not to: Mike Piazza is the best Mets position player.

  3. January 24, 2012 at 3:08 am

    As an overall player, I would say Jose. He can do it all, he put on a show this past season after being injured for a number of seasons. Sad to say, but if the MLB had taken over the Mets franchise, he might still be a Met.

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