Who is having the best season among New York baseball players in 2012?
The debate as to whether it’s David Wright or Derek Jeter is a good one. And there’s one area in which Wright has a big advantage- his contributions have been of greater value to the Mets than Jeter’s have to the Yankees.
There is a statistic known in the sabermetric community as Win Probability Added, which measures the value of every play in a game as it relates to winning.
What is Win Probability Added?
WPA, as it is known, is basically a points system, with the points coming in the form of percentages.
If a player does something good (reach base, steal a base) he gets a credit. If he makes an out, he gets a debit. A home run in the ninth inning is worth a lot more than one in a 10-0 game. Similarly, an out in a key spot costs a player WPA points.
Wright is racking up WPA like almost no one else in baseball. He has outscored Matt Kemp (by a hair) and Josh Hamilton. And his number is nearly twice that of Derek Jeter (2.09 to 1.05 wins added).
The only player better at the moment is Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair, whose contributions haven’t helped nearly as much, because his team is sub-.500.
In this series against the Phillies, Wright has had two hits of great significance to his WPA tally -- a two-out game-tying double against Roy Halladay and a two-out single versus Chad Qualls that (with the help of a botched rundown) tied the score. He is an MLB-best 17-for-31 in two-out situations and even better when the situations are of the greatest importance.
Highest Win Probability Addded
In the statistical community, what Wright is doing is known as coming through in high-leverage situations, those in which ones work makes the greatest difference between winning and losing.
Wright is 11-for-21 with seven walks (three intentional) in high-leverage situations, with those 11 hits tied for the most in baseball and the seven walks tied for second-most. That’s what differentiates him at the moment from any other player in New York.
In its simplest form, we can say that the 2012 Mets season has gone right in so many ways. But perhaps its more accurate to say that this season has gone just Wright.