I've never considered David Wright to be one of baseball's premier players; however, his statistics over his first five seasons were better than I expected. In every season but his first, he hit better than .300; in the past two seasons, he hit 30 and 33 homers; and he's driven in at least 100 RBIs in every season since his rookie season.
Despite those numbers, I've never viewed him as a batter who, when he comes to the plate, can cause a pitcher's blood pressure to rise, as can Ryan Howard. (Last season, Wright got only five intentional walks; Howard got 17. Over the past five seasons, Wright got 26; Howard received 97.)
That's why I was surprised to learn that in ACTA Sports' projection of who the top 10 hitters will be this coming season, they rated Wright ahead of Howard (#7), Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Lance Berkman. Wright tied for third with Ryan Braun. The two top-rated hitters were Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera.
The statistic that ACTA Sports used to rate the hitters was Runs Created.
In the 2008 season, Wright had 135 Runs Created. In 2009, ACTA Sports predicts he will have 134.
According to Bill James, Runs Created reveals how many runs have scored because of a hitter's batting and what's he's done on the basepaths.
Maybe Wright's a better hitter than I've given him credit for being.
Here's ESPN's formula for Runs Created, one of the many formulas that have been developed:
[(H + BB + HBP - CS - GIDP) times (Total bases + .26[BB - IBB + HBP] + .52[SH + SF + SB])] divided by (AB + BB + HBP + SH+ SF)