Ty Wigginton is like a Honda Civic. A Civic isn’t flashy and it certainly doesn’t impress your date when you roll up to her house in it, yet it’s affordable, always gets you there on time and is as trustworthy an option as there is on the road. That’s Wigginton in a nutshell. He isn’t gonna haul 6,000 lbs., he isn’t going to run to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, and he certainly isn’t gonna boost season ticket sales, but at the end of the day Wigginton just gets it done. I bring this all up because Wigginton was dealt to the Phillies on Sunday as the Rockies seem intent to give Ian Stewart yet another shot to prove himself at third base (or perhaps they might just turn to Brandon Wood, Chris Nelson or Jordan Pacheco until AFL MVP Nolan Arenado is ready to take over at the hot corner?). Wigginton was dealt, along with cash, for a Player To Be Named Late and/or cash. So why would the Rockies want to rid themselves of their Honda Civic?
Wigginton can play all over the field. He suited up for 27 games in the outfield, 36 at first base, and 68 at third base in 2011. Versatility like that always makes Ty a fine final offensive player on a fantasy club. It also enables him to see a lot of playing time as he can fill in at multiple spot. Given that Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard are both coming off surgeries, the addition of Wigginton makes a lot of sense for the Phils (Placido should be ready for opening day, but most reports suggest that Howard could miss most of April).
What about performance?
Wigginton isn’t going to steal many bases, he has only 41 thefts in his career, but he did swipe eight in 2011, a seven year high. Still, he’s not a speed demon. Wigginton also isn’t a batting average option of renown. Ty has a career batting average of .265, and the last two years he’s failed to hit even .250 (.248 and .242) after a 4-year run of hitting at least .273. The main reason for the drop the last two years is that his hit rate, in the .290′s for his career, has left him with a BABIP of .270 and .271 the past two years. I’m inclined to think that it’s because Ty has lost that little bit extra with his bat speed, something that may be show in the fact that his K-rate has gone up a bit the past two years. He could see some improvement with his BABIP, but it’s not a certainty and would likely be a mild bump.
So I’m painting a portrait of a guy who just isn’t very exciting, but that’s because I’ve left out his best trait – his power. Ty has hit 22 or more homers in four of the past six years, an in five of those six years he’s hit at least 15. Given that he’s averaged just 462 at-bats those six years, his average homer total of 20 a season is pretty darn solid, especially from a guy who qualifies at three positions. Ty has seen some slight regression in his HR/FB the past two years after a peak from 2005-08, but his marks of 12.5 and 13.2 percent the past two years are virtually identical to his career 12.7 mark. He should be fine in terms of the power output in 2012.
So what do you do with Wigginton? At the moment it certainly doesn’t seem like he will have a spot in the every day lineup with the Phillies, so expecting 462 at-bats from him this season is likely asking for too much. As such, Wigginton makes for an ideal option in NL only leagues but a bit of a stretch in mixed leagues unless you are in a 15 teamer. He’ll be solid when he plays, and that flexibility certainly makes him a valuable add in the right circumstance, but don’t go a reaching for the Phillies newest addition.
By Ray Flowers