Figgins Having A Career Year (Again)

At the age of 31, Chone Figgins is showing no signs of slowing down. He racked up four hits yesterday, three of them doubles, to raise his season line to .312/.401/.413. He’s also flashing the leather over at third base, and his total performance for the season has been worth +4.6 wins. He’s got a shot at finishing the season as a +6 win player, just in time for free agency.

Figgins began his career as an okay hitter, who hit for a high average, drew some walks, and stole a bunch of bases. Since he didn’t really establish himself as a regular until he was 26, his early career performance looked like it would be his peak. Instead, he’s getting better with age.

Here’s Figgins walk rates by season:


Every year since he arrived in the big leagues, Figgins has upped his rate of free passes. He’s done this without a corresponding increase in strikeout rate by just swinging at fewer pitches out of the zone. By getting more selective, he’s been able to increase his contact rate and draw more walks, which is a pretty nifty combination.

After bouncing all over the field, he’s also found a home at third base, and has settled in as one of the better defenders of the hot corner in the game. His +9.6 UZR for the season ranks him just behind Evan Longoria and Joe Crede but right in front of Brandon Inge and Adrian Beltre. That’s some pretty nice company.

In his first three and a half years in the big leagues (2003 to 2006), Figgins racked up a total of +7.3 wins, making him essentially a league average player. In the last two and a half years, Figgins has earned +10.1 wins, which is the kind of production teams get from all-star caliber players.

He’s not as big a name as Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, but Figgins is going to get paid fairly well this winter, and if the Angels don’t shell out the cash to keep him around, they’re going to have a tough time replacing his production. He’s turned himself into a very nice player.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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13 years ago

I would love, love, LOVE, my O’s to sign Chone this offseason.

He would fit in nicely at the top of the order, allowing AJones to move down to his more natural 4 spot, and Figgins would fill the gaping offensive hole left by MelMo. And if the O’s can afford to pay MelMo $8 mil per, then pony up baby!