Non-Tendering Wigginton

Perhaps the biggest non-tender surprise was that of former Houston Astros third baseman Ty Wigginton. Entering his final season of arbitration eligibility, Wigginton expected to make around seven million, making him too expensive for the Astros. The club attempted, and evidently failed, in shopping Wigginton around before non-tendering him last Friday. Thus far, the Giants seem to be the hot team associated with Wigginton.

Wigginton’s 2008 represents his finest offensive season. Hitting 23 homeruns in only 386 at-bats and boasting career high on-base and slugging percentages. Wigginton’s homeruns were driven off of a 18.5 HR/FB%, quite a bit higher than his 13.5% career average and previous high of 16.9%. Wigginton’s other rate statistics, like K% and BB% were for the most part what you would expect.

For the third consecutive season Wigginton’s swings out of the zone increased, this time up to nearly 33% of the time. Of course, Wigginton also got more aggressive within the zone, up to nearly 80%, and was seeing more first pitch strikes than previously. It’s also interesting to note that the pitch types and velocities that Wigginton was seeing were the same he saw in 2007, 2006, and 2005. I suppose the results were a bit better for him though.

In the field, Wigginton is not a very good defender. UZR has him at a generous -3.2 while PMR says -13.52. That’s an average of -8.36 runs and that’s with a career best UZR at third. Add a positional bonus for Wigginton playing third of 2.5, his 15 runs offensively, and the replacement modifier (depending on whether you use 22.5 or 20 runs) and Wigginton comes out as a 2.1-2.2 WAR player last season.

Unfortunately for the team that will sign Wigginton, he’s not quite that good. Sure, he’ll still belt 20 or so homeruns, but not at the rate he did last season, and that’s going to make him around half of his 2008 offensive worth. Marcels calls for 6.2 wRAA in 475 plate appearances; a WAR value between 1.4 and 1.5. Seven million is roughly open market value for a player like Wigginton, but there’s a chance some team sees him as a half of a win better than reality and pays him like such.

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
13 years ago

One very important factor in evaluating Wigginton is his home/away splits at Minute Maid Park. He kills at home and struggles on the road. Most players do better at home, but his numbers are drastically different.