Wigginton a Pleasant Surprise for O’s

The Orioles have plenty of problems, but right now missing Brian Roberts isn’t one of them. While his absence has created a void atop the order, his offensive production has been replaced, and then some. Ty Wigginton has done nothing but hit since taking over as the full-time second baseman. His defense doesn’t stack up to Roberts’, but his offense has more than bridged the gap. His .445 wOBA currently ranks sixth in the AL.

As Matt noted almost two weeks ago, Wigginton’s power surge is largely based on a high HR/FB ratio. When he wrote the post, on April 26, Wigginton’s rate was 35.3 percent. That hasn’t changed much in the ensuing 10 games, and it currently sits at 34.5 percent. That rate simply is not sustainable for a full season. Wigginton’s career HR/FB ratio is 13.3 percent, though he did reach 18.5 percent in 2008 with the Astros. At that rate, he’d currently have five home runs.

While the HR/FB ratio certainly stands out, two of Wigginton’s stats seem downright absurd when juxtaposed. I’m not quite sure how this happens, but:

GB%: 50%
ISO: .391

Grounders cannot leave the park, and so can only go for doubles and triples. Wigginton, unsurprisingly, has no triples this season. He has hit one double on a grounder, for an ISO of .027. On his eight line drives he has an ISO of just .125. When he hits the ball well into the air, then, he absolutely crushes it. His 10 homers and two doubles on fly balls adds up to a 1.143 ISO. That comes mostly when he pulls the ball. His HR/FB ratio on balls hit to left: 90.9 percent.

This isn’t the first time that Wigginton has gone on a tear for about 100 PA. In August 2008 he produced similar numbers. From the 2nd through the 31st he hit .390/.406/.830 in 106 PA, which is actually a bit better than his 102 PA sample from this season. For the rest of the season, in 323 PA, he hit .248/.333/.399. We very well could see Wigginton drop back to that level soon. That line, after all, isn’t too far off his career line of .271/.330/.459.

That, however, is not to downplay his torrid start to the 2010 season. If not for his production, where would the Orioles be? They’re 7-18 since Roberts’s last game. The difference between Wigginton and Roberts’s other most likely replacement, Julio Lugo, is more than 1 WAR right now. One win might not seem like a huge swing, but at this point the Orioles need everything they can get.



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Joe also writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues.


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DavidCEisen
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DavidCEisen
6 years 1 month ago

“The Orioles have plenty of problems, but right now missing Brian Roberts isn’t one of them.”

Gotta disagree with that. If Roberts were healthy, Wigginton could easily be playing at 3rd or 1st.

pft
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pft
6 years 1 month ago

Wigginton played a big role in the Orioles sweep of the Red Sox last weekend. If the Red Sox miss the WC by 2 or 3 games, that series will be the reason, and Ty Wiggington will be damned by Red Sox Nation.

I also agree the Orioles do indeed miss Roberts. Garry Atkins has been brutal offensively at 1B where Wiggington could play. Tejeda has done ok at 3B, at least offensively . Also, Wiggington is no 2Bman, playing him out of position has to hurt over the course of the season. Lugo has obviously failed to impress as he should be at 2B and Wiggington at 1B. Of course, Phil Hughes is now being given a chance at 1B due to the Atkins failure, and he looks like he could be a pretty good player, and had some key hits against the Red Sox.

waroriole
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waroriole
6 years 1 month ago

Wigginton’s best defensive position is 2B. I’m not sure what his UZR is so far, but he looks pretty comfortable at 2B, and much better than anywhere else I’ve seen him. Also, it’s Garret Atkins and Rhyne Hughes.

Nice info on the article. He is certainly seeing the ball well, and no O’s fan believes this will be sustainable. However, I disagree with your assessment that he is making Roberts’ injury bearable. If Roberts is playing, Wiggy plays 1B, and we don’t have to suffer through Atkins in the lineup. Also, Jones can go further down in the lineup where he belongs, and we would have a real leadoff hitter to get on base for Markakis. Probably not a huge swing in wins, but maybe 1 or 2.

David
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David
6 years 1 month ago

He has a terrible UZR this year but it’s a tiny sample size. For his career he’s at -1.8 UZR/150, pretty close to league average. I’d guess his true talent level at this point is around -5, Dan Uggla-ish (although Uggla has made more circus catches this year!). I’m not sure Lugo (or Roberts for that matter – he was slightly below average last year) would be much better, statistically.

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