Defending Wigginton

This is the last thing I will say about Wigginton unless an actual rumor surfaces. My first post today looks kind of silly with Keppinger being traded but I wasn’t sold on him anyway. Now back to Wigginton and why he appears to be everything the Pirates are looking for. The Pirates are looking for a right handed power hitter who can play the corners and who preferably has years of control left at a reasonable price. They also seem to prefer someone who is a decent defender and who does not strike out much.

Obviously Wigginton bats right handed and has played 1B, 3B, LF and RF so he fits that description. He also is under contract in 2012 for 4 million dollars and has a 4 million dollar option 2013. The best part of the way his contract is structured is that the Pirates could use him at 1st in 2012 and then make a decision on him for 2013 depending on how the likes of Hague and Curry are looking. So there is the years of control now on to his actual performance.

Most importantly seems to be the ability to hit for power. In the five full seasons Wigginton has played since leaving Pittsburgh he has hit 24, 22, 23, 11 and 22 home runs respectively. He also has 13 so far this year which puts him on pace for about for about 21 or 22 home runs. So with the exception of 2009 Wigginton has consistently hit 20+ home runs a year. His OPS+ since 2006 is 105 which puts him just slightly above average. In 2007 and 2010 he was a full time player but the rest of the time he has been a part time player, projecting his average season out to 162 games would give him 26 home runs a year. His career batting average of .266 also shows that he can hot for a respectable average.

The one potential concern with Wigginton is his fielding. His fielding percentage is good but his UZR makes him look somewhat questionable. His UZR/150 as a 1B for his career is -10.4 meaning he is below average. Strangely enough though in 2005 with the Pirates his UZR/150 at 1B was an impressive 65.1. For comparison Overbay’s UZR/150 is -0.6 and Pena’s is -2.8. Thos two are considered fairly good defensive 1B so Wigginton would be a downgrade here although Overbay hasn’t been as good this year with a -12.2 UZR/150.

As far as strikeouts are concerned his career rate of 17.4% is fairly respectable. For comparison Overbay’s rate for his career is 18.4%, Pena’s is 26.4% and Reynolds is 32.9%.

Looking at a more advance stat, WAR, Wigginton has posted a wide range of numbers but I’d say about 1.2 WAR per season would be a good expectation for him.

Looking at his career splits Wigginton has hit lefites pretty well with a line of .277/.355/.472 (OPS of .827). He also is decent against righties with a career line of .262/.313/.438 (OPS of .751).

Basically Wigginton is a polished version of what Pearce could be if he reaches his upside. But the best part is he is producing at the level now, Pearce only has the potential too.

I’m not good at gauaging what a fair value for him would be but I am going to give it a shot using the same Formula Pirates Prospects uses. To my estimation Wigginton is owed roughly 9.2 million over the rest of his contract (assuming his option is picked up) and should pruce roughly 3 WAR. This means his value would be approximately 5.8 million. I’m assuming this means a fair price could be a guy like Owens, Wilson or Locke paired with a low level prospect like Dodson. If the Rockies were more interested in bats a guy like Lambo or Hernandez might be a potential replacemnt for Owens, Wilson or Locke.

 

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