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Ty Wigginton and negating good offense with terrible defense

Posted by Andy
An all-too-common sight: the ball gets by Ty Wigginton
Icon SMI

Ty Wigginton has had an astonishing career. As recently mentioned be a reader on another thread, he's had a nice bat in his career, maintaining a 100 OPS+ despite getting bounced around on the field and from team to team. He's got an oWAR of 11.8 thanks to 8 different seasons with at least 0.8 oWAR.

However, on the defensive side of the ball, he's been awful. He has never posted a positive dWAR and his cumulative career value is -11.2.

That means his overall WAR is 0.6, with virtually all positive contributions with the bat and virtually all negative contributions with the glove (or feet, or arm, etc.)

I searched for other similar players. I started by generating a list of all active players with at least -50 fielding runs. Many of them, such as Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez, and Jason Giambi, have more than made up for it with their bats, amassing large career WARs.

But then there are these guys:
  • Jorge Cantu. He's got 6.3 oWAR, -5.7 dWAR, and 0.6 WAR overall. Similar splits to Wigginton.
  • Delmon Young has 5.2 oWAR, -5.4 dWAR, and 0.2 WAR overall.
  • Mark Teahen has 7.6 oWAR, -8.9 dWAR, and -1.3 WAR overall.
  • Brad Hawpe has 10.6 oWAR, -8.0 dWAR, and 2.6 WAR overall.
So then I looked back at retired players. Here are the 32 players with at least -83 fielding runs in their careers. (Another reason not to like Joe Carter.)

There are some other players like Wigginton:
One wonders what GMs think of guys like this...is the balance and zero-sum-game obvious?

(Thanks to Dalton Mack, @dmack1291 for tweeting this idea to me.)

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