As I’ve said previously, Ty Wigginton shouldn’t have been the Orioles’ representative at the All-Star game. When he was selected, the expectation was that he wouldn’t even make it into the game – you know, on account of being the worst player there. That would have been a little ironic, given that Ty was designated as the AL player who could return to the game after being taken out if need be – probably because he can “play” multiple positions. Little did we know that Joe Girardi was going to get Wiggy into the game.
The scene: top of the 7th inning with the AL up 1-0.
Current third-baseman: Evan Longoria (3.7 WAR this year, +15.5 career UZR/150 at 3B).
Third-basemen left on the bench: Alex Rodriguez (2.2 WAR this year, -2.8 career UZR/150 at 3B) and Adrian Beltre (3.6 WAR this year, +15.2 career UZR/150 at 3B).
Obviously, it made perfect sense to send Ty Wigginton (0.4 WAR this year, -16.6 career UZR/150 at 3B) into the game for Longo. Not only is that a 3.3 WAR downgrade – a full 2010 Chase Utley – but there were still actual legitimate All-Stars left on the bench. So, OK – that doesn’t make any sense except in the little league sense of getting everyone in there. The NL scores 3 runs in the inning, and Ty was set to lead off the bottom of the frame against Adam Wainwright. He didn’t get to hit though – you know, because not only is Nick Swisher much better overall (.252/.334/.434 vs. .298/.377/.524 – or .336 wOBA to .391 wOBA if you’d like), but he also gets the platoon advantage by virtue of being a switch-hitter (though Swish did K, which Ty could have done perfectly well himself). The batting situation there was probably the right call, but the effect is that Ty Wigginton – perhaps the worst fielder relative to position in the entire game* – was used solely as a defensive replacement in a one run game. Because this time it counts.
* Andre Ethier – career -8.6 UZR/150 as a corner outfielder – playing center might give him a run for his money given the 10 run positional adjustment.