I've enjoyed watching and talking to Ty Wigginton this spring. He's one of those players fans are really going to attach themselves to here in Baltimore.
Obviously his versatility is why the O's signed the veteran to a two year deal this offseason. Having a right handed power hitter in the lineup will be valuable, especially against left-handed pitchers.
Since he plays first, second, third and left field, Wigginton can spell lefties like Felix Pie, Luke Scott or even Aubrey Huff any day of the week.
It never hurts to put a guy who's hit no less than twenty-two homers a season the past two years in the lineup. Not many teams get that kind of power out of their utility guy.
Recently, the low key slugger has really gotten hot down in Florida. He shows no signs of going through a 'transition period' with his new team. On top of his .293 average, Wigginton leads the team right now with ten RBI's.
Third base is his natural position and that's where he's played over four thousand innings in the big leagues. However, statistically as a fielder, he's had much fewer errors (per innings played) at first and second base.
Let's be real though. Ty Wiggington is here to hit. When balls start flying out of Camden Yards, he could quickly become a fan favorite.
We haven't heard a lot about Wigginton since his arrival at camp because he's not a colorful personality that draws attention to himself. He's a no-nonsense, do your job and shut up kind of guy. I believe we call that a gamer.
If someone asks him a question, he answers it as directly as possible. He seems old-school, humble and simple in the sense that when asked why he plays baseball, "Because I like to hit," is the answer.
You have to love that approach.
Dave Trembley told me the new Oriole is a great compliment to a player like Ryan Freel because both play the game hard. Those kinds of players can sometimes be healthier for a team than the flashy superstars who feel certain rules don't apply to them.
Early in spring training the Orioles played the Dominican Republic in an exhibition game. Wigginton hit a three-run homer to give the O's the lead. Afterward, Trembley was asked about Ty's big hit. Trembley said he'll take three-run homers any day, but it was another play that impressed the skipper more.
The 31-year-old had hit a pop up that should have been a routine out. It wasn't. When the player from the Domincan dropped the ball Wigginton was standing on second base.
Ty told me, he doesn't know any other way to play the game. He seemed surprised that I even pointed that play out in an interview. To him, it was routine. Unfortunately, it's not for all big leaguers.
As a free agent last offseason Wigginton had interest from other teams. He told me he picked the Orioles because of the young talent. He said he felt this season would be the start of something good in Baltimore.
Much like Aubrey Huff, the veteran was bummed he left the Tampa Bay Rays one year before their World Series run and believes Baltimore has the ability to catch a similar wave in the next couple years.