In Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, Ty Wigginton batted cleanup. Laynce Nix batted sixth. The Phillies mustered just two hits and scored one measly run against Matt Garza, a guy no one is confusing with Steven Strasburg or Justin Verlander.
It is easy to mock the fact that Wigginton and Nix are playing such a prominent role for the Phils so early in the season. After all, neither player has traditionally been very productive. And I have had a wonderful time making fun of and ruthlessly mocking Wigginton and Nix so far. I’m a low-hanging fruit kind of a guy. If it’s within reach, I’m swinging at it. Just call me the Hunter Pence of insults.
But after 22 mostly lackluster games by most of the Phillies who swing bats for a living, this much is clear…
…Ty and Laynce deserve a break.
Simply put, Wigginton and Nix have been two of the most, if not THE most productive offensive players so far in 2012.
Wigginton’s 10-game hitting streak came to an end on Sunday after an 0-3 that included a meaningless RBI walk in the 9th, but so far on the young season he’s hitting .309/.371/.473 for an OPS of .844. His 8 RBIs are second on the team, and while his BAbip is an unsustainable .375, his line drive rate is the second highest of his career, at 21.4%.
Nix meanwhile is hitting .333/.429/.625 for an OPS of 1.054 in 28 plate appearances. His BAbip is a ridiculous .467, which of course also cannot be sustained.
Now, it’s still very, very, very early in the season and I highly doubt either player will be doing anything close to this well for a whole lot longer. Wigginton is not a .300 hitter, nor is Nix. And while both guys have shown some pop in the past, neither has had a history of being very good at getting on base.
These are replacement-level players and nothing more.
Still, with Rollins, Polanco and Pence all struggling, and young guys like Freddy Galvis getting major playing time, the contributions of Wigginton and Nix have been helpful. Helpful enough that it’s probably a good idea to stop calling Nix the “Midland Mistake” (he was born in Midland, TX) and Wigginton a “useless glob of baseball goo.”
At least until these guys stop being the most productive hitters on the team.
Then, all bets are off.