Henry Wrigley has never been considered a major prospect. Originally selected in the 14th round of the 2005 MLB Amateur draft, he started slowly, never having a batting average above .250 in any of his first four minor league seasons. Despite this, Wrigley moved steadily through the system, making it up at least one level each year.
In 2009, Wrigley began to show signs of power. Although he hit only .236 and drew a paltry 14 walks in total for the Charlotte Stone Crabs and the Bowling Green Hot Rods, Wrigley hit 31 doubles, just one shy of his total for his first three seasons in the minors. Wrigley also hit 10 home runs, a personal high.
During the 2010 season, everything fell into place. Wrigley hit a career best .270/.312/.457 over stays with Charlotte and the Montgomery Biscuits, with 25 doubles and 21 home runs combined. His batting eye also showed signs of improvement, as he career high 31 walks. Wrigley did struggle a bit upon his promotion to Montgomery, hitting .248/.280/.409 in 62 games; however, his power numbers remained similar to his stay in Charlotte.
Remaining in Montgomery for the entirety of the 2011 season, Wrigley took the next step in his development. Over the year, he hit a respectable .274/.309/.464, with 17 home runs and 34 doubles. Despite only drawing 23 walks, Wrigley cut down on his strikeouts, striking out only 73 times, compared to 91 in 2010. Wrigley ended up 11 points higher than league average in batting average despite having a lower than average batting average on balls in play. For the year, he hit only .292 on balls in play, compared to the league average of .312. That was a testament to his home run power (which is not counted in BAbip but is for batting average), but if his patience did not improve, Wrigley was still going to be in trouble moving forward.
The 2012 season saw Wrigley begin the year once again at Montgomery. After 32 games, he was hitting .270/.350/.541 with 7 home runs and 12 doubles. Perhaps most importantly, Wrigley drew 15 walks in 137 plate appearances, while striking out only 25 times. This performance was sufficient to grant Wrigley a promotion to AAA Durham, and he has seized the opportunity. Through 65 games, Wrigley has hit at a .333/.368/.545 rate, with 10 home runs and 20 doubles. He still has not drawn many walks, with only 15, and has struck out 52 times in 246 at bats. Nevertheless, he has hit so well that Durham Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo had this to say.
“Believe me if he keeps this up the Rays will find him a spot.”
Wrigley also has displayed versatility throughout his minor league career. While he has played predominantly at first base, Wrigley has also seen time at third and both corner outfield positions. As the Rays value players that can appear at multiple positions, his versatility along with his power may get him a chance in Tampa.
Henry Wrigley may never be a high on-base player, but he has displayed a solid bat over the last few years. With Carlos Pena on a one year deal, and really not producing much, Wrigley may be setting himself up for a role with the Rays as soon as 2013.