Yes, I watched Spongebob. Get over it.
Not sure if you heard, but there’s this thing called the MLB All Star game being played tonight, with
all most of the best players in the league taking
the field to play for home-field advantage in a World Series that most of them
will not sniff. But that’s not
what I’m here for.
Did anyone else hear that two San Francisco Giant Brandons (Crawford and Belt) were second in fan voting at their positions behind Rafael Furcal and Joey Votto, respectively? They’re on pace to combine for 205 hits, 9 home runs, 72 runs, 96 RBI, 210 strikeouts, and a .246 batting average. By comparison, Pirates infielder Neil Walker hit 12 homers, scored 76 runs, and knocked in 83 RBI while hitting .273 last year. But that’s not what I’m here for.
No, I’m here on a much nobler expedition: to bring to the masses the collection of the worst players money can buy, the slow pink starfish of the undersea major leagues. Position-by-position, I’ll show you who the bottom-feeders are that should be excited to get any sort of recognition, especially from the likes of this studly scribe.
Let’s get to it.
Catcher: Jesus Montero, Seattle Mariners
.245 / .281 / .376 BA/OBP/SLG, 8 HR, 24 R, 28 RBI, 0 SB, -0.2 WAR
Montero was the big prize for the M’s in their trade with the Yankees that sent now-out-for-the-season Michael Pineda to the Bronx, and he has been, well, pretty disappointing. Known as much more of a slugger than a fielder, which is good because he plays little catcher, but if you’re playing DH you probably should have better stats than Brian Bogusevic.
First Baseman: Justin Smoak, Seattle Mariners
.203 / .265 / .332 BA/OBP/SLG, 11 HR, 27 R, 34 RBI, 1 SB, -0.8 WAR
OK, hopefully I’ll stop ragging on the hapless Mariners’ offense, but Smoak was another big acquisition in a trade with a big-market team, sending Cliff Lee to the Rangers for Smoak and other prospects. He has fared even worse than Montero with the exception of his home run count, and so it appears that where there’s Smoak, there’s not necessarily fire.
Second Baseman: Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers
.199 / .314 / .343 BA/OBP/SLG, 8 HR, 34 R, 29 RBI, 6 SB, 0.0 WAR
Now this was a guy that people actually held in high regard, after averaging 25 homers and 95 runs scored in the last two years. While he’s been able to walk a bunch to keep his on-base-percentage up, his batting average is abysmal, and he’s been just as bad in the field, earning the worst defensive rating among qualifying second basemen (per FanGraphs).
Third Baseman: Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies
.266 / .311 / .342 BA/OBP/SLG, 2 HR, 27 R, 18 RBI, 0 SB, 0.3 WAR
Oops. Polanco has never walked much or hit for any power, but he always had a high enough batting average to keep his value. Now he’s hitting just above league average, and without any power or walks, he’s just a limp bat. Not only that, but his age is causing his defense to decline along with the Phillies’ hopes of making the playoffs. Not that it’s even remotely his fault.
Shortstop: Dee Gordon, Los Angeles Dodgers
.229 / .280 / .282 BA/OBP/SLG, 1 HR, 36 R, 17 RBI, 30 SB, -0.8 WAR
Basically Polanco minus 50 pounds and plus 50 steals, Dee Gordon was a fantasy favorite of one Jon Patrice, mostly because of his absurdly imbalanced skillset. Turns out that he just has that one tool, speed, and there’s only so much help you can give a team when your on-base-percentage is 40 points below an all-time-low league average.
Left Fielder: Delmon Young, Detroit Tigers
.271 / .298 / .418 BA/OBP/SLG, 10 HR, 27 R, 37 RBI, 0 SB, -0.4 WAR
By far the best player we’ve seen thus far, but you have to consider the position. Think Braun, Hamilton, Holliday, Trumbo, and even Prado and Melky Cabrera. Young was a former first overall pick who also is a former thrower-of-a-bat-at-an-umpire, so this is really just part of the program for his up-and-down career.
Center Fielder: Cameron Maybin, San Diego Padres
.212 / .287 / .309 BA/OBP/SLG, 4 HR, 41 R, 24 RBI, 16 SB, 0.2 WAR
So I’m getting the impression that sabermetrics doesn’t much care for players who steal a bunch of bases. Another Jon Patrice selection, Call Me Maybin has only lived up to his athleticism and hype for part of last season, and now is struggling both at the plate and in the field. I guess it can get kind of tough playing center in the vast expanse that is Petco Park.
Right Fielder: Brennan Boesch, Detroit Tigers
.243 / .277 / .365 BA/OBP/SLG, 8 HR, 35 R, 31 RBI, 3 SB, -1.3 WAR
For one of the most feared offenses in the league, the Tigers sure have some duds. Dragged down more by his defense than anything (FanGraphs has him as second-worst to only Lucas Duda of the Mets), Boesch was supposed to be a spark near the top of a daunting lineup. Center fielder Austin Jackson has picked up his end of the bargain, but Boesch has been starkly average at best.
Starting Pitcher: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
3-10, 6.42 ERA, 97 IP, 104 K, 50 BB, 1.1 WAR
OK, a lot of pitchers had fewer Wins Above Replacement than Big Time Timmy Jim, but let’s be real here, the guy had an ERA below 2.75 in three of the last four years while striking out 200 in all of those four. Now he’s got the worst ERA in the league among pitchers with enough innings. Yes, he’s still striking out enough guys to make people think this isn’t a permanent issue, but it needs to be acknowledged.
Honorable Mention: Josh Outman, Colorado Rockies
No stats, he’s just a dude with the name Outman who has a flat 9.00 ERA.
Relief Pitcher: Heath Bell, Miami Marlins
2-5, 6.75 ERA, 19 SV, 35 IP, 32 K, 20 BB, 0.0 WAR
Again, not the worst reliever in the league per WAR, but the worst ERA in the league for a guy who signed a nice big contract to lock down the ninth inning for an up-and-coming team. Bell was already declining, but this is just silly. He had a 2.75 ERA or lower four of the last five years before this, albeit with not quite so dominating stuff as Lincecum.