The 2011 All-Flub Team

With the All-Star Game coming up tomorrow — and with my already-exposed love of flipping leaderboards on their head — I figure it’s about time I put together an anti-all-star team. Baseball coverage is dominated this week by talk about the best players in the game, so why not spend some time looking at which players have been the worst in the majors this season?

There are many different ways to choose who’s been “the worst” player at each position — just like there are multiple ways of choosing the best player — but for the sake of simplicity, I used Wins Above Replacement (WAR) to compile this list. I didn’t simply choose the player with the lowest WAR at a position, though; I gave preference to players that had more playing time, and I chose to put less weight on defensive performance. I try to explain any slightly odd selections that I made, but feel free to make arguments for different players in the comments.

Without further ado, here are your 2011 starting American and National League All-Flub teams:

– It was tough to choose a first baseman for the team, as both Morneau and Barton have been bad this season, but Morneau has managed to put up an equal WAR in less plate appearances, so I gave him the starting nod. And Reid Brignac has technically been worse than Cliff Pennington so far, but Brignac has less than 200 plate appearance, so he gets the bench spot.

– It was difficult to find horrible starting pitchers that had started at least seven games, yet were still in the majors and not injured. So I decided to cheat a little and just go with the worst starters available, regardless of if they were in the minors or not. It’s pretty telling that three of these five starters have gotten demoted already this year (Mitch Talbot and Wade Davis are the two survivors).

– Yes, White Sox fans, your club has three position players — two outfielders and a DH — starting on the All-Flub Team. Aren’t you so proud?

– The AL has three of the four worst players in the majors this season. With Chone Figgins hitting leadoff and Adam Dunn in the three hole, how could this lineup possible go wrong?

– I was hesitant to place people on the All-Flub Team based on the merits of bad defense; we all know how volatile in-season UZR scores can be, so I went with the worst offensive player if I was deciding between two players. But Raul Ibanez – wow. Not only does UZR hate him, but DRS also has him as worth -10 runs in the outfield already. That’s really not good.

– There were a couple players up for consideration as DH, but Casey McGehee and his .263 wOBA stood out from the rest.

–  Dioner Navarro – the worst regular catcher in the National League. Nobody could have seen this coming.

– Bill Hall and Mike Cameron have both bounced around to multiple teams this year, but they’ve managed to stay focused on earning an All-Flub Team spot. Well done?

– I’m somewhat impressed that Edinson Volquez hasn’t been the worst pitcher in the NL. He has a 6 BB/9 and 20% HR/FB rate…and yet he’s only the fourth starter on this team? Yikes.

***

So who would win if these two clubs were to face off against each other? I have no idea, but I’m certain it would be an entertaining affair.




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Steve is the editor-in-chief of DRaysBay and the keeper of the FanGraphs Library. You can follow him on Twitter at @steveslow.


76 Responses to “The 2011 All-Flub Team”

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  1. McMahon says:

    Inge and Raburn should be on the all-flub team.

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  2. Ian R. says:

    Seems a bit unfair to put Mike Cameron on the NL squad, considering he’s put up his entire negative WAR as a member of the Red Sox. In four games as a Marlin, he’s put up a .708 OPS, which ain’t bad. Obviously that’s a miniscule sample size, but still.

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  3. teenarcher says:

    HUFF!!!

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  4. bsally says:

    No Scott Proctor?

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    • Deadpool says:

      The worst pitcher on the Braves and worst in the league are radically different things.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Yea. Proctor looks a lot worse than he really is because Braves fans are so used to Jair Jurrjens being a merely average pitcher but somehow putting up amazing numbers, Tommy Hanson being generally awesome, Kimbrel flinging filth, and Venters chucking bowling balls.

        I think Proctor also seems worse than he is because Gonzalez uses him (and the pen in general) very poorly.

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  5. Oscar says:

    So Pie gets benched for too few PA, I assume? Kind of weird that Morneau starts over Barton because he was worse in fewer PA (makes sense, pro-rates to a worse season), but that Pennington starts over Brignac because he was worse in more PA (makes sense, bigger sample of being worse suggests it’s less fluky, but completely opposite reasoning).

    As an O’s fan, I am very angry that we’ve been cheated out of Felix Pie’s well-deserved start. Very angry.

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    • I wanted the Starters to be actual starters on their teams (or at least somewhat close), and then I gave the edge to whichever player I thought played worse. So that’s why there’s the PA discrepancy in a couple places. It’s a bit weird, but seemed to make sense in my head.

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      • And then the bench spots went to the next-worst players, and I tried to make it so that there was a somewhat even bench, position-wise. Although I didn’t include an backup catchers, so oh well.

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      • Greg says:

        So Mike Cameron has been a starter for almost a week now. But he’s an NL all-flub starter on the basis of the negative WAR he accumulated as an AL bench player? He’s really abusing your selection criteria.

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  6. Chuck says:

    The 2010 Twins are well represented with 5 players:
    Morneau, Hudson, Nathan, Rauch and Nesheck

    How’d that team win so many games?

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    • Joe says:

      Colvin is (and mainly has been) in the minors, he shouldn’t have made the roster.

      As for a replacement – Chris Coghlan seems deserving with his .288 wOBA, negative fielding value and counter-productive base-running over his 64 starts.

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    • Bryz says:

      To answer your question…

      Most of those players were solid regulars in 2010, with Morneau being otherworldly prior to his concussion. Nathan missed the whole year from TJ recovery, and Neshek was in the minors for most of the year as he was having trouble post-TJ as well.

      2010 Twins
      Morneau: 5.1 WAR (348 PA)
      Hudson: 3.4 WAR
      Rauch: 1.1 WAR

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    • MikeS says:

      How’d they win so many games? They have layed the White Sox 8 times. It is conceivable that the Twins could get 20% of their wins against the White Sox this year. Hell, the only thing keeping them from winning the division is not enough games against the White Sox.

      As a White Sox fan not only am I proud of our three Flub Stars, I am extra-special-proud of the 1064 PA the team has given those three this year.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        The Twins have been pretty good over the last month or so. I think they’ll be above .500 by the end of the season. They just started out so awful.

        Hack harrelson keeps me from rooting for the ChiSox at all. Unless they’re playing the BoSox or Yanks, I hope they lose every game.

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  7. Dash says:

    “- It was tough to choose a first baseman for the team, as both Morneau and Barton have been bad this season, but Morneau has managed to put up an equal WAR in less plate appearances, so I gave him the starting nod. And Reid Brignac has technically been worse than Cliff Pennington so far, but Brignac has less than 200 plate appearance, so he gets the bench spot.”

    You’re basically saying that Morneau has been terribad in fewer appearances than Barton so he gets a starting spot, but Brignac has been terribad in fewer appearances than Pennington so he gets a bench spot.

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    • yaboynate says:

      Steve, hold up, I’ma let you finish but…

      Basically you’re saying that Morneau is worse in fewer appearances than Barton so he starts, but that Brignac has been worse in fewer appearances that Pennington so Pennington starts.

      …of all time!

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  8. Craig says:

    Seems almost cruel to put people on there that are coming off serious injuries. Morneau and Nathan are 2 good examples. Strictly by the methodology they qualify but I wouldn’t call either of those guys “bad”.

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    • buddy says:

      Similarly, Ordonez is being weighed down by the month and a half where he played hurt. Since coming off the DL, he has a wOBA over .350.

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  9. Resolution says:

    Ian Stewart has the same amount of negative WAR as Chris Johnson in almost one-fifth of the plate appearances. I get he’s had barely any playing time but was the presumed starter and stuff… Not saying he should have been included but he represents a pretty interesting case…

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  10. gdc says:

    What happens when Michael Dunn pitches to Adam Dunn?

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  11. Romodonkulous says:

    I can’t believe Miguel Tejada missed the cut. Is this simply a matter of a TERRIBLE player getting too much playing time to qualify?

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    • brendan says:

      This! I’m a giants fan and was looking for tejada; but his hitting has been better lately (up to .257 wOBA!) and his defense has been good at 3B, almost enough to counter his suckiness at SS. I all adds up to -0.1 WAR, not really a serious threat to betancourt.

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    • GiantHusker says:

      Since Tejada has played 2B, SS and 3B, I think he should have made this team as worst utility player.
      Maybe he’s not on it, because the Giants already had 2 players or because of East Coast bias.

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  12. Eric says:

    I like David Murphy, but it’s been hard to watch him at times this year. I’m always a bit mystified when he gets the start over Hamilton in left with either Chavez or Gentry in center. People around here do love him, though. He is a fabulously nice guy to fans, especially kids, and has a few memorable hits that seem to stick in people’s minds (opening day pinch hit double against Boston springs to mind).

    At least he’s the least bad position player on this team.

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  13. williams .482 says:

    what is really depressing is how many large contracts there seem to be on both teams, at least at first glance.

    And Jeff Mathis is about the least surprising choice of all time.

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    • MikeS says:

      I think that is a natural effect of the method. WAR is a counting stat so even though some of these guys haven’t played a lot, most are still getting a lot of PA. If they were young and cheap they would be sent down. Most of them are big investments so the clubs have little choice but to let the players try to work themselves out of their bad years. For the White Sox, that’s certainly the case with Dunn and Rios. I can’t explain why Juan Pierre continues to be run out there although he has been less bad the last two or three weeks.

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  14. ddrezner says:

    How did John Lackey not make the AL rotation of suckitude?

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    • Jonathan says:

      Inexplicably, he has a positive WAR. He’s having an absolutely rotten year, but his peripherals indicate he should only be having a mediocre to pretty bad year.

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      • joe says:

        It’s not inexplicable, it shows what can happen when you ignore ~60-70% of all events a pitcher has and assume they equal out among everyone.

        It might be useful for predicting future performance, but is a terrible way to evaluate past performance.

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      • Jeff says:

        Joe, that makes no sense. If it’s good at predicting future events, that’s because it takes into account what pitchers have control over. This would also make it good for evaluating past performances, otherwise you’re giving credit or penalizing pitchers for things they couldn’t have done differently.

        So basically, you need to either argue that it sucks for both or shut up.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        I agree with both, only I think it’s only a good predictor for SOME pitchers. Lackey just flat out sucks. I don’t care if your FIP is 0.01, if your ERA is like 7.00, and it’s been half a season, you have sucked.

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      • RC says:

        The fact that something is not predictive does not mean someone has no control over it.

        The fact that John Lackey probably will not continue to suck, does not mean he hasn’t sucked.

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    • Midwest Fan says:

      East coast bias!

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  15. mike wants wins says:

    Matt Capps is wondering why Rauch gets the nod over him? I mean, they have the same WAR, right? After all, we all know he’s a proven closer, and Rauch isn’t. It isn’t Rauch’s fault he has a low WAR as a closer…….

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    • hank says:

      Proven closer? He’s more than that, he’s an ALL-STAR closer! (OK maybe he was filling the one per team quota)

      Wow how bad does that Ramos trade continue to look as time goes by….

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      • Jonathan says:

        It was considered a historically poorly conceived trade from the get go, anything else to this point is basically people just nodding their heads and saying “see? What were you thinking?”

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  16. joser says:

    Milton Bradley needs to be on the field, at least as a base coach. In fact, given his team history, maybe he can do his thing for both squads?

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  17. Neuter Your Dogma says:

    Flubs also should factor in player salary for the year. If so, Jayson Werth needs to be included on this list.

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  18. brian says:

    As a Mets fan I think lists like this show the biggest difference between the past and current regimes. Avoiding black holes on your roster goes a long way toward putting a semi competitive team on the field.

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  19. joser says:

    So many past M’s — Ibanez, Betancourt, Hall, Franklin, Batista, Cameron, Valdez — when they’ve rotted through the floor of even the good ship Mariner, it’s good to know the NL all-flub team has a place for them.

    Of course there’s still Chone Figgins keeping the home fire burning (and so brightly, too); perhaps we’ll see him headlining the NL side of this list next year?

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  20. Blue Jays Fans Everywhere says:

    Francisco should get the nod over Rauch. He’s been devastatingly atrocious in the closer’s role for the Jays. He’s accomplished more terribleness in fewer innings than Rauch with his 5.18 BB/9, 27.4% LD, 1.85 WHIP line.

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  21. Andrew Baker says:

    How is Chad Durbin not on this list? 6.51 ERA in 37.1 IP.

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  22. jrogers says:

    If we want the teams to be as bad as possible, shouldn’t Dunn and McGehee be starting in the field, with Morneau and C.Johnson moving to DH?

    I guess you could take that to an extreme, though, and say let’s have Dunn play shortstop, Navarro in CF, etc…

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  23. RC says:

    Was about to post “No Mike Cameron????”

    and saw hes in the NL now.

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  24. Xeifrank says:

    Who would win? You pick me a starting pitcher for each team and I will let you know.

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  25. My echo and bunnymen (Dodgers Fan) says:

    Jeff Mathis, Starting Catcher. My day is made.

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  26. JMN says:

    You’ve got Brunett instead of Burnett, unless you’re trying to give him points for hair color.

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  27. John says:

    Bold prediction?

    Arroyo will be the first pitcher to leave this group and will actually post decent numbers. He’s the anti Dan Haren.

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  28. Dan Uggla says:

    Damn Mr. Hall, you make me look serviceable.

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  29. Adam Dunn says:

    How many times would I strike out in this game?

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  30. Chair says:

    Not sure where you got the idea that Navarro was a “regular catcher”. Not even sure what you mean by that. He backed up Barajas, then got some playing time upon his injury, but lately has lost playing time to AJ Ellis.

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  31. Sox2727 says:

    So essentially you’re saying my White Sox are bad?

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  32. Barkey Walker says:

    Morneau was a 2010 All-Star selection (and deserved it), are there others?

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  33. Xeifrank says:

    Ok, I ran the two teams through my baseball simulator in a home and home series, where I ran a sim with each team as the away/home team. The American League team is slightly better according to my simulator, but not by much. Here are the results.

    When the NL team is the home team, they win 51.6% of the time. When the AL team is the home team, they win 57.0% of the time. Total runs for this game is around 9.7 runs on average.

    Here is the link to my blog, where I post more details including the average box score and a run distribution chart. Enjoy.
    vr, Xeifrank

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  34. david says:

    wasn’t ryan franklin so terrible that he no longer has a team? would he show up to the game in street clothes?

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  35. GiantHusker says:

    Fun article!

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  36. Templeton1979 says:

    SO TRUE

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  37. Mike Scioscia says:

    Jeffypoo cannot be properly measured by this newfangled WAR.

    His gamecalling and grit ratings are off the charts.

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